IRFU may have to hand over 20 percent of the profit made from the 2023 Rugby World Cup to the WRU
The IRFU would have to give Wales millions if Ireland win the chance to host the Rugby World Cup in 2023, a Welsh media outlet has claimed.
Wales Online claims that as a result of IRFU signing a deal with Welsh Rugby Union in 1998, Ireland would have to give the WRU 20 percent of the profits made from the tournament.
It is the result of a reciprocal agreement the Welsh Rugby Union struck with the French, England, Irish and Scottish unions that enabled Wales to be the main host of the 1999 Rugby World Cup.
In return for backing the WRU seven years ago, the other nations, including Ireland, were allowed to host some of the games and share in the profits generated from the competition.
The deal is understood to have been worth £4m for the IRFU at the time.
The WRU benefited from France's hosting of the world cup in 2007 and the fact that the tournament was played in England last year, by staging a number of games in the tournament including Ireland's victory over Wales and the quarter-final defeat to Argentina.
According to Wales Online, there is a stipulation in the 1998 agreement whereby Ireland would be bound into paying the WRU 20% of the profit made if Ireland beat off competition from France and South Africa and hosted the event.
A copy of that agreement seen by WalesOnline and relating to future RWCs states: “IRFU represents, warrants and undertakes that, in relation to the relevant tournament (regardless of who its hosting partners may be), it will pay to the WRU (or procure the payment to the WRU of) a sum by way of a fee equal to at least 20% of the net financial benefits in relation to such relevant tournament.
“Such sum shall be paid to the WRU within 120 days of the conclusion of the final match of such relevant tournament.”
Ireland's bid for 2023 involves 12 stadia on the island of Ireland and World Rugby has said that games can only take place within one country.
They claim that the final figure of what the IRFU would have to pay to their Welsh counterparts would be a 'significant seven figure sum'.
A statement from the IRFU read: “As is widely known, ahead of the 1999 Rugby World Cup various agreements were entered into between each of the home unions and the FFR (French union) with the WRU around the costs and revenues of the 1999 tournament.
“The IRFU and the WRU will discuss the 1999 agreement, given the dramatic increase in the profile, scale and costs associated with the staging of a Rugby World Cup - which includes a substantial tournament fee of £120m.
“Both unions will continue to work together in a spirit of cooperation, to ensure the support of their mutual interests, but without affecting Ireland’s bid to host RWC 2023.
"World Rugby has already stipulated that it wishes unions bidding to host RWC 2023 to only include venues within its territory, and this is also in keeping with the objective of the IRFU and both governments [of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland).”