The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) has reported an operating surplus of €5.9 million for the year ending 31st July 2022 following Friday afternoon’s EGM at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin.
The result was a more positive financial outcome than had been anticipated, coming against a budgeted deficit of €4.9m. By way of comparison, this year’s result compares with combined losses of almost €47m in the preceding two years. The full report is available at the bottom of this article.
IRFU Chief Executive Kevin Potts said:
“Our key message today, is that in relation to the finances of the IRFU, following a torrid period due to the impact of Covid-19: the ship has been stabilised. There is however a cost to this, in terms of dilution of the IRFU’s assets, together with a negative impact on our future cash flow, but we have survived and are now endeavouring to rebuild our financial resources to pre Covid-19 levels.
“The reasons for the better than anticipated financial out-turn this year are based, in large part, on some key factors:
“Firstly, the earlier than anticipated opening of our grounds to full attendances at Internationals from last November onwards. Secondly, the receipt, in arrears, in December 2021, of €18 million of special assistance from Government for Covid-19 Income losses across Irish Rugby during 2021.
Without the receipt of this grant, the Union would have reported an operating deficit of over €9m for the year. I want to acknowledge and thank the Government for their critical support during Covid-19, without which rugby, as we know it on this island, would have struggled to survive.
“In addition, the exceptional item of €44.6 million, which relates to the proceeds received, and receivable in coming years, by the Union in respect of the CVC and Six Nations deal. This significant sum has been received at a most opportune time, given the damage inflicted by Covid-19 on our financial reserves. However, it has to be understood that this comes at a future cost, in terms of a permanent reduction by 14% of the IRFU’s future Six Nations and Autumn Nations Series income.
“The €66 million cash reserves in the bank, is made up of significant future earnings including the pre-sale of 10-year tickets; the monies paid up front for these tickets have to be honoured over the next decade; together with proceeds from the URC and Six Nations CVC transactions. The sale of these assets will result in a permanent reduction in the IRFU’s share of income from these tournaments into the future.”
With details of the Women in Rugby Report set to be announced in the coming weeks, the IRFU’s direct investment in the Women’s game is now over €5.5 million per annum, up €2.1 million on what was budgeted in previous years. This includes the introduction of professional contracts for Women’s XVs players for the first time in the Union’s history.
In relation to the Club game, the IRFU directed €6.5 million of the Government grants into clubs during Covid-19, which helped both their survival and the ability to reopen their gates when public health restrictions were lifted. CEO Kevin Potts also confirmed the return to previous levels of investment in the Club and Schools game programmes to almost €12 million in 2022/23.
Potts concluded: “Through their enormous hard work our Men’s National team have reached the number one ranking in the world and in a magnificent Test match last weekend defeated the World Champions, South Africa, our male Under-20 side are the Grand Slam champions, our Men’s 7s team recently took a bronze medal in the Rugby World Cup, and the last seasons Energia All-Ireland League Men’s and Women’s finals were outstanding advertisements for our club game. These successes highlight that there is much to be positive about in Irish Rugby at this time, but we continue to recognise the enormous body of work, across a range of challenges, still to be tackled.
“Though the IRFU is forecasting deficits for the next three years, it is the IRFU’s firm intention that Irish Rugby will continue to operate on a sustainable basis, only spending funds that it either has or can predict with relative certainty. This makes for challenging times, but I do believe Irish Rugby will rise to these challenges.”