Survey: 56% of children do not play any sport

MORE than half of Irish children are couch potatoes and do not play any sport, according to a study.

The Kellogg’s Field of Dreams Survey reveals 55% of Irish parents admit their children play no sport while 36% of parents surveyed say that their child plays between one and two sports.

Only 9% say their child plays between three and four sports activities.

The survey was published to coincide with the official launch of the Kellogg’s Field of Dreams Competition at Croke Park. Sports personalities, including rugby star Rob Kearney and RTÉ sport presenters Des Cahill, Tracy Piggott, Marty Morrissey and Jacqui Hurley lined out to mark the launch of the all-island competition.

Endorsed by the Federation of Irish Sports, the Kellogg’s Field of Dreams Competition will give a community sports club or organisation the chance to transform their playing field by winning a make-over to the value of €100,000. Three runners-up will each win €10,000 to update their sports facilities.

The study also shows 92% of people surveyed believe sports participation amongst Irish children should be higher. Similarly, 82% of sports club organisers surveyed believe Irish children should play more sport. Almost one third (32%) of people believe a weak sports element within the school curriculum is the biggest barrier to participation in Irish sport, while 41% of sports clubs organisers say access to facilities is the most difficult aspect of attracting new members.

Sarah O’Connor, chief executive of the Federation of Irish Sports, said: “92% of our members believe Government should be doing more to improve the availability of funding for sport. The majority of our member national governing bodies (74%) have suffered a decline in funding over the past 12 months. Sports organisations need support and resources in order to promote and develop their sport so as to ensure increased opportunities for all to participate in sport.”

According to the survey, two-thirds of sports club organisers surveyed say commercial sponsorship is very important to their club and nine out of 10 believe they are at a disadvantage from a funding perspective compared to sports clubs in other countries.

Speaking at the launch event in Croke Park, Ireland rugby star Rob Kearney said: “The Kellogg’s Field of Dreams competition is a fantastic opportunity for families and communities to work together to transform their local playing field and their club’s sporting success.

“I am privileged to have played on some of the top pitches in the world and know firsthand that on the right pitch anything can happen.”

Sports clubs of all kinds are entitled to enter the competition including GAA, rugby, soccer, hockey and other clubs. Clubs can enter by completing the online registration on the Kellogg’s Field of Dreams website www.kelloggs.ie/fieldofdreams.

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