Sports Chaplaincy

Sports Chaplaincy

About Sports Chaplaincy 

Sports Chaplaincy Ireland are the Christian charity that are part of Sports Chaplaincy UK (SCUK)  and also Global Sports Chaplaincy (GSCA) They help coordinate and facilitate the activities of Chaplains within sport in Ireland. They work in close partnership with clubs and sport’s governing bodies who recognize the need for quality pastoral and spiritual support and encouragement throughout sport. ‘Serving Sport Through Excellence in Chaplaincy’ is our tag line and this is our heart and DNA.

What We Do

Ours is a pioneering ministry and as such can be misunderstood. Sports chaplaincy is about finding fresh expressions of modelling and demonstrating the radical love of Jesus in the life of the wider community. We believe that such a pioneering ministry is at its heart all about service and we seek to give of ourselves expecting nothing in return, believing that such an expression of discipleship is a profound and authentic form of evangelism. When we serve all people with the love of Jesuswe know that together we can make a profound difference

What Sports Chaplains can offer?

Sports Chaplaincy offer pastoral and spiritual support by permission to everyone, whether they are people of faith or people of no faith. Our Heart and Desire is to serve not just mainstream sports but the margins of the sporting community including All Ability and Disability Sport and Women’s Sports

Values and Vision and Mission 

Our Values are rooted in Presence, Excellence, Relationship, Confidentiality and Humility.

Our Vision: “To provide and support chaplains in every professional and amateur sport in the UK & Ireland” and to be an expression of Gods love and compassion to every community called sport 

Our Mission: “To initiate, nurture, support and resource high quality Christian chaplaincy to our community called sport” and to…“ equip, challenge, and enable the church to engage with their community called sport”.

Big Facts

There are approaching 175,000 sports clubs in the U.K and Ireland with a community of 30 million people actively involved – that’s the size of the community we are trying to serve.

We have trained over 800 chaplains in the UK and Ireland and continue to do so

We are trusted across the whole of the UK and Ireland with a Global reputation.

In sport, we are endorsed by the, English Premier League, Scottish Premier Football League, English Football League, the Scottish FA, Irish FA, Northern Ireland Football League , PFA ,Rugby Football League , Racing Welfare ,North West Cricket Union ,Hockey Wales ,Welsh Cycling , International Mixed Ability Sports and Disability Sport Wales to name but a few, so it’s widely accepted within sport  as being not just a good idea but also important.

Our Church partners include Gideons (Good News For Everyone) , Alpha , Try Praying , ,  Christian Vision for Men , Crown Jesus Ministries , Loss & Hope and UCB . We have also commenced several initiatives including National Sports Sunday and an “I love sport campaign”

Our Social Partners include Care for the Family, CAP, Sporting Chance, GamCare, Mental Health Foundation, State of Mind, Compassion and Hope for Justice ,

Individual sporting Testimonials of our work nationally include Sir Alex Ferguson, Sir Ian McGeechan, Anna Wafula Strike and in Ireland Gerard Lawlor, Marcus Kane  and Megan Bell.

“Chaplains can be of help to all sorts of people involved with sport, when crisis, need or difficulty comes. I commend the idea of sports chaplaincy and the work of Sports Chaplaincy to you”.

Sir Alex Ferguson CBE, Formerly manager and now Director and Ambassador of Manchester United FC

“Chaplaincy brings a whole other dimension…it brings a personal touch. People feel they can be listened to as an individual. If chaplaincy was to be established in every club, I think it would be of huge benefit”

Sir Ian McGeechan, Four time British and Irish Lions Coach

“…Every athlete needs some kind of support and encouragement and a chaplain can be a valuable source of this support”.

Anne Wafula-Strike MBE, Director of The UK Athletics Board, Former GB & NI Gold Medallist Paralympian

There are so many things people don’t see going on in an athlete’s life away from the playing arena – and this is where the chaplain can play a pivotal role.”

Megan Bell, Northern Ireland International

“Our club chaplain helped me to gain a unique perspective on issues I had. He went above and beyond for me in my time of need.”

Marcus Kane, Glentoran FC Captain

“We as a club have benefited enormously from having a chaplain and Dario has been of value to not only the players and staff but also the board.”

Gerard Lawlor, Former Chairman, Cliftonville FC and now Chairman of the Northern Ireland Football League

Criteria for a chaplain

Each Chaplain brings with them a vast range of skills, knowledge, and individual expertise. Chaplains are extremely supportive and bring a non-judgmental, listening ear and an empathetic and compassionate presence, wisdom and learning from their faith as Followers of Jesus and above all the gifts of encouragement, support, and comfort in the challenging arena of sports.

Role of a Chaplain

Chaplains are there for everyone at the club irrespective of faith, tradition, or no faith. They are primarily encouragers, but they are also specifically trained in getting alongside people to help them cope with the stresses of life, promote positive mental health and wellbeing and to enable people to realise their potential and contribute to community. On the playing side this may for example, mean supporting an athlete/ player with a long-term injury or helping a young player cope with disappointment and in general encourage them to hold their talent in conjunction with a bigger picture for their life. For all staff, it will include listening to and caring for an individual through personal or family illness, crisis, addiction, or bereavement, providing family support and in general supporting individuals through life’s ever-changing events. Being intentional about being relational is part of a Chaplain’s character and this allows relationships to develop from where they are trusted to support people navigate the big and small questions of life . Chaplains are also willing to support players and staff within clubs with life skill talks and help make charity connections. Confidentiality is a key value in all of their work.


  • Sports Chaplaincy UK and Ireland has been in existence for 30 years in Football, Rugby, Cricket, Hockey, Athletics, Horse Racing, Motor Racing and now GAA as well as many other sports such as Golf , Gyms and Surfing
  • Approximately 80% of the professional football clubs in England, Scotland and Wales have a chaplain including the majority of Premiership clubs 
  • 30 of the top 35 football clubs in Northern Ireland have a sports chaplain including all 12 Northern Ireland Men’s Premiership teams plus 4 out of 6 of the Northern Ireland Women’s Premiership teams. An increasing number of League of Ireland clubs are taking up the opportunity to appoint a club chaplain, in what is a new venture for Southern Irish Football 
  • The diversity of recent appointments in the last 2 years in Ireland also include the Irish FA International Disability Squads, the Irish FA Women’s Senior International Team & Development Squads , Northern Ireland Football Referees , Surfers of Bundoran , Cliftonville Football Club Academy and Linfield Football Club, Bready Cricket Club and Brigade Cricket Club, Drogheda United FC , Sligo Rovers FC and St Patricks Athletic FC in Dublin , Banbridge Rugby Club and Highfield Rugby Club in Cork , Armagh Hockey Club and Banbridge Hockey Club , East Belfast GAA and Galway & Mayo Institute of Technology Ladies GAA Team.
  • Major events such as the Olympics, Paralympics and Commonwealth Games have Sports Chaplaincy Teams at those events. Similarly in Ireland we provide Chaplaincy at a number of Major events including the International Mixed Ability Rugby World Cup tournament in Cork in the summer of 2022