Frequently Asked Questions


How does the NGB apply for recognition?

The NGB applying for recognition should initially contact Sport Ireland to discuss the proposed application and request an application form.
The completed application form, together with a covering letter and the required supporting documentation should be returned to Sport Ireland.

Written applications can be sent to:

  • Sport Ireland Recognition Committee
    Top Floor, Block A
    West End Office Park
    Dublin 15
    Electronic correspondence can be sent to:



What is the assessment process?

A general overview of the assessment process is as follows:

  • Sport Ireland has published a simple process and template for pre-assessing the eligibility of an organisation to be considered as a recognised NGB, in line with the criteria. The NGB will demonstrate that it is in compliance with the recognition criteria.
  • The NGB will formally apply to Sport Ireland for recognition as a NGB by making a submission with relevant supporting information. The submission will include a cover letter, a completed application form along with supporting documentation.
  • Sport Ireland officers will process the application and present the case to Sport Ireland Recognition Committee for consideration.
  • The Committee, which meets as required, will consider the case and make its recommendation to the Board of Sport Ireland.
  • The Sport Ireland Board will decide on the matter and make a final decision.
  • Sport Ireland will notify the applicant on the outcome of the decision. If the application is unsuccessful the applicant will have the right to appeal.
  • Sport Ireland will publish, annually, the list of recognised NGBs.


What assessment criteria does Sport Ireland use?

The assessment of NGB applications is based on the following criteria. A successful application will be expected to fulfil all of these criteria:

  • The sport meets the criteria for sport as outlined in the ISC Act 1999, which is adopted from the Council of Europe "Definition of Sport".
  • The NGB is recognised as the single national governing body by its International Federation and/or World Federations for all aspects of the sport in Ireland, including its disciplines and events.
  • The NGB has a leadership structure that is democratically elected by the membership.
  • The NGB has a written constitution (or in the case of a Limited Company a Memorandum and Articles of Association), by-laws and objects that are voted on and adopted by the membership.
  • The organisation has been established as a corporate entity in good standing under the Companies Act or other relevant legislation for at least three (3) years prior to the application for recognition.
  • The NGB has independent unqualified audited financial statements for each of the last three (3) fiscal years.
  • The NGB is committed to providing its members with technically and ethically sound and safe
  • sport coaching programmes and content based on the Lifelong Involvement in Sport and Physical Activity (LISPA) framework.
  • The NGB has a multi-year strategic plan, ratified by the Board. This plan should identify measureable outcomes across the full range of sport development and be based on the LISPA framework.


As the National Governing Body for its sport in Ireland, the NGB is responsible and accountable at the national level for providing its members with technically and ethically sound and safe sport programmes and services that can be accessed by all. This commitment is demonstrated through its policies, programmes, procedures and practices.


  • The NGB must demonstrate its willingness to fully comply with the Sport Ireland Code of Ethics and Best Practice for Children's Sport in Ireland.
  • The NGB has a formal policy or policies demonstrating commitment to equity and access, notably for women, persons with a disability and people as athletes, coaches, officials, volunteers and leaders.
  • The NGB has a formal disciplinary policy for members and officials.
  • The NGB must formally endorse the Sport Ireland Policy Against Doping in Sport and adopt the Sport Ireland Anti-Doping Rules.
  • The NGB has an Internal Appeals process consistent with established principles of due process and natural justice and containing a provision that allows disputes to be referred to the alternate dispute resolution services of Just Sport Ireland.
  • The promotion of the sport must be the core and primary objective of the organisation.
  • The NGB must satisfy Sport Ireland that it has an established annual subscription income.
  • Pending resources and facilities, the NGB must satisfy Sport Ireland that it has a wide geographical spread in terms of registered clubs.
  • The NGB's Headquarters must be based in and operational from Ireland.


Where in the opinion of Sport Ireland, there are two or more bodies currently organising the development and regulation of a sport or sports which, though different are similar in many respects, Sport Ireland may refuse to provide assistance to such individual bodies but may require them for the purposes of recognition as a Governing Body of Sport to form an umbrella body for the governance of the sport generally.



Is NGB recognition awarded for a limited time?

Initially, any new organisation which can successfully demonstrate that it meets the criteria for a recognised governing body will be given probation status for two years prior to securing full recognition by Sport Ireland. During this time the NGB will be monitored by Sport Ireland to assess its ongoing capability and adherence to the recognition criteria.

During the probation period the organisation will not be allocated investment in line with the Sport Ireland funding criteria, but will be required to provide reports as required by Sport Ireland. They will, however, have access to Coaching Ireland to help develop their coaching plans and pathways. Once the NGB receives full recognition by Sport Ireland, there is no time limit on this status.



Can Sport Ireland withdraw recognition from a NGB?

Yes, Sport Ireland reserves the right to withdraw, reduce, suspend or terminate recognition to NGBs where there is evidence that the NGB has fallen into disrepute and demonstrated non compliance with the investment criteria. Sport Ireland will reserve the right to audit NGBs to ensure they are in compliance with the required policies.



How is funding decided?

It must be noted that recognition by Sport Ireland of an NGB does not automatically confer the right to be allocated Sport Ireland funding.
Sport Ireland funding will be invested to support governing bodies in line with Sport Ireland's strategic priorities as determined from time to time.

Some NGBs who are of smaller scale and resources, may receive funding primarily to support leadership and/or operations. These NGBs will be expected to demonstrate that they are fit for purpose and are in compliance with core governance, ethical, judicial, operational, risk management and taxation/fiduciary policies.

Sport Ireland may provide additional investment as appropriate and available for certain governing bodies for projects and programmes which contribute to improving participation, performance and leadership/operations.



What happens if two NGBs are seeking Sport Ireland recognition as the governing body for the same sport?

As mentioned in the criteria question, Sport Ireland has a policy of only funding one NGB per sport. If two NGBS are applying for recognition, Sport Ireland may require them to form an umbrella body for the purpose of governance of the sport. If one NGB is applying for recognition and there is an already pre-existing recognised NGB for that sport, Sport Ireland will request the applying NGB to contact the recognised NGB to enquire about aligning themselves with them. Sport Ireland may also require an umbrella body to be formed, for the purposes of recognition, in the case where sports which, though different, are similar in many respects.



How long will it take to receive a response to the application?

Each application for recognition is judged on its own merits, meaning that the level of complexity of each application may determine how long the assessment period is. The Sport Ireland Recognition Committee meets on numerous occasions throughout the year.



When can an NGB apply for recognition?

An NGB can apply for recognition at any time throughout the year, simply by contacting the ISC and submitting an application. The application will then be considered at the next available Recognition Committee meeting, bearing in mind that there may be a number of applications to process at any one time and it may not be possible to bring all applications to the next meeting.



If a potential NGB application for recognition is unsuccessful, can it re-apply?

The NGB can re-apply for recognition after 12 months.



Is there an Appeals procedure?

Yes, there is a method by which a decision can be appealed. If an NGB did wish to appeal a decision, they should provide a written submission to Sport Ireland informing them that they wish to appeal. The written submission should clearly outline the basis for the appeal including why they believe the decision may be incorrect. The submission should also include supporting documentation that was not previously supplied to Sport Ireland in the original application to support the NGB's recognition claim. This submission should be lodged within 90 days. Sport Ireland will process the appeal and refer it to its Appeals Committee. The Appeals Committee, after reviewing the application, will make a recommendation to the Sport Ireland Board. The Board will then make a final decision.



Are NGBs subjected to audits from Sport Ireland?

Yes. Sport Ireland expects that the Boards/leaders of the NGB will establish and adhere to their own annual internal auditing and compliance policies to demonstrate to themselves and their members that their sport is being led, governed and managed appropriately. Sport Ireland expects that an NGB will lead and respond to any weaknesses or issues identified in their internal audit and will initiate an implementation programme as necessary. Failure to do so could impact on future funding.Sport Ireland reserve the right to subject any organisation to a fit for purpose audit if it has cause to believe that the sport is in disrepute or is not adhering to its responsibilities as a NGB.



Is there a fee attached to recognition applications?

Sport Ireland does not charge a fee for recognition applications but all costs of making the application must be met by the organisation submitting the application.