How Irish will avoid Premiership-style meltdown
NEWS: Ireland’s governing body remains optimistic the country’s four professional provinces won’t fall victim to the financial crisis engulfing the English club game, despite forecasting turbulent times ahead.
Wasps entered administration last month and were suspended from the English Premiership, a week after top-flight rivals Worcester suffered a similar fate.
The Irish Rugby Football Union announced Friday a surplus for the year ended July 31, 2022 of €5.9-million (£5.17-million), but is forecasting deficits for each of the next three years.
Nevertheless, IRFU chief executive Kevin Potts expects Connacht, Leinster, Munster and Ulster to weather the storm.
“I don’t really want to comment on the specific clubs, but it’s really important for professional rugby that you operate with the funds you have with certainty,” he said.
He added: “In professional sport, if you don’t have a sustainable model you are going to run into trouble.
“That [a sustainable model] is what we are determined to ensure is the case here.”
The IRFU said Friday’s results were due mainly to supporters returning to watch Ireland internationals sooner than anticipated following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the receipt in arrears of €18-million in Irish government assistance for COVID-19 income losses, and a €44.6-million cash injection from CVC Capital Partners’ Six Nations deal.
However, CVC’s investment comes at a cost to the IRFU of a permanent 14 percent reduction in future Six Nations and year-end Tests income.
“We are forecasting deficits over the coming three years, but that’s on the expectation that after three years there should be an uplift in broadcast revenues in the next cycle from the Six Nations,” said Potts.
“If that doesn’t happen, we’ll have to look at our cost base again.
“We will live within our means, ourselves and the four provinces, and that’s the key to getting through any of these issues in the future.”