On-pitch success helps IRFU record healthy €1.2m profit
Irish Rugby's stunning season has significantly helped to boost the IRFU coffers as the union recorded a lucrative €1.2m profit at their AGM yesterday.
Having posted a loss of €2.8m last year, the IRFU had budgeted for a deficit of over €4m for this season due to costs involved in Ireland's failed World Cup bid as well as the hosting of the women's World Cup.
However, in what was a historic season for Ireland, in which Joe Schmidt's side won the Grand Slam as well as Leinster being crowned Champions Cup and Guinness PRO14 champions, an unexpected bonanza caps a memorable year.
The IRFU had not expected to break even until next year, but Ireland and Leinster's success coupled with Munster reaching the semi-final stage both in Europe and domestically, has resulted in a welcome financial improvement.
The union's revenues rose by €9.1m, with €6.3m of this increase on the back of Ireland's success and €2m resulting from the provinces.
€42m worth of expenditure for both Ireland and the provinces was recorded, which included bonuses paid to players for their remarkable achievements.
With more of a focus being put on high performance areas and provincial academies, expenditure on elite player development also increased to €10.8m.
In total, over €3m was spent on women's rugby at the elite level compared with just under €2.2m last year, while €10.6m went on the domestic game - an increase of almost €0.7m.
While naturally delighted with how the year has panned out, both on and off the pitch, the IRFU's CEO Philip Browne warned that the union would not be getting ahead of themselves as they look to ensure that they maintain this trend.
"The financing of the game has become increasingly important in the context of competing with international clubs who have deep pockets," said Browne.
"Keeping our best players in our player management system has helped to deliver success and I congratulate David Nucifora (IRFU high performance director) 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."
Meanwhile, Ian McIlrath is the new president of the IRFU.