Sport Ireland has approved a series of changes to the International Carding Scheme, which will see athlete funding increase from 2022 ahead of the 2024 Olympic Games.

The International category will increase from €12,000 to €18,000 representing a 50% increase for this category. The World Class category will increase from €20,000 to €25,000 representing a 25% increase for this category. The funding level for Podium category will remain at €40,000.

For 2023 and 2024, the International Carding Scheme will be awarded as a two-year investment to allow athletes to focus on qualification and performance at the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris 2024.

Athlete Performance and Holistic Support is one of the seven key strategic pillars identified under the Sport Ireland High Performance Strategy 2021-2032.

Changes from September 2021 will included financial and service support provided to retiring athletes on the International Carding Scheme, and from January 2022, funding to athletes on the scheme at international and world class levels will increase.

From 2022, Sport Ireland will establish a new scheme for team sports to increase the supports to athletes and players in Olympic and Paralympic programmes, while in 2023 and 2024, the International Carding Scheme will be awarded as a two-year investment.

Chief Executive of Sport Ireland John Treacy said: "The changes reflect the importance that is placed on athlete welfare at all stages of an athlete’s career. Programmes such as the Athlete Career Transition Programme are vital to athletes as they transition from high performance sport. Equally, the increase in funding will further support athletes to commit to their sport on a full-time basis if they so choose".

A fundamental principle of the Sport Ireland High Performance Strategy and Athlete Welfare Policy is that athletes should experience a positive system that provides holistic support based on their needs throughout their sporting career, and supports them as they transition to the next stage of their lives. The Athlete Career Transitions Programme will provide both financial support and non-financial support to athletes who chose to engage.

Sport Ireland will provide a continuation of funding to an athlete on the International Carding Scheme for a specific period upon retirement.

In the year of the Olympic/Paralympic Games, athletes who intend to retire will receive 100% of that year’s funding and secure 50% of their current award for the following year. In the non-Olympic/Paralympic years, athletes who intend to retire will be assured of 50% of their current award from any point of exit.