IRFU hits back in free-to-air row

IRFU hits back in free-to-air row

The IRFU has hit back in the furore regarding the effect of free-to-air television on the finances of the union.

"Following comments made to the Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Energy and Natural Resources earlier today, the IRFU reiterates its position...that a very real threat exists to the security and financing of the game at all levels if there is any change to the ability of the IRFU to negotiate on an unrestricted basis with broadcasters," the IRFU said in a statement.

"It is erroneous to suggest that the IRFU is overstating the financial threat to the game in Ireland if changes are made to the broadcasting legislation.

"The figures of between €10m - €12m are based on expert calculations centered on the contracts existing between the IRFU, the Six Nations and ERC.

"These show that between the Six Nations and the Heineken Cup, the IRFU receives €16m per annum from the centrally negotiated TV contracts while the Irish TV markets for the combined tournament are valued at €5m.

"It is misleading for commentators to make statements suggesting that these figures are overstated and the IRFU believes that any such statements should be based on fact."

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