Payments to soccer clubs under the Sports Capital Programme in 2017 have amounted to just six percent of total applications TheCity.ie can reveal.
Soccer clubs across the country applied for €3,017,961 and received just €985,327 in order to improve facilities among other needs. GAA clubs received much more than soccer from their applications, while rugby clubs received 18 percent of their total applications.
Soccer clubs were allocated 48 percent of their applications but were paid just 12 percent of the money that was allocated. By contrast, GAA clubs were allocated 70 percent of applications and received 31 percent of what they were granted. Rugby teams were allocated 55 percent of applications with payments resulting in 33 percent of their allocations.
Under the scheme, clubs must raise the funds to match what they are allocated prior to being reimbursed by the Government. Some clubs have struggled to raise funds in order to receive payment for what they are assigned.
Sharon Redmond, the treasurer of St. Mary’s GAA Saggart explained that St. Marys have struggled to raise the funds for their 2017 sports grant.
“We have shown an interest in switching our allocation to pitches, which is being discussed. Because we have shown an interest there shouldn’t be any time constraints in terms of our allocation.”
“I wouldn’t have any complaints about the way the grants are given, receipts over the actual money. It’s not ideal for smaller clubs like us but this way the money is being spent on what was allocated, it seems the fairest way,” he said.
Other clubs such as Leicester Celtic in Rathfarnham have been able to reap the awards of the programme. Club secretary Declan Ellison said: “Leicester Celtic were fortunate to receive a Sports Capital grant from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport.
“The grant enabled Leicester to build the club’s astro pitch and install floodlighting which has facilitated the club in providing soccer to over 600 children on a weekly basis.
“The astro pitch is in operation seven days a week and is used by our 30 teams for training and matches. It also allows us to run our community-based academy every Saturday morning for children aged between five and ten who are new to football and want to learn the basic skills of soccer,” added Mr Ellison.
The total payments in 2017 amounted to €33,775,000 which was heavily influenced by the €12,038,922 given to Cork GAA County Board for the redevelopment of Pairc Uí Chaoimh. That figure alone accounted for 36 percent of the total payments in 2017.
Leitrim received just €137,000 in payments last year, with just three GAA clubs and a community park receiving funds. No soccer or rugby clubs in Leitrim received any payment.
The payment figures were as high as €63,719,986 in 2007, before plummeting to €13,558,019 in 2013. The figure has since risen to €33,775,000.