For a nation that loves their sports so much, it has always been interesting to see how exactly our athletes are rewarded. We have an impressive history of competing on the world stage in many arenas but often against much bigger and better funded opponents.
It is a tough one to explain to people that some of our most loved and admired athletes can play for a sold out Croke Park on a Sunday and be in their office Monday morning for another week's work, having not received a cent. If you compare that to the average NFL salary coming in at $860,000 you can imagine you could feel a little hard done by.
This is what makes athletes in Ireland who compete at this top level so special, that their incentive is not money but to be able to say they are the best and that is something that can never be taken away from you.
We not only see this at home with national sports, but we also have teams and athletes that compete on the world stage with limited programmes and funding. The star example being our Irish Women’s hockey team, who with a massively underfunded programme reached a World Cup final and qualified for the Olympics in Tokyo, coming up against teams that have the opportunity to train and play year-round due to professional status and funding.
If you look down the list of names of the players in that final, not only are you seeing star athletes, but you are seeing Lawyers, Engineers, Accountants, and a whole host of other jobs that they have to manage as well as staying competitive coming up against other nations.
Rugby in Ireland is probably one of the few sports where at the elite level you are expected to train and play full time, that’s expected to be your only source of income. You are also helped in that in Ireland you get 10-year tax relief on your income from your sport, that doesn’t just count for Rugby but includes all sports you are earning your living from.
A rugby career can be short lived in the grand scheme of things and is usually just the first career before moving onto other things. This was one of the reasons we started MA Sports, we recognised the need for athletes to be supported at the end of their careers to help them transition into a role that was suitable for both candidate and client.
These are all just a few examples of the landscape of sports in Ireland and just why we believe MA Sports is so vital. We want athletes to feel comfortable about what the next step they take will be and that they can be confident in the next decision they are making.
We have worked with and spoken to so many athletes across a different variety of sports to try to and perfect our programme and understand exactly what is required from us but also from an athlete. The Irish sporting landscape is unique but full of opportunities, we are just here to try and make sure athletes get all that they deserve when looking for a change.
Feel free to reach out to us to learn more about these experiences, if you are an athlete looking for a change of scenery please reach out and we would be happy to help.
It can be a daunting decision, but we are here to hopefully help ease any transition.
Contact Ziggy at firstname.lastname@example.org