Statement on Redevelopment of Lansdowne Road by Philip Browne, Chief Executive, of the Irish Rugby Football Union:
"The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) is delighted with the Government's decision to support our joint proposal with the FAI for the redevelopment of Lansdowne Road. This decision comes at a vital time as we plan for the future of our sport and greatly enhances the viability of the IRFU as one of Ireland's biggest sporting governing bodies. Without the Government's support we would have to make serious changes to our draft strategic plan for the future of the game, changes which would have drastically reduced the level of support and funding provided at currently.
It has been a long journey for everyone but since December, when Noel Murphy and I met with Minister O'Donoghue we have worked hard to develop a plan that is acceptable to the majority of people. The residents of the locality, with whom the IRFU have enjoyed a strong relationship over many years, are central to our planning considerations as evidenced by the stadium design and our desire to keep our neighbours informed. We welcome their constructive input to our initial discussions and look forward to continuing this dialogue as the planning process progresses.
Tuesday's vote of confidence in Lansdowne Road enduring as one of the most renowned and popular venues in European sport is great news for the IRFU and for Ireland. We greatly appreciate the support of the Government in endorsing our ambition that Irish rugby and sport in general should have the facility of a stadium of this standard and magnitude. We believe that enormous benefits will accrue as a consequence. In addition to the health dividend that results from being a sporting nation there are real economic benefits that will repay the Government's support within a few short years of the investment being
In the modern era, where we are faced with providing for and balancing the needs of both professional and amateur rugby, the role of the stadium as a financial engine cannot be overstated. Governing bodies such as the IRFU must invest significant monies if they are to attract the youth of today and tomorrow into participating and committing to their sports. In rugby football, the surplus generated by the professional game is used to fund the domestic game for the enjoyment of hundreds of thousands of people. The clubs, which are the bedrock of our game, ultimately produce the future stars of the professional game thereby ensuring its future.
One of the main revenue generators in any sport are the stadia themselves. They are now required to provide real value to supporters as centres of live entertainment. This means easily accessible and comfortable facilities that offer food and beverages, related merchandise and hospitality facilities in addition to the sporting event. The profits generated go straight back into funding the sport.
Rugby Football has been part of the social fabric of Ireland for over 130 years. It is played in all four provinces by over 85,000 people with many times that number involved in supporting the game at every level. Ireland's position internationally has always been enhanced by the work and achievements of the rugby community at large. Lansdowne Road itself is the oldest international rugby ground in the world having hosted its first international match in 1875 and today the Irish rugby team is recognised as one of the best teams in world rugby and is seeded 6th out of 43 nations worldwide."