The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) today held its continuation Annual General Meeting (AGM) where the annual accounts to 31st July 2023 were officially presented. The IRFU reported a deficit of just under €1m – considerably less than the €7.4m deficit that had been forecast for the year.
Compared to last year, while income fell from €116m to €92m, this was due in large part to a Government Covid grant which was received during the 2021/22 accounting period in respect of Covid related losses in 2021. Expenditure also decreased to just over €93m from €110m, reflecting the return to a more normal cost profile post-Covid. The Union’s balance sheet remains solid with net assets relatively unchanged at €106m and cash balances of €63m.
The IRFU’s Chief Financial Officer Thelma O’Driscoll commented:
“We are pleased to report today for the financial year to the end of July 2023 a deficit of just under €1m, which is considerably ahead of what we had originally projected. This is for several reasons, including the Grand Slam success of our men’s national team in the 2023 Six Nations.
“Our income was down compared to last year, primarily due to a Government grant received the previous year relating to Covid. Like any organisation, the Union is very aware of inflationary pressures, and we continue to focus on the generation of income to offset this pressure, allowing us to continue investing back into the game.”
“Additional funding from Sport Ireland has allowed us to assist our clubs further with initiatives to make their facilities more energy efficient, to provide specialist equipment, and fund essential new roles that would otherwise have increased our deficit. We are extremely appreciative of this support from Sport Ireland.”
IRFU CEO Kevin Potts said: “It is essential for us as a governing body to live within our means and still ensure that the game is thriving throughout our four provinces. While we are reporting a deficit today, it is much smaller than anticipated, thanks to prudent financial management, the Men’s Grand Slam win and the availability of extra funding.
This current financial year, however, will be more challenging for the IRFU with significant costs associated with Rugby World Cup together with the loss of income from our regular November internationals. We must continue to operate in a manner that ensures the sustainability of the game at all levels.”
Gender Balance On Target
At the AGM, four new provincial representatives were elected on to the Union Committee, another significant milestone in the IRFU’s plan to achieve 40% gender balance before the end of the year.
Speaking about these changes, IRFU CEO Kevin Potts adds, “As an organisation we moved swiftly to ensure that we will be in a position to achieve a 40% gender balance as requested by Government and Sport Ireland.
We are pleased today, to welcome on to the Union Committee an additional four women, Grainne Carroll, Diane Nixon, Josephine Feehily, and Regina Moran, all representing their provinces. With each of them having contributed to rugby on a personal basis or through their professional lives, we are extremely fortunate to now have their expertise alongside our current delegates.
We look forward to them joining the IRFU Committee, which is made up entirely of volunteers who are passionate about driving all aspects of rugby in Ireland forward. At the next meeting in December, we will approve an additional three co-opted female members thereby reaching the 40% gender balance on the Union Committee for the first time. This will be a very welcome and positive milestone for our sport.”