Philip Browne: no pay cut inpho

The IRFU, which recently announced a major increase in the price of tickets for its forthcoming autumn internationals, has refused to say how much it pays its chief executive, Philip Browne.

But the rugby union, which cited the need to generate funds for the game as among the reasons for the price increases, confirmed it has not sought a pay cut from Browne or other staff this year in order to cut its wage bill.

According to the union's most recent accounts, it had an overall wage and pensions bill of €1.77m this year. This compares with €2.419m during the 2008/2009 season and €2.2m in 2007/2008.

It said the reduction in its wage and pensions bill this year was due to a "cost- review process" the organisation had undertaken.

This included a number of reductions in administrative staff and also resulted in a credit in its pension scheme.

"The IRFU does not divulge the individual salaries of any of its employees, whether they are professional players or administrative staff. There have been no pay cuts and there have been no salary increases," the spokesman said when asked how much Browne earns.

"The contracts and salaries for professional players are also confidential but as in all professional sport, contracts for players go up and down depending on the stage of their careers. These player costs are included in the professional game expenditure as opposed to the salary and pensions figures."

Earlier this month, the union revealed that fans wishing to buy a ticket for any one of the autumn internationals must also purchase the same ticket for the other three games at a cost of €340.

It also revealed there has been a 250% increase, from €10 to €35, for a schoolboy ticket when compared with previous ticket prices.

The decision provoked a barrage of criticism, with former Irish rugby captain Keith Wood describing the price of tickets as "incredibly expensive".

However, the IRFU defended the move, arguing that the increased price of tickets reflects the "enhanced offering" to patrons in the new stadium, as well as the need to produce a financial surplus that is then fully distributed throughout all levels of the game.