Honeyford says it’s time to reform Sport NI after ‘disgraceful’ £1m underspend

Alliance Sport spokesperson David Honeyford MLA has said root and branch reform of Sport NI is needed after the organisation underspent its budget by £1 million.

David Honeyford Sport

The Lagan Valley MLA said the adoption of Alliance proposals on the funding of grassroots sports in Northern Ireland was needed. It follows news Sport NI returned the £1 million to the Department for Communities, after underspending its budget by £500,000 in each of the past two years.

“Clubs have been crying out for funding to support them in the work they do to encourage participation at grassroots level and I have met Sports NI numerous times to drive this message home,” said Mr Honeyford.

“Now, £1 million has been lost to sport through incompetence on the part of Sport NI. It’s nothing short of disgraceful. Alliance has been calling for big changes to the way Sport NI operates to make it easier for clubs to access funding. The present system is no longer fit for use.

“The vision for development of sports clubs, their facilities and activities should come from the clubs themselves. Alliance has a solid set of proposals to ensure clubs can access funds when they need them and not according to a clumsy timetable imposed from above by Sport NI.

“In the south, the government recently announced an additional 37m euro for sports funding. Sports provision needs to be taken seriously and this latest news from Sport NI suggests we have a lot to learn.

“This is yet another issue that can only be resolved by a return to government and the formation of a new Executive.”