IRB announces record investment programme

(IRB.COM) Monday 12 May 2008
 IRB announces record investment programme
Spain, along with Namibia and Russia, will benefit from the IRB's record investment programme

The International Rugby Board has today announced details of its £48 million pound strategic investment programme that will fund targeted high performance initiatives in 22 countries over the next four years. This latest investment represents a 20% increase in funding on the previous 2006-2008 cycle and the IRB is confident this will further develop the growth of the game worldwide and increase the competitiveness of Rugby World Cup.

“In August 2005 the IRB entered into a new phase in its evolution through the delivery of an unprecedented 3-year, £30 million Strategic Investment programme. The programme was the manifestation of a revised IRB Strategic Plan for the Game and was focused on high performance investment in around 20 targeted Unions. I am pleased to say the continued success of Rugby World Cup now means we can invest a further £48 million in the Game’s continued development,” said IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset.

“This funding of £48 million is over and above the annual IRB expenditure in the form of annual Union grants, tournament funding and education and training programme expenditure. In total £153 million will be invested in the Game during the 2009-2012 period. It will be primarily financed from the £120 million surplus from Rugby World Cup but will require the IRB to draw over £30 million out of its reserves which highlights the IRB’s commitment to further developing the Game. “

“Since its inception in 2006 the strategic investment programme has succeeded in many areas and it is widely accepted that the performance of many of the developing Unions at RWC 2007 was above expectation and proof that the programme is delivering returns on the investment. The establishment of high performance infrastructures, the employment of high performance managers, coaching staff, strength and conditioning experts, and the start up of new IRB competitions all combined to provide an excellent platform for RWC 2007 preparation.”

“More importantly, a high performance culture has begun to flourish across all the funded Unions, which has laid the foundations for an even greater uplift in performances over the next RWC cycle.”

“A major feature of the 2009-2012 strategic investment programme is the fact that annual expenditure has increased from £10 million to £12 million per year. Another important fact is that there is substantially increased funding for Tier 2 and 3 Unions across high performance initiatives and tournaments. The total of £31,570,000 represents 66% of the total investment programme.”

“Tier 1 funding continues at similar levels on an annual basis as we need the core Unions strong as they provide the platform to grow the Game elsewhere. Argentina is set to benefit with a funding package of £4 million over the next three to four years once it has finalised its governance and operational restructuring. This continues the process of developing Argentina as a Tier 1 Union,” added Mr Lapasset.

2009-2012 Strategic Investment Details

This next phase of the Strategic Investment programme has been extended to a 4-year cycle. This is consistent with the RWC financial cycle and creates a natural alignment with general IRB financial planning and modelling processes. The Unions require as much certainty as possible in their funding. This also allows for a longer period over which the IRB can accurately assess the impact of its investments. The annual strategic investment expenditure has increased from £10 million to £12 million per year.

Russia, Namibia and Spain will now be fully included in the next funding cycle.

New funding initiatives include £1.4 million over the four years to aid the development of a Tier 2 and Tier 3 Union Test match programme that would sit underneath the Tier 1 international matches and tours schedule. The investment programme will also see £1.2 million set aside for rugby development initiatives in the major economic markets of India, China and Mexico. A successful Rugby Sevens tournament in the Pan-American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico in 2011 and the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India in 2010 are part of the aims of this development funding.

Financial highlights

• Annual expenditure is increased from £10 million to £12 million. The total investment of £48 million reflects a 20% per annum increase on the £30 million three-year programme from 2006-2008.
• Tier 1 Union investment is £14 million.
• Tier 2 and 3 Union investment is £18.7 million.
• The Tier 2 and 3 tournaments investment is maintained at previous levels and is £12.9 million.
• A Major Markets Fund of £1.2 million has been created (£300,000 per year)
• Operational funding including High Performance consultancy, Union reviews and audit work is £1.2 million over the period (2.5% of overall expenditure).

Tier 1 Investments

• Investment in individual Tier 1 Unions is maintained at a core £250,000 per annum per Union (£1 million over the four years) and is earmarked for A team, Sevens, women’s and referee development initiatives. Additional funding of £125,000 per annum is allocated to Scotland and Italy for special projects.
• Argentina will receive £4 million over the period (£1.5 million carried over from the 2006-2008 cycle, £1.5 million as a special fund and £1 million in line with Tier 1 investment) once it has finalised its governance and operational restructuring.

Tier 2 and Tier 3 Investments

• When the high performance expenditure of £18.7 million is added to the tournament expenditure for these Unions of £12.9 million the combined expenditure of £31.6 million represents 66% of the overall expenditure.
• Funding for USA, Canada and Romania is increased. USA and Canada will receive £2.5 million over the four years. Romania will receive £2.1 million.
• Funding has also been increased for Japan, Fiji and Samoa to reflect the increased High Performance activities in these Unions. Japan and Fiji will receive £1.9 million. Samoa will receive £2.2 million which includes significant infrastructure investment.
• Tonga is maintained at mid-level funding of £1.05 million.
• There is additional spending at Tier 3 level. Georgia receives a substantial increase with funding of £1.7 million with a significant amount of front-loading to enable infrastructure development during 2009 and 2010.
• Portugal also sees some front-loading in year 1 to enable the development of High Performance infrastructure. It will receive £875,000 over the four years.
• New beneficiaries to the investment programme in Tier 3 are Russia £1.1 million, and Spain and Namibia who will both receive £420,000.