International rugby squad players could earn of £100,000 under deal


SOME members of Ireland's international rugby squad will earn a possible £100,000 this season following contract agreement reached between the IRFU and the players' representatives. Payments to squad members will cost the IRFU £650,000.

However, only members of the national squad who play at provincial level and also sign with an English league club will be in a position to take advantage of the higher sums available.

A player involved in all six international matches this season would earn £28,500.

The IRFU executive committee agreed the terms worked out between the players' representatives, Mr Denis Me Bride, Mr Philip Danaher and Mr Brendan Mullin, and the union sub committee, Mr Billy Lavery, Mr Eddie Coleman and the union's honorary treasurer, Mr Bobby Deacy.

The deal embraces match fees, appearance money, win bonuses for the International Championship matches and fees for promotional activities. In addition, there is retrospective payments for those who appeared in the match against Fiji last November and a fee for those who play against the United States in Atlanta today.

Each member of the 30 man squad will receive a basic payment of £7,500. There is a match fee of £1,000 per player for the 21 players involved in each championship match and an additional £2,000 per man for the players in each championship match.

There will be an incentive bonus of £500 for each competition point - two points for a win, one for a draw - gained in championship matches.

So apart from the basic payment of the £7,500 for squad membership, each player in a winning championship match will earn £4,000.

Were Ireland to win all four championship matches it will mean a player who plays in all games will earn £16,000 in addition to his squad membership fee of £7,500 Those who have also played against Fiji and the US will get another £3,000.

There is also £60,000 for promotional activities which will probably be divided among the 30 squad members, bringing each an additional £2,000. A player involved in all six matches this season could earn £28,500.

Even if Ireland did not manage to gain a point in the championship this season, a player involved in all six matches will earn £24,000. Apart from these earnings and the promotional fees, provision has also been made for the squad to generate further funds through sponsorship arrangements with firms other than those involved in the main IRFU sponsors hips.

Those involved at interprovincial as well as international level will also receive additional payments from their provincial branches, and the IRFU has already authorised such payments.

For a player in the Ireland team who has signed with an English League Club - and a few have already done so for £50,000 per annum - earnings can reach almost £80,000 per year.

If that player is allowed to play for his province in the European Cup, the money earned for playing the game could amount to almost £100,000 per year.

However, with the top four English clubs in Europe next season and others going into an Anglo Welsh Cup, release to play at provincial level in Ireland could prove difficult. But there will likely be incentives from their clubs for success in the cup competitions.

There was satisfaction among the Ireland squad here with the terms. Terry Kingston, who captained Ireland in the World Cup and is the senior member of the squad said: "It was not easy putting everything in place. This is all new to union and players. But I think both sides have been fair."

The Ireland manager, Pat Whelan, who took no direct part in the negotiations said: "I am very pleased this issue is now out of the way."