Restructured Thomond payments ‘huge boost’, says Munster CEO

Munster Rugby announced a deficit of €0.8m at the Branch’s AGM last night, but delegates heard some encouraging news for the province in the form of a restructured repayment plan of its loan from the IRFU for the redevelopment of Thomond Park.

Munster’s financial controller, Philip Quinn, revealed the cash-flow deficit for the year ending June 30, 2013, a reduction from last year’s shortfall for the 12 months of just over €1m as Branch delegates gathered in the UL Bohemian’s clubhouse at Thomond Park for the AGM.

Quinn’s objective is to achieve a financial break even position in 2015-16 and the forecast for the year ending June 30, 2014 continues the slow march to that target with a projected deficit of €0.6m.

Quinn said the Branch has given itself some wiggle room by re-negotiating the remaining balance of just over €9.8m of the €11.7m loan it borrowed from the IRFU for the 2008 redevelopment of its 26,500-seater stadium and there was further hope that more assistance from the governing body was in the pipeline.

“We have been in negotiations with the IRFU for some years on our loan commitments to Thomond Park,” Quinn told the Irish Examiner. “We were in an agreement to pay €1m a year at the moment. That has beenrestructured now to mean Munsteronly pay €100,000 a year. The deal was originally until 2017, but has now been extended to 2027.

“This has given us a lot more freedom. We are also looking for a grant similar to Connacht. The extra million Connacht got this year from the IRFU is something we have been in discussions with the IRFU about. I am not at liberty to say what the exact details are on that at present, but it will make a big difference in our deficit.”

Munster chief executive Garrett Fitzgerald described the restructured repayments as a “huge boost” for the province.

“I think the IRFU has a very practical approach to the wholefinancial structure,” Fitzgerald said. “They were in quite a similar situation themselves having paid off the Aviva (Stadium redevelopment) and all the money they would have had on deposits themselves and available was all used up. So it was easy for them to understand our situation, given it was quite similar to where we were, albeit on a much smaller scale.

“I think they took a very practical, rugby-orientated decision towards it.

“It’s a huge boost for our cashflow situation and we very much appreciate the assistance the IRFU have offered.”

On the day Ulster revealed a naming rights deal with long-term sponsor Kingspan for its Ravenhill ground in Belfast, Fitzgerald said Munster were still reviewing whether to chase a similar deal for Thomond Park.

“It’s one of the areas that we’re looking at and no decision whatsoever has been taken in any area on that.”

Meanwhile, Munster stalwart James Coughlan was officially unveiled as a Pau player having left for France’s D2. Also heading to Pau from Munster is assistant performance analyst Elliott Corcoran, who will be Head Performance Analyst at the club.


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