The IRFU is also aiming to secure the long term position of Irish rugby at the top of the international rugby community. The plan will be pursued in the context of a responsible financial strategy encompassing revenue growth, balanced budgets and minimal recourse to debt finance.
The IRFU identified three key priorities over the next four years:
1. Becoming a stronger consistent force at the top of professional rugby.
2. Increasing the player base in vibrant schools, clubs, and Universities/colleges.
3. Maximising revenue to invest in Irish rugby.
A key feature of the plan is the identification of clear strategies and goals for each of the sport s key strategic areas, namely: the domestic game; professional game; facilities; commercial programme; marketing of Irish rugby; leadership & management and finance.
Launching the plan, the President of the IRFU, Mr John Quilligan, said: This plan only represents the end of the beginning. It now needs all rugby followers to decide what part they will play in making it a success.
Chairman of the IRFU s Management Committee, Mr John Hussey, said: The strategic plan represents a new level of planning for Irish rugby and is the result of a lengthy period of research, analysis, consultation and change within the IRFU. The plan provides the basis for a new model and strategic dynamic at all levels of the sport in Ireland.
The 45 page plan will be underpinned by detailed operational plansthat will address each strategic heading. The plan will be volunteer led by the Union s elected committee s and professionally implemented by its professional staff.
The plan calls for revamping the structures and ties between the IRFU, four Provincial Branches, 258 secondary schools and 201 clubs, universities and colleges. Addressing the main changes at Branch level Mr Philip Browne, Chief Executive of the IRFU, said:
The Union will devolve itself of certain powers to enable the Branches to assume greater responsibility for their own agenda. Both the professional and domestic sides of the game need to be focused on and we will be assisting the Branches to create new structures at provincial level that delineate clearly between professional and domestic rugby.