IRFU budget deficit almost €2m less than anticipated as 'a number of provinces' brace for losses next season
The IRFU has announced a budget deficit of €2.8m, down from the forecast of €4.7m after improved on-field performances saw a boost in finances.
This is the first time that the IRFU have recorded a deficit since the 2007/08, but in a statement they say that they anticipate a return to a 'breakeven situation no later than 2018/19.
The IRFU forecasted a budget deficit of €4.7m 'to address the immediate funding difficulties facing all four provinces due to player cost inflation and the need to continue investment in the grassroots game and player development'.
Speaking in today's statement, IRFU Honorary Treasurer Tom Grace said:
"The Union and Provinces had a good year off the field and this has fed into the Union's financial result for the year with the €2.8m deficit being some €1.9m better than budgeted.
"The combination of prize money and an increase in (sponsorship) contract amounts outweighed the negative impact of exchange rates on Six Nations broadcasting income. Against budget total revenues were €2.9m ahead due to strong Guinness Series gates, impressive Six Nations hospitality, prize-money and share of (European Cup) gates.
"With regard to expenditure costs increased by €8.3m to €79.4m due to a combination of factors. The €3.5m increase in professional games costs is due to no tour taking place in 2015/16, match costs for a full Guinness Series together with the Chicago match, insurance costs, player and management bonuses and increased funding for the provinces."
Grace also stated that a 'number of provinces' are budgeting for deficits this season.
"It is not the Union's usual practice to budget for a deficit and we expect to return to break even next season however it is important to note that a number of the Provinces will be budgeting for a deficit this season but that is not sustainable long term and must be addressed.”