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IRFU And Rugby Players Ireland Agree New Collective Bargaining Agreement

Ireland v Spain: WXV 3 2023

The introduction of the first professional contracts for women back in November 2022 has ensured that they feature prominently in this renewal. ©Christopher Pike/World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images

The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) and Rugby Players Ireland (RPI) are delighted to announce the successful conclusion of their Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) negotiations. The 2019 agreement, the first of its kind in the northern hemisphere, has been updated to reflect enhanced benefits available for all contracted rugby players in Ireland.

The introduction of the first professional contracts for women’s XVs back in November 2022 has ensured that they feature prominently in this renewal.

One of the cornerstones of the agreement is the enhancement and support of the Player Development Programme, highlighting a commitment to holistic player development beyond the playing field. This comprehensive approach underlines the importance of both physical and personal development for players, setting the stage for a well-rounded and successful career in rugby.

Another additional feature of this agreement sees academy players benefit from an uplift in pay, acknowledging the importance of nurturing and protecting Ireland’s emerging rugby talent.

Additional highlights of the new Collective Agreement:

  • Upgrade in insurance coverage ensuring improved protection for all players.
  • Tailored media guidelines for respective squad groups.
  • Establishment of players’ right to fully disconnect during leave periods.
  • College relocation costs.
  • Improved sick pay provisions.
  • Clear maternity and paternity policies.
  • Recognition of changing player image properties.
  • Tailored break periods for Sevens players.
  • Defined structure on disciplinary processes.
  • Provision of psychological care.

Simon Keogh, CEO of Rugby Players Ireland, expressed his satisfaction with the collaborative process, stating, “This agreement is a testament to the ongoing spirit of collaboration between the IRFU and Rugby Players Ireland. While we feel it addresses the needs of players at all professional levels, we also believe it safeguards the future of Irish rugby by placing a strong emphasis on inclusivity, equality, and player welfare.”

Kevin Potts, CEO of the IRFU, echoed these sentiments, emphasising the importance of the partnership. “Rugby in Ireland is in a strong place on the back of Grand Slam successes by our men’s national and under 20 teams, our women’s national team recently winning the inaugural WXV3 tournament and both of our Sevens teams qualifying for the Paris Olympics.

“This agreement reflects the progress of the game and helps us protect it for future generations. Player welfare is of the utmost importance for the IRFU, so it is imperative that this agreement protects the integrity of that programme. Our current model works well, so this process has been more about refining as there is a solid foundation to build upon.”

“I would like to thank Simon and his team in Rugby Players Ireland for their engagement throughout this process and we look forward to continued collaboration in the best interests of the game.”