The IRFU wishes to provide an update in relation to review undertaken on matters pertaining to our women’s game.

The review into the changing facilities provided for the teams competing in the Women’s Interprovincial Championship with specific emphasis on the matches played at Energia Park on September 11, 2021 has been completed.

The detailed review, undertaken by IRFU Legal Counsel, Sean Brassil, included interviews with the four team captains and written reports and interviews from/with personnel from each of the four provinces and the IRFU.

The report found that while difficulties posed by the COVID-19 pandemic were significant, they were not determining factors in causing teams to be set up in the wrong area of the stadium resulting in inadequate and unacceptable facilities/conditions for the teams on the day.

Several key issues were identified as contributing to the systems failure including:

  • Ambiguity as to responsibility for the organisation of the final weekend of fixtures for the series.
  • Knock-on confusion as to some of the operational and logistical elements of the event planning on the day.
  • A lack of personnel and resources on the ground to properly manage the weekend fixtures.

As a result, the following specific recommendations have been made and will be implemented:

  1. A new set of guidelines in relation to the running of the Women’s Interprovincial Championship should be prepared to ensure a minimum standard of facilities. To prevent ambiguity, this must identify the roles and responsibilities of each stakeholder, improve information sharing and reporting lines and establish a complaint escalation procedure.
  2. Additional training and support should be provided to event and facilities management staff and volunteers.
  3. To empower player-voice, a dedicated female Liaison Officer should be appointed by the Provincial branches to support and assist players to deal confidentially with any issues they may have in relation to facilities with appropriate authority to address any issues that arise.

Ultimately, these recommendations will lead to the appointment by the IRFU of a single point of responsibility for the delivery of appropriate structures for the women’s interprovincial championships in the future.

Commenting on the report CEO Philip Browne said, “Everyone was appalled by the conditions the players had to endure. From the moment we became aware of the issues we apologised on behalf of all involved and resolved to ensure this would not happen again, I want to strongly echo that commitment once again today.

A significant amount of work went into the delivery of what was a highly entertaining interpro series. However, a series of errors has overshadowed the games, we all take responsibility for such failings and vow to do better by implementing the recommendations of this review.”