The IRFU Have Given The Provinces A Stark Ultimatum

Leo Cullen and Paul O'Connell lead the teams out28/5/2011

Get creative and start generating more cash.

If only it was that easy. The reality is however, this is what the four provinces, along with the rest of the PRO12 must start doing in order to compete with the rising power of English and French clubs, or face the reality of being left behind.

At the launch of its annual report, Irish Rugby Football Union chief executive Peter Browne made it clear to all PRO12 teams. – French and English teams are throwing money around, and they’re only getting started.

“The size and quality of the playing squads that these clubs can assemble from around the world has changed the balance of power in Europe to the detriment of our Provinces and the IRFU who simply cannot match the playing budgets of these teams.”

Browne believes there is scope for the provinces to increase gate receipts and matchday takings but has called on the PRO12 to increase revenue streams. There has been talk of the Irish provinces using the Aviva Stadium for day of inter-pros, similar to the ‘Judgement Day’ model that has proved successful for Welsh outfits at the Principality Stadium.

“It is becoming increasingly clear that the professional game in Ireland can no longer rely on the IRFU being the ‘lender of last resort’ as the IRFU no longer has the capacity to absorb the increasing cost of the professional game as Irish Rugby struggles to respond to the inflating player market in England and France.

“The risks to the Irish professional game are potentially profound.”

You heard it. Every union for itself. Time to buck up or face being left behind.

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