With proposals to cut grants to Ireland’s elite athletes looking like coming in to effect in 2014, The Daily Shift’s David Prendergast takes a look on the effect, or lack there of it is likely to have on Olympic star, Katie Taylor…
Last week it was announced that the Irish Sports Council (ISC) may cut grants allocated to its elite athletes due to findings in a report conducted by British company KKP.
The report found that many of Ireland’s top athletes may not need top level funding due to their ability to attract top sponsorships and earn money from other outlets such as endorsements and appearance fees.
The reports specifically noted that Ireland’s boxers were treated significantly better in terms of finances in comparison to Irish athletes in other sports. Overall the report found that in comparison to other countries, Irish athletes are not means tested and that in reality grants should more closely reflect each athlete’s individual cost of living.
Athletes will continue to receive their grants in 2013 with the proposed changes likely to begin in 2014.
As of now athletes can receive one of three grants. The highest grant is €40,000 per year, the second tier is €20,000 per year and the lowest tier is €12,000 per year. Ten boxers receive the top level individual grant including Olympic, World and European lightweight champion Katie Taylor who has received the top tier grant for the past seven years.
Taylor recently made the decision to remain an amateur boxer having turned down numerous professional contracts from the likes of British boxer Amir Khan and ten-time World Champion Oscar de la Hoya.
After she announced her decision to remain an amateur Paul McDermott, communications manager for the ISC said it was a huge boost to the ISC as she was an icon to Irish sport. However, despite the proposed cuts to her top tier grant by the ISC Taylor still has the potential to earn a high income due to her sporting reputation in Ireland.
Taylor’s cash sources to date include her role as an ambassador for food services provider Aramark; her role as a Sky ambassador; her role as the face of Proctor and Gamble’s “Be Proud of Mums” campaign and her sponsorships by Adidas, Toyota, Spar and Lucozade.
It is also thought she will be offered an ambassadorial role with IBA to promote women’s boxing worldwide. The role offers Taylor a €10,000 paycheck plus expenses.
Taylor, who is 1,000 points ahead of her nearest opponent Sofya Ochigava in the amateur world rankings, said her decision not to turn professional was due to her love of winning medals for Ireland.
Speaking to Today FM she also added: “The thing with professional boxing is you have to have the right promoter and the right fights. It is a cut-throat business. You have to make sure you have the right people around you to get the right fights and you’re not guaranteed to get the best fights.”
Meanwhile, the International Boxing Association (AIBA) is set to move in to professional boxing with the launch of AIBA Professional Boxing (APB) for men sometime next year. Under APB, pro boxers will be allowed to fight in the Olympics if they have fought less than fifteen times in the pro ranks and have only turned pro in the last two years.
However, no such system is to be introduced for women’s boxing before the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro meaning Taylor will have to stick with her decision to remain an amateur to retain her Olympic title in four years’ time.