IRFU Announce Changes To Funding Model After Extensive Review

22 May 2024

IRFU Announce Changes To Funding Model After Extensive Review

The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) today announced that following a review of its existing funding model which commenced in September 2023, a number of changes will be implemented from the start of next season to ensure that rugby in Ireland remains competitive, and financially sustainable.

The review, conducted by an external consultant under the direction of a steering committee that included an IRFU delegate from each Province, consulted extensively with key stakeholders including the provinces, Rugby Players Ireland and the IRFU.

The recommendations of the review have the support of the provinces, the steering committee, and the IRFU Union Committee. A key focus of the review was to safeguard the success of the men’s national team, which generates more than 80% of IRFU annual revenues, whilst also ensuring the four provinces remain competitive.

To support successful national and provincial teams, Irish rugby requires a strong pipeline of talent coming through the pathways of all provinces on a consistent basis.

The IRFU remains steadfast in its commitment to ensuring that rugby in Ireland remains financially sustainable.

Annual funding of approximately €40 million will be provided by the IRFU to provinces on a more transparent and equitable basis, including new incentives based on future growth of income from EPCR and URC competitions plus a new matched funding programme to help drive fundraising efforts and additional investment in the domestic game.

Speaking about the review, IRFU CEO Kevin Potts said: “Last year, I announced a review of our funding model and today I am pleased to announce that this review has been completed. 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.

“At the heart of our existing model is the central control of player contracting and management, which is admired by many. A key change to the funding model will see provinces contribute up to 30% of the cost of a national contract for their players, with this level to be reviewed annually.

“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.

“In essence, this new model is simpler, more transparent, more equitable and delivers better incentivisation and alignment. We will however continue to review the model annually which will also need to take account of the pending release of new strategic vision for rugby in Ireland. I would like to thank all the provinces for their support and participation in this review and we look forward to implementing these changes for the betterment of rugby in Ireland. ”