There are, therefore, many opportunities to discover the date. The sports capital and equipment programme is the primary vehicle for Government support for the development of sports and recreation facilities and the purchase of non-personal sports equipment throughout the country. More than 13,000 projects have benefited from sports capital funding since 1998, bringing the total allocations in that time to over €1 billion.
On 30 November 2020, the Minister, Deputy Catherine Martin, and I announced that a new 2020 round of the programme was opening, with at least €40 million available to allocate. The original closing date for applications was 12 February 2021 but, in view of difficulties some applicants were encountering as a result of Covid restrictions, this deadline was extended until 1 March 2021. By this closing date, more than 3,000 applications had been submitted seeking over €200 million in funding. This is the highest number of applications ever received.
The scoring system and assessment procedures were finalised and published earlier this year and all applications are being assessed in accordance with these procedures. Approximately 1,000 of the submitted applications were for equipment-only projects. These applications were assessed first and grants with a total value of €16.6 million were announced on 6 August 2021. The letter of provisional allocation encouraged all grantees to draw down this funding before the end of the year, if possible, and in recent weeks my Department has been prioritising payment of all existing grants. Ensuring that as many older grants as possible are paid before the end of the year will maximise the funding available to allocate for the 2020 capital applications. With regard to these applications, assessment work is continuing and every effort is being made to complete it as quickly as possible. It is likely to take a number of additional weeks for these assessments to be completed.
With regard to the funding available to allocate, as already stated, the payment of as many older grants as possible before the end of this year will help increase the potential allocation amount for the remaining capital applications. I am pleased that, following completion of the 2022 budget discussions, there was an increase of €6.6 million on the 2021 allocation, bringing the total to be allocated for 2022 to at least €34.5 million. This will cover all existing allocations under the previous rounds in addition to significant new allocations for the 2020 capital applications. Every effort will be made to fund as many worthwhile projects as possible while providing a sufficient level of grant to ensure the projects are viable. We are in ongoing discussions with the Department of my colleague, the Minister, Deputy Michael McGrath, on additional allocations for this round. We will announce the results of these discussions in the coming weeks.