Rugby Incomes under Threat

Incomes per year:

English premiership?   Salary cap £4 million

Irish Rugby ? 36 million

Leinster ?  4 million

Munster ?  4 million

France:

Albi ? 8.7 million – relegated from Top 14

Montauban ?10.3 million ? relegated from Top 14

Perpignon ?12.4 million

Biarritz ?14.4 million

Racing Metro in Paris 16 million

Brive ?16 million

Toulon ?17 million (Jonny Wilkinson, Filipe Contepomi)

Clermont Auvergne ?19 million

State Francais ?21 million

Toulouse ?28.1 million

According to the IRFU, if Minister Ryan goes ahead and makes the Heineken Cup involving Irish teams free to air the loss to the IRFU will be ?12 million or 18% of income. This will not be replaced by advertising and will destroy the pool arrangement with the other Rugby Unions.

The above figures will tell you laud and clear that the provinces will be destroyed by such an eventuality and that there is a huge risk to Irish rugby from French wealth. All Irish teams are in transition at the moment due to the ageing star factor and every asset has to be used to get replacements trained through the Academy systems and also to import key personnel. They have given me great feelings since 1999 and I am very grateful to the players for this. There bravery and skill has been magnificent. I remember when I wondered would Ireland ever beat England again. Remember when the Italian-Irish Englishman Dallaglio said that England should not bother with the Celtic nations that they should really only play the SANZAR teams because Ireland etc were too weak. Well four-in-a-row has laid that to rest Mr Lawrence!

I don?t care if the government grant aided our team, the League of Ireland and all the inter-county GAA teams also. Sport lifts the people and has become the heartbeat of the nation. If Ryan wants to cut the sports incomes, let the government replace the money.

I know that the Heineken Cup final involving Munster had an audience on TV of 532,000 and that the Sky version involving Leinster only had 119,000. It is obvious that the H Cup has made French teams beatable. During the previous era, Leinster and Munster would be hard pressed to beat Llanelli or Cardiff. Now???

Ryan?s position on children, social class, geography and the Australian experience is correct and the money will over-ride that if it is not replaced. Lets not risk a mess Minister. If Ryan does this, I hope Fine Gael objects to the EU and also changes the regulations when the government changes. If the UK, also made the latter stages of the Heineken Cup free to air on television then it is doable but if the Republic of Ireland is alone then No Sir.

The fundamental point is that our teams must be allowed be maximally competitive. Leinster without Brian O?Driscoll, Gordon Darcy, Rob Kearney, Jamie Heaslip, Leo Cullen, Luke Fitzgerald etc and Munster without Paul O?Connell, Doncha O?Callaghan, ROG, David Wallace, Keith Earls etc would not have competed at the very top level. So we need the money. The Irish public has got great value for the sports investments made either directly through Croke Park or Lansdowne or through the player tax breaks.

My Message ? Ryan ? Get off the Pitch. I neither vote for you nor pay to see you play!

David Kelly in the Irish Independent dubbed Eamon Ryan ?The Minister for Condescending Piety?. Spot On!