HomeRugbyRugby IrishProvinces to Contribute Up to 30% of National Contract Costs

Provinces to Contribute Up to 30% of National Contract Costs

IRFU Announces New Funding Model to Sustain Rugby in Ireland

The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) has revealed significant changes to its funding model following an extensive review that began in September 2023. These changes, set to be implemented at the start of next season, aim to maintain the competitiveness and financial sustainability of rugby in Ireland.

Key Highlights of the New Funding Model:

  • Provinces to Contribute: A crucial change will see provinces contributing up to 30% of the cost of national contracts for their players. This contribution level will be reviewed annually.
  • Annual Funding: The IRFU will provide approximately €40 million annually to provinces. This funding will be distributed more transparently and equitably, with new incentives based on future income growth from EPCR and URC competitions.
  • Matched Funding Programme: A new programme will be introduced to drive fundraising efforts and additional investment in the domestic game.

IRFU CEO Kevin Potts emphasized the importance of this new model, stating, “With 80% of the Union’s income derived from our men’s national team, it is imperative that we protect that income at all costs as it is essential to delivering our expanding women’s rugby programme and ongoing support of our domestic game.”

The review was conducted by an external consultant and overseen by a steering committee, including an IRFU delegate from each province. Extensive consultations with key stakeholders, including the provinces, Rugby Players Ireland, and the IRFU, were carried out.

Focus on Sustainability and Competitiveness:

The IRFU remains committed to ensuring that rugby in Ireland is both competitive and financially sustainable. The new funding model aims to create a strong pipeline of talent through provincial pathways, ensuring the success of both national and provincial teams.

Potts highlighted the benefits of the new model, saying, “At the heart of our existing model is the central control of player contracting and management, which is admired by many. This new model is simpler, more transparent, more equitable and delivers better incentivisation and alignment.”

The recommendations of the review have been endorsed by the provinces, the steering committee, and the IRFU Union Committee. The IRFU plans to continue reviewing the model annually, aligning with a new strategic vision for rugby in Ireland.

Potts concluded, “We hear loud and clear from our players that Ireland is the best place for them to play rugby, owing to our exceptionally high player welfare standards and game management, and that is something of which we are immensely proud. The strength of rugby in Ireland is aligned to having four healthy, competitive provinces and the IRFU remains committed to delivering this in a financially sustainable manner.”

The IRFU looks forward to implementing these changes to enhance the future of rugby in Ireland.

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