IRFU agree new management structure

IRFU chiefs have agreed a new management structure, with special committees to oversee four key areas - finance, the professional game, the domestic game and commercial/marketing.

The union's top management committee will drive policy, currently a role carried out in part by the IRFU Officer Group on an informal basis.

New IRFU president John Quilligan told yesterday's annual meeting of the union's council the new administrative model would move the IRFU forward to address the challenges of governing the game of rugby in Ireland in the context of a rapidly evolving professional sporting environment.

To ensure continuity, the chairman of the management committee, who will be independent of the branches or clubs, will be appointed by the IRFU committee for a three-year period, subject to annual review. Likewise, the chairmen of the four key standing committees will also be appointed for a three-year period, albeit on a staggered basis, again to ensure continuity.

Quilligan, from Garryowen, enriches an outstanding family contribution to Irish rugby by assuming the office.

At 46, he is one of the youngest ever to hold the highest post in Irish rugby and he follows in the footsteps of his father Kevin, who was president in 1978-79.

John and Kevin Quilligan are the fourth father and son combination to be president of the IRFU, the last family to hold the distinction being Noel F (1960/61) and Noel A (1998/99) Murphy from Cork Constitution.

At last night's meeting, honorary treasurer John Lyons reported a deficit for the year of €3.6 million, €1.1 million less than anticipated - the savings being largely accounted for by the extended runs of Munster and Leinster in the Heineken Cup.

On the issue of the national stadium, chief executive Philip Browne said that "the IRFU needs clarity on the matter and we need it quickly".

Officers elected: president: J Quilligan; senior vice president: B Keogh; junior vice president: A Crawford; honorary treasurer: J Lyons; chairman of management committee: J Hussey; IRB representatives: N Murphy, S Miller.

Branch representative to IRFU committee: C Fitzgerald, C Quaid, B Glynn, J Smith, P Fitzgerald, F Crowley, N Jackson, C Watson.

Elected members to the IRFU committee: P Boyle, B McConkey, J Callaghan, D Glass, C Powell, D Healy.

Irish Exiles representative to IRFU committee: F McLoughlin.

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