Munster Rugby CEO Calls On Fans To Be Patient
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Munster Rugby CEO Garrett Fitzgerald sat down for a press conference in Castletroy yesterday to address the current state of Munster Rugby.
Many have called for his head along with the current coaching set-up and his answer had an eery tone to it similar to Anthony Foley’s answer when asked the same question the day before.
The situation is you are involved in a business; every day you consider your position,” said Fitzgerald. “Lots of things go on in this job that you look at and you wonder, ‘Am I doing it the right way? Is this the best thing for the organisation?’
“It isn’t as if I considered it this week. The nature of the individual that I am and the way I approach things and the way I feel about an organisation, I could be thinking this every week and it may not be about the team. It could be about facilities, it could be about the club game, it could be about underage interprovincials. Ultimately, I am employed by the IRFU, appointed by the IRFU to be the CEO in Munster.
“We do an annual review every year where there are certain KPIs set out for each CEO. I try my level best to achieve them and to work beyond what those are. To date all my reviews have been satisfactory. Maybe someday someone will say they are not satisfactory, they are not happy with them.
“I am around long enough in this business to know that everyone’s day comes at some stage. That is what happens.
“Have I considered my position? I frequently think about it, but I am positive. I think I am making a contribution, think I can make a contribution and I would be very fast the day I think I am not making a contribution to question myself.”
Fitzgerald took some time to thank the IRFU for their support in financially helping the province with recruitment in recent seasons as they continue to pay off the debt created by building Thomond Park, insisting Munster can still compete financially. He also admitted however that Munster may be forced to sell the naming rights to the famous ground.
Charles Piutau’s transfer to Ulster on a reported €700,000 per season was given as an example of Munster’s financial position with Fitzgerald insisting they still have the power to match their interprovincial rivals.
“Can we compete financially with Ulster… the answer is yes. Could we have competed for him [Piutau]? Yes. So, it’s not an issue, we can compete.”
Regarding Munster’s poor run of form in Europe, Fitzgerald insists the landscape has changed.
“As regards falling off the top of European rugby, that whole scene has changed an awful lot, you know that as well as I do; availability of players, budgets, everything has changed. It is way more competitive than it has been. It is harder to get up to that level.
“But to our supporters I would say you have got to be patient, you have to be realistic and you have got to see what is happening other teams as well. Our ambition is nothing else but to win trophies and that hasn’t changed.
“If very year you don’t, it hurts people every week you lose. Me, personally, I feel it that way.”
Many fans have vented their frustration, insisting that the national team has been given too much preference, suggesting the IRFU have put all their eggs in the one basket which has had detrimental effects on both Munster and Leinster. Fitzgerald confirmed that this was a reality that cannot be changed.
“The provinces don’t fund Irish rugby, so it’s the international rugby game that funds everything in the Irish game. Obviously each of the four professional provinces generate a large proportion of their own money, but never enough – so you need assistance from [the IRFU].
We all want to win and we all want more and we’ve got to do it and do it to the best of our ability, but at the end of the day the national team has to take precedence.
“That’s what funds rugby in Ireland. But I’d love to be playing on Saturday and to be still in the Champions Cup and that hurts everyone. We’ve got to move on and that’s it.”
Fitzgerald went on to say that have been looking for someone to take on the role recently awarded to Andy Farell for the last 3-4 weeks. Interestingly Fitzgerald confirmed that Brian Walsh, Ian Costello, Jerry Flannery and Mick O’Driscoll are all out of contract at the end of the season, before stating that “no discussions” have taken place in regards to their futures.