Go HERE to view the thread.
Mr Browne will address questions relating to the Consultative Document, Taking Irish Rugby Forward, which was published by the IRFU's Strategic Planning Group in July 2003 as part of the public consultation process on the future of the game in Ireland. Mr Browne will undertake 3 separate on-line sessions over 3 weeks with each one focussing on a different aspect of the Consultative Document.
Making the announcement Mr Browne said: "We want to facilitate rugby supporters gaining a full understanding of the game in Ireland and the factors affecting its development in the modern era. We are a small rugby nation competing head on with the big boys; our position is compounded by the fact that rugby is only the 4th most popular field sport after Gaelic, Hurling and Soccer. If Irish rugby supporters have a common understanding of our sport then we can work collectively towards being successful and making it all the more enjoyable for supporters, clubs, players, schools, coaches and administrators alike."
He added: "There are now over 18,000 copies of the 68 page document in circulation, it makes sense to offer people an opportunity to clarify any issues they may have relating to it before they submit their responses on the consultative process to the Strategic Planning Group. The web-site is the best medium as it allows easy and direct access for so many people."
The IRFU's web-site, www.irishrugby.ie, was established in November 2001 and has almost 17,000 registered members. A key facility on the web-site is the 'message-board' which boasts over 32,000 messages on some 5,488 topics exercising the minds of the Irish on-line rugby community. The message-board averages some 18,000 visits a month, generating 80,000 page views. This is expected, to rise to 30,000 visits and 100,000 page views during the Rugby World Cup in October and November.
How Will It Work?
The main objective of the on-line sessions is to facilitate people who may have queries about aspects of the consultative document. In order to make the most efficient use of the time available, members of the public will be invited to submit questions a few days in advance with the answers posted to the message board section of the web-site on a designated day.
1) The first round of questions will address the domestic game comprising all aspects of amateur rugby including schools, clubs, coaches and referees. Questions on this aspect of Irish rugby will be accepted through a designated 'thread' on the message-board of the irishrugby.ie web-site from Friday 12th with answers posted on Tuesday 16th September.
2) The second area for questions will be the professional game encompassing the national team, the provincial teams, the role of the professional game in providing a financial surplus for the rest of the sport, etc. Questions on this aspect of Irish rugby will be accepted through a designated 'thread' on the message-board of the irishrugby.ie web-site from Thursday 18th with answers posted on Monday 22nd September.
3) The final session will address the other key action areas detailed in the consultative document including facilities (to include stadium issues) and the commercial and marketing development of Irish rugby. Questions on this aspect of Irish rugby will be accepted through a designated 'thread' on the message-board of the irishrugby.ie web-site from Tuesday 30th September with answers posted on Thursday 2nd October.
Following the conclusion of the consultative process in October the IRFU's Strategic Planning Group will review the feedback and then prepare a strategic plan to take the game forward to the 2007 Rugby World Cup and beyond. This plan will be published in early 2004.