Sport Ireland announces advancements to the International Carding Scheme
Sport Ireland has approved a series of changes to the International Carding Scheme to ensure the high performance system provides supports at key points of an athlete’s career.
Athlete Performance and Holistic Support is one of the seven key strategic pillars identified under the Sport Ireland High Performance Strategy 2021-2032. The Sport Ireland Athlete Welfare Policy was developed in 2020, and the changes to the International Carding Scheme announced today are an important next step in athlete support.
- From September 2021, financial and service support provided to retiring athletes on the International Carding Scheme
- From January 2022, funding to athletes on the International Carding Scheme at International and World Class levels will increase.
- From 2022, Sport Ireland will establish a new Scheme for team sports to increase the supports to athletes and players in Olympic/Paralympic programmes
In 2023 and 2024, the International Carding Scheme will be awarded as a two-year investment.
Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Catherine Martin TD welcomed today’s announcement, “The changes to the International Carding Scheme announced today come on the back of a very successful Tokyo Games at both the Olympics and Paralympics. The High Performance System is well placed to transition seamlessly into the shortened 3-year cycle to Paris 2024 and today’s changes will give our athletes the peace of mind to continue to pursue their sporting goals through this next cycle”.
Minister of State for the Gaeltacht & Sport, Jack Chambers TD also commented; “The International Carding Scheme provides financial support to athletes for their training and competition programmes, supporting athletes to reach finals and achieving medals at European, World, Olympic and Paralympic level. The changes to the scheme reflect the ongoing strategic development of the high-performance programme and acknowledges the importance of athlete welfare at key points in their careers. This is a very welcome development and I hope that the athletes avail of the full suite of supports available to them through the Sport Ireland Institute and Sport Ireland High Performance”.
Chief Executive of Sport Ireland John Treacy commented; “The changes announced today are warmly welcomed by all in the high-performance community. They reflect the importance that is placed on athlete welfare at all stages of an athlete’s career. Programmes such as the Athlete Career Transition Programme are vital to athletes as they transition from high performance sport. Equally, the increase in funding will further support athletes to commit to their sport on a full-time basis if they so choose”.
Paul McDermott, Director of High Performance and National Governing Bodies, Sport Ireland added; “As focus turns towards the next Olympic and Paralympic Cycle athletes can rest assured that the support, both financial and non-financial, is available to help them commit to their sport. We have adopted an athlete first approach in the development of the Sport Ireland High Performance Strategy 2021-2032 and today’s announcement reinforces our commitment to supporting athletes at key stages of their careers.”
A fundamental principle of the Sport Ireland High Performance Strategy and Athlete Welfare Policy is that athletes should experience a positive system that provides holistic support based on their needs throughout their sporting career; and supports them as they transition to the next stage of their lives. The Athlete Career Transitions Programme will provide both financial support and non-financial support to athletes who chose to engage.
Sport Ireland will provide a continuation of funding to an athlete on the International Carding Scheme for a specific period upon retirement. In the year of the Olympic/Paralympic Games, athletes who intend to retire will receive 100% of that year’s funding and secure 50% of their current award for the following year. In the non-Olympic/Paralympic years, athletes who intend to retire will be assured of 50% of their current award from any point of exit.
Sport Ireland will provide a continuation of services to an athlete through the International Carding Scheme for a specific period upon retirement. Each service within the Sport Ireland Institute will be considered when developing a tailored retirement plan for an athlete. Aligning with the commitment of financial support, and in recognition of the individual nature of transitioning, the availability of support services from the Sport Ireland Institute team will be linked to the length of time an athlete was on the carding scheme.
Sport Ireland will not cease to fund or service any athlete who is in the stages of considering retirement.
Sport Ireland has confirmed that the funding levels for athletes in the International Carding Scheme will increase from 2022. The International category will increase from €12,000 to €18,000 representing a 50% increase for this category. The World Class category will increase from €20,000 to €25,000 representing a 25% increase for this category. The funding level for Podium category will remain at €40,000.
The rationale for increased funding for athletes in International and World Class categories is two-fold; enabling athletes to commit to their sport on a full-time basis if they so choose and ensuring athletes have an acceptable standard of living whilst being full-time athletes
For 2023 and 2024, the International Carding Scheme will be awarded as a 2-year investment to allow athletes to focus on qualification and performance at the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris 2024. Sport Ireland first implemented this change for 2019 and 2020, which extended in to 2021 to reflect the rescheduling of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Sport Ireland recognises the value of this commitment to athletes and seeks to ensure those targeting Paris 2024 are provided the best opportunity to perform.