Participation in grassroots football delivers more than €1.13bn of positive value to Irish society according to a new European econometric model published today and launched as part of the FAI’s ‘Festival of Football’ at Ratoath Harps FC in County Meath.
The econometric model, commissioned by European football’s governing body UEFA in conjunction with the FAI, uncovers “unique tangible evidence” of the impact that grassroots club football has on the country’s economy, society and health of the nation.
As well as a total ‘social return on investment’ of €1.13bn, the UEFA Grow report highlights a direct economic impact of almost €115m, almost €272m in social benefits and healthcare savings of almost €750m.
The research was undertaken with the expert help of an advisory panel of 10 educational institutions. Regular football participation is also a major contributor to preventative healthcare savings, with over €46m of savings on mental health, calculated at around 5000 cases prevented, €13m in cardiovascular disease and almost €9m in type-2 diabetes.
The game is also credited with making a significant contribution to education, crime reduction and assisting those not in employment, education or training. Figures also demonstrate how the game supports job creation and drives economic growth.
Speaking at the launch in Ratoath, FAI General Manager Noel Mooney said: “We know that football participation is a huge contributor to a better Ireland and these results put an economic, social and health case forward as to why increased investment in grassroots football is a very positive investment.
“To have such a robust academic model, approved by EU institutions and the World Health Organisation, permits government to invest in grassroots sport in the knowledge that there are enormous returns to society and the economy.
“The findings in the UEFA GROW report outline the extent to which football is a force for good in helping to deliver the Irish Government’s health and wellbeing agenda, and also the dramatic impact the biggest team participation sport in the country has on the Irish economy.”