The Financial Dangers of Sport

RFU Plight Worrying For Rugby

BY Paul Collins 09:45 Wednesday 28 November 2018, 9:45 28 Nov 2018

Eddie Jones

Mixed emotions for the Irish rugby community this week.

One the one hand a clear sweep of the World Rugby awards in Monaco, but the following day Joe Schmidt announces his intention to depart.

An historic year though and one that was a big money spinner for the IRFU who reported a 1.2 million euro surplus for 2017/18.

The Grand Slam win for Ireland's men, Champions Cup glory for Leinster and the advancement of Munster to two semi-finals resulted in significant financial improvement for the Union.

In one of the most successful seasons ever recorded for Irish teams, IRFU revenues rose by 9.1 million (to over 85.7 million) with 6.3 million of this increase attributable to the international team and 2 million derived from provincial team activities.

People love a band wagon and when you're winning everyone's laughing, and making a few bob in the process.

Contrast Ireland's position with that of our Six Nations rivals England.

Already grappling with Brexit now the English Rugby Football Union (RFU) has acknowledged changing market conditions as it  revealed a £30.9m loss and the forced redundancy of 54 members of staff.

Losing staff is the worst sign of a crisis.

But also underlines how important winning matches is in the boardroom as much as on the pitch or in the stands.

The RFU said their figures were driven largely by the impact on ticket and broadcasting revenues of fewer home matches at Twickenham Stadium.  

RFU chief executive Steve Brown has announced that he will be leaving his position, for his “own reasons” and not because the RFU is in a bad financial position.

Something also likely to weight the RFU down is the £200m, eight-year agreement it signed with England’s professional rugby clubs, to compensate them for international call-ups.

It's clear Eddie Jones will not only have the pride of the nation at stake when he looks to replicate Clive Woodward's World Cup win next year, the suits will also be hoping to reap financial rewards to help with their money troubles.

Couldn't happen here, could it?!

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