IRFU still in talks with World Rugby over relief fund

IRFU still in talks with World Rugby over relief fund

The IRFU are continuing discussions with World Rugby over accessing an international relief fund which was set up to aid national unions during the coronavirus pandemic.

Last month, the global governing body announced a $100m (€92m) package to assist organisations who apply for financial support. Rugby Australia confirmed yesterday that it has received €8.4m in funding to help it through the crisis brought on by the COVID-19 crisis.

The IRFU have not yet received any monies from the relief fund but Irish officials have held talks with WR bosses and are continuing to monitor the situation.

A source explained: “The IRFU has been in contact with World Rugby since it announced various financial measures available to unions. Those discussions continue.”

It is understood that the IRFU can apply for up to €9m - as advances and loans - from the fund.

Irish officials will be hoping for a clearer picture in the weeks ahead of rugby’s chances of a return to play by the autumn and the possibility of hosting games in the Aviva Stadium which are their chief revenue earners.

One area of clarity that emerged on Friday was the confirmation all July internationals have been postponed - Ireland had been due to play two Tests in Australia. However, Australian officials, said they were keen to "host the fixtures later in the year if possible". 

The loss of those games was another huge blow to RA finances which had projected multi-million dollar losses in advance of this crisis. 

RA said the funding from World Rugby would provide it with “certainty” for the next 12 months and allow it to finally sign off on its 2019 accounts after auditors declined to do so in March amid doubts over the future viability of its business. 

“The funding, in combination with the extensive cuts made across the business, provides us with the short-term impetus to see through the pandemic but does not solve all of the challenges,” RA interim Chief Executive Rob Clarke said in a statement. 

“This (postponement of July Tests) was an outcome we were anticipating, and we are planning accordingly to host the fixtures later in the year, if possible, and will continue to work with World Rugby to identify a new window within the international calendar to stage the matches.”

Earlier on Friday, RA said it had appointed former television and media executive Hamish McLennan as a director and chairman-elect

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