Grassroots

Our vision is to continue developing football from the ground up as the most popular sport in Ireland, by harnessing the powerful role grassroots clubs play within their communities

Our Reality


Our facilities survey clearly shows the appetite to increase standards but highlights the significant challenges that need to be addressed.  

Many Grassroots clubs do not have any form of community-focused clubhouse

Only 10% of clubs have access to an indoor hall

27% of clubs have leases for less than one-year meaning uncertainty and instability

55% of clubs do not own their facilities and rely on leases

31% of clubs are required to operate out of secondary facilities in order to meet the required pitch demand for training and matches

38% of clubs do not have female-friendly toilets at all

Our Vision


Our vision is to continue to develop football from the ground up, building on our status as the most popular participation sport in Ireland, by harnessing the powerful role grassroots clubs play within their communities.  

  • The FAI Grassroots Club Mark scheme will be at the heart of these changes, with every club needing to have the Club Mark by the end of 2025, so ensuring proper use and oversight of any new monies for facility development.

  • We will need new grass pitches and upgrades to existing pitches to ensure

  • 31% of clubs are required to operate out of secondary facilities (this is a reality, not the vision)

  • 34,000 women and girls are currently playing football and a further 50,000 will be playing by 2026. We will not be able to cater for the future demand for Women’s football unless we address the fundamental challenges including basic female-friendly facilities i.e., 38% of clubs do not have any female toilets

  • When compared to UEFA industry standards (per capita), we are around 1,000+ full size grass pitches short of the average. Where we do have grass pitches, they are not to the right standards – 43% of grass pitches are rated as ‘Very Poor’, ‘Poor’ or ‘Moderate’

Moving from our reality to our vision requires investment and funding to help us support grassroots clubs and ensure we can cope with increasing future demand in the sport.  

Meet Demand

Delivering on our ambitions means ensuring clubs have the space and facilities they require like a grass pitch and an artificial pitch with floodlights

Quality Experiences

Ensuring quality experiences means funding the development of referee rooms, safe parking and drop-off zones, sustainability measures like EV charging points alongside perimeter fencing and safe storage

Community Engagement

To allow clubs to act as community hubs, we plan to fund indoor hall for multi-sport use, food and beverage facilities, community spaces and a walking track for wider community use

Inclusive For All

Grassroots football is powered by the community and to ensure the community can enjoy the facilities we plan to fund designated accessible parking, safe and accessible changing rooms and storage for specialist Football For All equipment

  • Meet Demand

    Delivering on our ambitions means ensuring clubs have the space and facilities they require like a grass pitch and an artificial pitch with floodlights

  • Quality Experiences

    Ensuring quality experiences means funding the development of referee rooms, safe parking and drop-off zones, sustainability measures like EV charging points alongside perimeter fencing and safe storage

  • Community Engagement

    To allow clubs to act as community hubs, we plan to fund indoor hall for multi-sport use, food and beverage facilities, community spaces and a walking track for wider community use

  • Inclusive For All

    Grassroots football is powered by the community and to ensure the community can enjoy the facilities we plan to fund designated accessible parking, safe and accessible changing rooms and storage for specialist Football For All equipment

OUR FUTURE


This vision will be underpinned by an evolving FAI structural foundation for the grassroots game, framed by our 8 FAI football development regions with modern, digital support via FAI Connect and a well-resourced volunteer group, overseen from the regional centre, including 

LEAGUE OF IRELAND
390m*
  • Equipped with modern stands and seating for fans
  • Modern facilities for supports and attendees
  • New grass playing surfaces
  • LED floodlighting
  • LED perimeter ad boards
  • Modern media and broadcast facilities
  • Food and beverage options
International
47m*
  • A National Football Centre building
  • 2 x FIFA Quality 4G pitches
  • A FIFA Quality 4G pitch with a covered dome
  • FIFA Quality grass pitches
  • Security infrastructure
  • Medical, sports science and kit equipment facilities
  • Changing, coaching, analysis and education facilities
Grassroots
426m*
  • New grass pitches and upgrades to existing pitches
  • New floodlights
  • New and upgraded clubhouses and changing rooms
  • More community-ready facilities
Total
863m
  • 8 Regions with a Regional HQ with each having a central administrative team along with a sporting staff served by Regional Managers and Development Officers.

  • A surrounding infrastructure of facilities by region, both Council and privately-owned with the best possible infrastructure strategically located to ensure football is never more than a 30 minute drive away, harnessing football’s potential as the most inclusive sport in both rural and urban locations.


To effectively invest in and fund Grassroots clubs, we need to know the facts. We have completed a comprehensive satellite audit has identified and mapped every football facility in the Republic of Ireland, conducted quantitative research at grassroots level with a response rate of 87% from our clubs, deepened our understanding of the challenges facing our clubs, volunteers and local communities and conducted comparative analysis using data-sets and benchmarks from across Europe supporting data-led decisions on the future of Irish football’s facilities. 

Barriers to facility development

Ireland ranks 10TH of 55 UEFA NA's

Find further details in our full report