Cross-party support needed to grow domestic football

11 July 2023

Labour TD Aodhán Ó Ríordáin has called for cross-party support ahead of a Labour Party motion on the future of football funding in Ireland.

Tomorrow at 10am, the Dáil will debate the Labour Party’s call to invest in domestic football, including a call to increase the Betting Levy by 3% in Budget 2024 to fund football facilities.

Deputy Ó Ríordáin said:

“Despite football being the most popular sport in the world, Ireland’s football facilities have fallen behind our European counterparts. We need the vision and ambition to invest in the game domestically to pave the way for best in class supports at a grassroots, League of Ireland and international level.

“Tomorrow, we are calling on TDs from all parties and none to support the Labour Party motion to implement the investment plan outlined by the FAI in June.

“The FAI have outlined a 15 year plan that needs an investment of €863m over 15 years across 2,500 projects including €426m for grassroots, €390m for League of Ireland and €47m for international.

“Football continues to grow in popularity, with attendances at Premier Division League of Ireland games increasing by 23% over the last year with an average attendance of 3,430 compared to 2,784 in June 2022. Let’s capitalise on this, give football political backing, and give young boys and girls nationwide the opportunity to play the game they love at the highest level.

“The Labour Party is proposing an increase in the Betting Levy to 3% in Budget 2024 to fund this much needed development. Between 20 and 30% of bets placed in Ireland are on football and a 1% increase in the betting tax would raise €50 million a year providing a dedicated investment stream to invest in football, and other sporting codes. This would go a huge way towards meeting the objectives set out by the FAI.

“In a couple of weeks, we will proudly follow and support the Irish women’s football team as they head to the World Cup. This team has struggled – from their strike in 2017, to still fighting today for better facilities and equipment.

“Football has been outside the political love circle for some time. Other codes have done an awful lot better. What the FAI are legitimately pointing out is the deficit in infrastructure within the game, grassroots, League of Ireland, international and it won’t be cheap to fix. The time for complaining about the state of Irish football is over, it’s time to support it, invest in it and grow it.”

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