The IRFU accounts for 2018/19 confirm that investment in domestic rugby topped €11.25 million last year, a record for funding dedicated to the grassroots development of the game.
The investment was made across numerous areas, with some €3.5 million invested in development officers across the four Branches together with other provincial initiatives, €2.3 million in respect of various other initiatives including insurance, Women’s rugby and further Branch funding, and over €1.25 million allocated directly to clubs and school support.
The funding to the domestic game has increased each year since 2010/11 when the recession started to bite.
Revenues for the year rose by €1.8 million, to €87.5 million. The domestic game accounted for 13% of expenditure but actually generates less than 4% of total revenues, underlining the importance of the dividend from the professional game.
The professional game generated 96% of total revenues with the domestic game accounting for under 4% and received 13% of expenditure.
Commenting on the increased spend, Colin McEntee, the IRFU Director of Rugby Development, said:
The domestic and professional games enjoy a symbiotic relationship, with the professional game providing the funding to allow the domestic game develop future Irish internationals, and support those who just want to play club, schools or leisure rugby for fun and fitness.
“Our funding covers all aspects of the game, from insurance to coaching and referee development to placing staff with provinces in roles such as Club Development Officers. While this funding may not always be obvious, it is the lifeblood of grassroots rugby and we are pleased that we are in a position to increase it each year.
“I am delighted that the Union continue to not only support, but to champion the development of the grassroots game, and I am confident that Irish Rugby will continue to inspire people to come together and enjoy all the benefits that only team sports can deliver.”