Monday 26 September 2016

'We're not bank of last resort' - IRFU warning after confirming each province will get €1m

Published 13/05/2016 | 02:30

"The bottom line is, the IRFU cannot consistently be the bank of last resort because we simply don't have the resources to do that." (Stock photo: Sportsfile)

IRFU CEO Philip Browne has issued a warning to Irish provinces that they cannot continue to rely on the governing body to be a "bank of last resort" after confirming another summer of urgent cash injections for all four provinces.

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And he has refused to directly back the continuation of his embattled Munster counterpart Garrett Fitzgerald, whose province are due to announce a substantial increase in losses next month to add to their financial woes, as he prepares for an annual review of his performance.

"At this point in time, as far as I'm concerned, we're working with Garrett," said Browne, as the IRFU prepare to boost the provincial coffers by up to €1m each this summer.

"He's going to produce a financial plan for us with the Munster branch and we'll sit down and discuss all of that in terms of the future.

"The difficulty for Munster this year was, there was effectively almost a perfect storm. There were issues around trying to get the gates to hold up during the World Cup.

"Then there was a lot of bad results before Christmas, and inevitably, what they had budgeted for the rest of the season had to be altered, and their forecast had to be adjusted.

Philip Browne, IRFU Chief Executive
Philip Browne, IRFU Chief Executive

"We've seen what the outcome of that has been in terms of the financial difficulty. Equally, Rassie Erasmus has come in now to help on the coaching side, and we'll be working very closely with Garrett to try and sort out the off-pitch side of things.

"The bottom line is, the IRFU cannot consistently be the bank of last resort because we simply don't have the resources to do that."

Top 14 clubs in France yesterday agreed a new TV deal which will bring in an eye-watering €97m a year from 2019, and Browne insists they cannot chase the widening financial gap.

"We have to be a bit more clever about what we do and development of our own players is absolutely essential. We need to produce better players, quicker," said Browne.

Irish Independent

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