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Ireland and Leinster's on-field success leads to €1.2 million profit for IRFU

Philip Browne hails 2017/18 season as a ‘record breaking one in terms of team and financial performance.’

Ireland completed a glorious Grand Slam win at Twickenham.
Ireland completed a glorious Grand Slam win at Twickenham.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

IRELAND’S GLORIOUS GRAND Slam success, coupled with a fourth European crown for Leinster, has resulted in the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) returning to a budget surplus quicker than forecast.

After posting a €2.8 million deficit for the 2016/17 season, the union did not expect to break even until the end of next year at the earliest, but a third Six Nations crown in five years has boosted the coffers on Lansdowne Road considerably.

In addition, the IRFU had in fact budgeted a deficit of over €4 million for the 2017/18 season, due to the costs of hosting last summer’s Women’s World Cup, the costs associated with bidding to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup and ‘an increase in investment in the domestic game.’

But, in arguably Irish rugby’s greatest season, IRFU revenues rose by €9.1 million to €85.7 million, with €6.3 million of that increase attributable to the success of Joe Schmidt’s side, while €2 million was derived from Leinster’s European title and the advancement of Munster to two semi-finals.

Expenditure, meanwhile, increased to over €42 million, the union’s annual financial report says, a figure which includes the bonuses paid to players for the Six Nations and Champions Cup wins at international and provincial level.

Furthermore, the IRFU increased its spending on elite player development and in the area of academies and high performance units to €10.8 million over the last 12 months.

In breaking down expenditure, the union says over €3 million was spent on women’s rugby, which represents an increase from €2.2 million the previous year.

Philip Browne IRFU CEO Philip Browne. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Commenting on the publication of the financial report, IRFU chief executive Philip Browne said: “The 2017/18 season was a record breaking one in terms of team and financial performance, and it is thanks to Joe Schmidt and his management team, the provincial management teams and all the players, as well as the loyal and ever increasing number of supporters who attend games, purchase merchandise and drive our teams on to winning performance

“The financing of the game has become increasingly important in the context of competing with international clubs who have deep pockets. Keeping our best players in our player management system has helped to deliver success and I congratulate David Nucifora and all our provinces for making the Irish system so attractive to players.

“Success is never guaranteed, and for that reason we must always be careful how we distribute funding across all aspects of the game.

“Given the political and economic uncertainty in the world at the moment, and as a number of the provinces are expecting that finances will be very tight next year, we must continue to ensure we don’t live beyond our means.”

The full report is available here

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Ryan Bailey

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