Ó Ríordáin launches Manifesto for Football

30 January 2020

Labour Party General Election candidate for Dublin Bay North, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, has called for a reconfiguration of the Betting Levy in order to fund grassroots football.

Speaking at the launch of Labour’s Manifesto for Football, Senator Ó Ríordáin said:

“Football is the lifeblood of so many communities – it brings people together from all ages and all walks of life.

“I have been dealing with alternative ways to fund grassroots football since February 2019, when I held my first public meeting with Niall Quinn and other stakeholders last February. Since then I have had consultations right across the football family, trying to make football more politically important. This constructive document should garner cross-party political support.

“Labour will implement an ambitious strategy to save community grassroots football and to strengthen football’s role in social inclusion, following the serious financial problems in the Football Association of Ireland (FAI).

“One eighth of the Betting Duty receipts will be allocated to a new Football Fund. This would go some way to recognising that the majority of bets placed are on football. (Based on an estimated total revenue of €100 million from Betting Duty in 2020, this would be roughly €12.5 million).

“This funding would be a lifeline to the game of football and to the many communities who have been failed by the FAI. And it would give a reformed FAI the opportunity to get its finances in order.

“Funding would focus on social inclusion, gender equality, anti-racism and integration. The state’s role will be to support the model emerging from the football community, rather than initiate and develop it. Part of the goal of the new grassroots underage football organisation would be to tackle low education levels within the domestic game and to encourage school completion.

“Without supporters, amateurs and young players, football would be barren. As the FAI gets it house back in order, it is more important than ever to prioritise funding to grassroots football.”

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