Sport NI will release £2.4m worth of funding in a bid to help the sporting community through the coronavirus pandemic.
Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey has confirmed that the money will be made available as sports clubs and bodies across Northern Ireland cope with the loss of vital income through tickets, renting of facilities and other vital activities during the Covid-19 outbreak.
The remaining 19/20 grant balance will be released immediately, resulting in £1m going to supported clubs and high performance programmes, with a further £1.4m set to be released once clarity is available on the resumption of the sporting calendar.
The additional funding will come from early release of 20/21 grants; 50% of awards released to the club sector and 25% of awards into the high performance sector.
Sport NI will also launch a programme in early April, designed to provide emergency financial relief to grassroots organisations.
“Sporting organisations at every level, from grassroots to professional operations, are facing serious financial challenges as a result of their competitions or major events being postponed or cancelled," said Minister Hargey.
"Sport will have a crucial role to help society deal with the aftermath of the emergency. It is therefore essential that sporting organisations and clubs are in a position to offer communities and individuals access to sport and physical activities as soon as it is safe to do so.
“Sport and physical activity will be vital in raising the spirit and mood of our community as we come out of lockdown and self-isolation. I would encourage everyone, when we are through this crisis, to get out and support their local clubs and sporting organisations."
Ms Hargey also noted the sporting community's collective efforts to help the most vulnerable in society during the pandemic.
"In turn, I am committed to play my part in ensuring that the needs of the sports sector are not overlooked," she concluded.