Thursday 22 March 2018

IRFU increase Munster's annual grant by more than €1m to ease financial woes

Thomond Park
Thomond Park

In light of their financial difficulties, the IRFU have allocated Munster Rugby an additional €1.1m to their annual grant and suspended this year’s loan repayment from the remodelling of Thomond Park.

At last night’s Munster Branch AGM, the province predicted a cash-flow deficit of €1.9m for the financial year ending on June 30. Dwindling attendances at Thomond Park during a difficult season on the pitch has been cited as one of the main reasons for Munster’s current situation.

Furthermore, they still have a loan of €10m with the IRFU from the revamping of the Limerick ground, though as mentioned, the latter organisation have decided to offer Munster a holiday from the annual repayment which comes to €200k. Instead, only the loan’s interest will be repaid.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Munster’s financial controller Philip Quinn explained the nature of the new arrangement.

“We’ve made no capital repayment to the IRFU this year and our interest has been a five-figure sum. Because of our current situation we’re working with the Union. They came to us and said we’ll deal with that as part of the long-term plan.

“We’re able to meet all of our third-party commitments and that’s the key thing for us. Any bills that come in from third parties, we can pay them. What we need to do is work with the IRFU over what we owe them.

“We were due to pay €200,000 this year but the IRFU haven’t asked us for that money. They asked us for the interest but we’re talking €50-60,000 interest, which is the deposit rate that they’d be getting on the €10 million.”

As stated, the loss of gate receipts at Thomond Park, particularly in comparison to when the province were at the peak of the powers in the last decade, have taken a toll. However, Quinn said that their Cork stadium, Musgrave Park, was yielding revenue.

“With the additional events such as concerts and the Nitro Circus coming up, we’re doing well on our ticket sales for the matches. And it’s the same in Thomond Park, we’re making revenue out of it. There’s a small cash-flow deficit in Thomond but we’re talking small numbers on it.

“What’s crippling Munster is that our gate income has dropped significantly. Our player costs have gone up but the IRFU have given us additional grant income to offset that increase, although they haven’t covered it in full.”

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