The Irish Rugby Football Union provided an unbudgeted additional 1 million euro in the 2015/16 season to the provinces (250,000 euro each) to assist with the difficulties experienced by all in the player contracting market.
The increase of almost 6 million euro in player and management costs arises, in large part, from the necessity to provide against operational amounts due from the Munster Branch, in light of their current financial difficulties, together with the aforementioned additional funding for all four provinces and various other items.
The Union recorded a surplus of just over 5 million euro for the 2015/16 season, driven by increased broadcast monies and revenue generated by participation in Rugby World Cup 2015.
Over the same period costs increased by almost 5 million euro from 66.2 to 71 million euro, ensuring the Union achieved a close to break-even result in net cash terms.
Again demonstrating the importance of the Ireland team in generating income to support the game at all levels in Ireland, income generated through the national team amounted to 61.7 million euro or 81% of the IRFU’s total revenue.
Tom Grace, IRFU Honorary Treasurer, speaking at the Union’s annual general meeting held at the Aviva Stadium, said: “It is no secret that the increased revenues available to French and English clubs are having a serious inflationary impact on player remuneration.
“The Union’s response to this is to increase the player funding going forward for the provinces but more significantly to invest greater amounts into our player development pathways from the grassroots game upwards.
“In our budget for 2015/16, an additional 3.2m euro was allocated to elite player development and 800,000 euro to the domestic game.
“For 2016/17 we have enhanced the domestic game investment by a further 1.2 million euro. It is the view of the Union that these investments in our game represent the most effective way forward for the Union given the financial constraints under which we operate.”