The Irish senior men’s and women’s teams launched their “crowd funding” on the PledgeSports website this week as part of their efforts to raise €35,000 each in the next 40 days.
The funding raised for these teams via PledgeSports will be used for additional training and support as they prepare for world tournaments and the qualification stages on the Road To Rio.This starts in earnest in April with the Champions Challenge I competitions with the women heading to Glasgow, Scotland and the men off to Kuatan in Malaysia. In 2015, then, their route takes them to Montevideo, Uruguay and Lancaster, USA respectively for the second round of the World League, the first phase of the Olympic qualifying route.
PledgeSports offers a platform for individuals or businesses to financially support the teams with any amount ranging from €10 to €3,000 with a number of rewards related to the scale of your pledge. These range from a signed hockey ball to branding on the Ireland jersey or advertising on the hockey.ie website.
Commenting on the new initiative, coach Darren Smith said “This is a fantastic opportunity to get on board with the Green Army team as we push toward qualification for Rio 2016 Olympics. Any support that you can give through Pledge Sports will allow us to spend that extra day, week or month in camp preparing to help make this dream a reality.”
Richard Pearson of PledgeSports said of the new partnership: “We are delighted to be working with Hockey Ireland on this project, this is a great way for fans to get behind a team and show their support, everyone wants to see Irish athletes and teams in Rio 2016, through PledgeSports they can now directly participate.”
The Women’s International team is supported by long term Sponsor Electric Ireland and both teams are also supported by the Irish Sports Council. However, Irish Hockey see this partnership with PledgeSports as an opportunity “to leave nothing to chance when it comes to the best preparation possible for getting these two teams into the Olympics”.
Previously, the Irish men were the beneficiary of over €60,000 in a four-day period following the IHA’s decision to initially withdraw from the Champions Challenge I in Argentina in 2012 while they have also employed crowd funding initiatives on a smaller scale.