FAI Set Out Extensive Plan To Haul Irish Football Into 21st Century

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FAI - Plan and Vision - This Is Football's Time

The FAI has outlined its vision and strategy to help the vast needs of Irish football.

The 45-page report analyses the requirements needed to improved upon the country’s lamentable facilities and infrastructure.

It outlines a total proposed investment of €863m in close to 2,500 national projects across grassroots, League of Ireland and international football.

The strategy has been developed to ensure that football, which is experiencing significant growth, particularly amongst women and girls, is set up to succeed and cater for the needs of future generations at all levels.

Over the past year, the FAI has conducted detailed and extensive research in order to accurately quantify the challenge facing Irish football.

Much of the research focuses on an in-depth facilities audit, quantitative research amongst grassroots clubs, and detailed analysis of European benchmarks.

The investment case will also be supported by the proposed establishment of an Ireland Football Facility Fund, which will encourage strategic investment into Irish football and ensure an independent, consistent, professional, and dedicated focus on facilities transformation is maintained.

FAI CEO Jonathan Hill said: “The goal of this strategy is to realise football’s full potential within our grassroots communities, deliver a new future for our League of Ireland, and inspire future generations by creating the environment to support and produce competitive international teams at all levels. We have the opportunity to take decisive action now and create a modern and fit-for-purpose football infrastructure and transform football in this country.”

As the governing body of football in Ireland, we have a responsibility to enable football to flourish, and in doing so to also support the interests of Irish society and the Irish economy. Our vision is to create the infrastructure and facilities that enable Ireland’s number one sport to thrive and deliver a truly transformational impact for Irish football.”

Football is the number one participation sport in Ireland, but it has been under-invested in for the last 25 years and we have fallen behind our European counterparts when it comes to facilities investment,” added FAI President Gerry McEnaney.

This is not the fault of any single entity, but it is a simple fact. Take as an example, women’s and girls’ football which has experienced exponential growth in recent years but will suffer if we do not invest in facilities now.”

We fully appreciate that all sports have funding requirements and while we have detailed our own investment requirements within this strategy, we are happy to be part of an overall solution.”

In this regard, our strategy sets out a modern approach to delivering facilities for a new era – Community focused planning, catering for multiple clubs and indeed sports.”