Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland: Athletics Ireland release syllabus for upcoming congress in Cork

Friday, April 25, 2014

Athletics Ireland release syllabus for upcoming congress in Cork

The Athletics Ireland Congress is due to be held on the 26th and 27th of April in Cork. In advance of this, Athletics Ireland released the syllabus for the event and it can be seen HERE.

One of the topics covered was the membership of Athletics Ireland which is of course made up from the various clubs around the country.

As you can see from the chart above, the total membership at the end of 2013 stood at just under 50,000. This is an increase of 67% in the last 5 years.

The number of Juveniles has grown by 52% in the last 5 years and this can only be good for the sport. From what I understand, the definition of a 'Juvenile' are those aged under 18 but I'm open to correction on that.

As far as I know, Juniors are those between the ages of 18 and 20. Compared to the other groupings, their numbers are very small but that's probably mainly due to the fact it's only a narrow age range.

Masters are those who are aged 35 and above. The growth in numbers here is due to those people who run road races joining clubs.In the last 5 years, the number of masters has grown by 116%, the strongest growth of any of the groups.

As for senior members (aged 21 to 34), there was a jump in numbers in 2010 and has remained more or less steady since. Note how this contrasts to the growth in masters. If you were to look at the membership of athletic clubs that have most of their members involved in road running, you would find that roughly 75% are masters...i.e. age 35 and above.

Finances......On the subject of the finances of Athletics Ireland, they had a loss of €6,657 last year on a turnover of roughly €4.4 million. The plan for the current year is that they will have a profit of about €2k. Obviously as a percentage, that is wafer thin. A profit of €40k would be 1% on turnover so €2k represents just 0.05%. It wouldn't take a whole lot to throw the final figure astray.

Looking at their income for the year, grants from the Irish Sports Council make up almost half. As almost all sports grants have been cut over the last few years then it has an obvious impact on Athletics Ireland. For all that though, I can't help wondering why an organisation that is enjoying record membership isn't in the black?

Motions.......There are 79 motions and these are listed on pages 69 to 80. Most are to do with competition and organisational issues but some would have a direct impact on the finances of Athletics Ireland.

Motions 21 and 22 deal with the various county boards retaining a percentage of the permit fees.

21. THAT: a 10% portion of the annual AAI permit fees be returned to the relevant County Boards
at the end of the calendar year.....TIPPERARY /  MUNSTER
22. THAT: 25% of Permit fees be returned to the relevant County Board.....CORK

Another motion is to move the various national championships around the country...

36. THAT: the venues for all National Championships shall rotate around the Provinces, with the
sole exception of the National Marathon..... CORK

At present, the national 10k championships are held in conjunction with the Great Ireland Run in the Phoenix Park in Dublin. About 600 club runners and thousands of non-club runners take part and Athletics Ireland benefit financially from all of those entries. If the race were to move to say some place like Donegal then the numbers would obviously tumble. Would Athletics Ireland be still part of the Great Ireland run then or would it be run exclusively by a commercial company?

The national half-marathon championships have traditionally moved around the country but the numbers taking part have been patchy as can be seen from this old post. One obvious fact from previous events is that it's most locals that take part. In 2012, about 400 people took part in the National Half-Marathon in Athenry, Co.Galway. Hardly anyone from Cork and neighbouring counties traveled to it as outlined is this post. In 2013, the National Half was run in conjunction with the Rock n Roll Half-Marathon in Dublin. This decision wasn't without controversy however as a lot of club members have misgivings about having a national championships as part of such a commercial event as outlined in this post.

Despite the misgivings however, thousands took part in this event and word has it that Athletics Ireland made something in the region of €50k from their involvement. Compare that to previous years when the event broke even or the host clubs made a loss.

On the face of it, the motion to move national events around the country might seem like a good idea but it could well have serious consequences. Would moving events around country result in a serious financial loss to Athletics Ireland? At a time when a national body is trying to balance the books, is it the right time to propose such a motion?

Dave Hooper who presents a programme called Inside Sport on Dublin City FM said this about it on his Twitter account...
Dave Hooper ‏@AthleticDJ  Mar 31...Proposal to rotate all National championships around the country except the marathon! will cause huge loss of revenue to #irishathletics



Anonymous said...

There is certainly a 'cringe factor' when it comes to the rock and roll half being the national half but to use a cliche 'we are where we are'. Better to have the aai making some money from the rock and roll instead of nothing.

Anonymous said...

Daft motion. A bit like turkeys voting for christmas.

Gerard said...

I suspect most of us ordinary runners have little or no idea what Athletics Ireland do and they dont seem to make much effort to tell us.
As for half marathons, runners are simply spoilt for chose nopw as regards half marathons and calling one particular half a ' National Championship'Half doesnt make a huge difference.
The reality is events have to be marketed and many half and full marathons organisers are very good at this. With social media it is relatively easy to and cheap to do mass marketing campaigns. Do AI do this and if not, then why not ?
It is up to them to make the effort and if they don't it is their responsibility.