In response to Tuesday’s announcement of approval for the redevelopment of Lansdowne Road, IRFU Chief Executive has issued a statement expressing the IRFU’s delight at the Government’s decision.
In response to Tuesday’s announcement of approval for the redevelopment of
Lansdowne Road, Philip Browne, IRFU Chief Executive has issued a statement expressing
the IRFU’s delight at the Government’s decision.
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 Governments
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 Irelands
biggest sporting governing bodies. Without the Governments 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 ODonoghue 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
Tuesdays 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 Governments support within a few short years of the investment being
made. A single large rugby international on its own contributes in excess of
€;50 million to the local and national economy. When internationals and
European Cup matches are added in this figure grows to well in excess of €;100million
while the IRFU itself employs some 330 people and contributes over €;6million
annually in PAYE & PRSI.
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
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. Irelands 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.