Following a Board Meeting in Cardiff on Monday, 23 August, Celtic Rugby can reveal a new management structure and new independent chairman to build on the substantial success that it has achieved with the Magners League…

The former Scotland and British & Irish Lions international Andy Irvine, who is currently Chairman of the British & Irish Lions Committee and a former President of the Scottish Rugby Union, will become Celtic Rugby’s first independent Chairman.

He will take over on 1 September, in time for the launch of the 10th season of tournaments organised by Celtic Rugby two days later. He will replace John Hussey, of the Irish Rugby Union, who has acted as Celtic Rugby chairman for the past seven years.

“As the Magners League prepares to expand through the introduction of two Italian teams to join the 10 clubs from Ireland, Scotland and Wales, I am delighted the Celtic Rugby Board has recognised there is a growing need to support the Tournament’s expansion,” said the outgoing chairman, John Hussey.

“Last season saw the highly successful introduction of a Play-Off system and Grand Final to determine our champions and the changes agreed by the Board are aimed at continuing to shape the ever growing reputation of the Tournament.

”Having a man of the calibre of Andy Irvine to take over from me is a real statement of intent from the Celtic Rugby Board and all the changes we have agreed will help support the growth of the Magners League product and our 12 clubs.”

In addition to the appointment of Andy Irvine as a non-voting Chairman at the head of an eight-man Board of Directors, John Feehan has been appointed Chief Executive of Celtic Rugby following the re-structuring of the Magners League organisation.

This means the tournament will now be managed out of the same Dublin office in charge of both the RBS 6 Nations Championship and the British & Irish Lions. These major and bold initiatives were all approved at a Celtic Rugby Board Meeting held in Cardiff in the day.

Feehan, who is currently Chief Executive of both the 6 Nations and British & Irish Lions, will head up a team that will include 10 permanent members of staff, including the long-standing Tournament Director, David Jordan.

Celtic Rugby was born in 2001 when the then Celtic League was launched. There were nine Welsh, four Irish and two Scottish teams involved in the inaugural campaign and, as Celtic Rugby prepares to enter its 10th anniversary season, the Magners League will grow to 12 teams with the inclusion for the first time of two Italian franchises, Aironi Rugby and Benetton Treviso.

The tournament has taken huge strides both commercially and in on field quality since that first game between Bridgend and Pontypridd on 17 August, 2001. Last season the inaugural Magners League Grand Final at RDS, Dublin, between the Ospreys and Leinster was a sell-out occasion that featured 14 British & Irish Lions.

The vast improvement in the standard of both domestic and international rugby in the three Celtic countries since the Magners League was formed has led to Wales winning two Grand Slams, Ireland one and four major European titles, including three Heineken Cups, being won by teams from the tournament.

Now, in an effort to allow the competition to further grow and develop, the Board has put in place this new structure with the competition being run from the Irish capital.

The structure of the new organisation will include a Board of eight voting members (two from each participating Union) plus the CEO, Tournament Director and the Finance Director in a non-voting capacity. The Board will also have a non-voting Chairman to ensure that overall the well-being of the competition remains the primary focus.

“I consider that this latest episode in the Magners League’s history will reaffirm the importance of this competition in European rugby. I wish John and his team the very best of luck in further developing what I believe is already a dynamic and engaging tournament,” added Hussey.

New Celtic Rugby Chief Executive, John Feehan, declared: “It is my desire to do everything I can to see the Magners League competition reach its fullest potential. Not only do I believe that the competition can be pushed further, I think that my team and I are uniquely qualified and ideally situated to make that a reality.

“The taking on of the Magners League will undoubtedly pose a few challenges, but I know I speak for all of us in saying that we are ready to face them and are looking forward to getting involved with the game at club level.”

The 2010 /11 Magners League campaign kicks-off on Friday, 3 September with matches at Ravenhill between Ulster and reigning champions the Ospreys and Firhill Arena, where Glasgow Warriors will host Leinster.

*Meanwhile, Celtic Rugby is pleased to announce that Italian Pay-DTT broadcaster, Dahlia TV, will be showing live Magners League games played in Italy next season.

Established in January 2009 taking over the Telecom Italia Media Pay-DTT business and the related football rights and bandwidth contracts, Dahlia TV is the second largest player in the Italian Pay-DTT market, their signal covering 90% of the Italian population.



BBC ALBA will be the exclusive broadcaster for live Magners League rugby in Scotland for the next four years, continuing until the 2013/14 season. Their package will provide live coverage of at least eight Edinburgh or Glasgow Warriors home games per season.
BBC ALBA has teamed up with Irish and Welsh broadcasters to also provide live coverage of selected away matches for both sides. Coverage of home matches will be provided on Friday nights.
Commentary will be in Gaelic along with expert pitchside analysis and interviews in English.

BBC ALBA is available on Sky 168 and Freesat 110, with each rugby match being made available live and on 7-day catch-up via BBC iPlayer.
For further information on BBC ALBA visit

BBC Cymru Wales

BBC Sport Wales provides comprehensive coverage of the Magners League in both Welsh and English across its services.
On BBC Two Wales fans can enjoy live games on Friday evenings in Scrum V Live, presented by Gareth Lewis with commentary from Gareth Charles and Jonathan Davies. Digital viewers can press the red button during games for extra commentaries including the Fan Scene with Rick O’Shea.
On Sunday evenings on BBC Two Wales the Scrum V team offers Magners League fans extensive highlights, previews and analysis on all the action. Fans can also catch up with all the latest rugby news on BBC Radio Wales’ Scrum V Radio on Thursday evenings from 7.00pm.
Comprehensive coverage, including reports, updates and commentaries are carried during the year on both BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru.

BBC Two Wales is available in Wales on Freeview channel 2, digital satellite (Sky and Freesat) 102, and Virgin 102. Outside Wales BBC Two Wales is available on digital satellite channel 991.
BBC Radio Wales is available across Wales on 93.9-95.9, 103.7,103.9 FM and 882 MW (mid Wales 1125, Clwyd 657). The station is also available on Freeview 719 and digital satellite 0117.
BBC Radio Cymru is available in Wales on 92.4-96.1, 96.8, 103.5-105 FM and is also available on digital satellite 0154 and Freeview 720

BBC Northern Ireland

BBC Northern Ireland has secured the broadcasting rights for live coverage of Magners League rugby for the next four seasons and all Ulster’s home matches, as well as those away to the other Irish provinces, will be screened live on BBC Two NI.
The rest of Ulster’s away matches will be available to watch live either via the red button or online via the BBC Sport NI website – – if they are being covered by our partner broadcasters in Scotland, Wales and Italy.
Coverage will be presented by Stephen Watson, with Jim Neilly and Ryan Constable in the commentary box.


RTÉ Television is set to broadcast up to 40 live Magners League games this season as part of its comprehensive rugby coverage. RTÉ Sport will be broadcasting alongside TG4, ensuring Irish audiences will be able to enjoy the Irish provinces in action every week.
RTÉ’s renowned rugby panel of Tom McGurk, George Hook, Brent Pope and Conor O’Shea will be joined by some new faces as part of the live coverage on RTÉ Two. Ryle Nugent, Tony Ward, George Hamilton, Ralph Keyes, Hugh Cahill and Donal Lenihan will provide the commentary.

RTÉ will also offer fans live streaming of matches on www.RTÉ.ie within the island of Ireland, a catch up service on the RTÉ Player and coverage on RTÉ Radio.


S4C is one of the UK’s premier sports broadcasters. The Channel’s flagship rugby show Y Clwb Rygbi has live coverage of the Magners League almost every week throughout the season.
Viewers can access English subtitles and English-language commentary of live Magners League games is available on the red button on Sky. The programmes are presented by one of the UK’s strongest rugby presentation teams.
The team includes presenters Gareth Roberts, Sarra Elgan and Arthur Emyr, commentators Huw Llywelyn Davies, Wyn Gruffydd, Lyn Davies and Cennydd Davies and analysts such as former internationals Gwyn Jones, Brynmor Williams, Derwyn Jones and Gareth Edwards.

S4C is available in Wales on Sky 104, Freeview 4, Virgin 167, Freesat 104. In England, Scotland and Northern Ireland it is available on Sky 134 and Freesat 120. Much of the coverage is also available to view on line, at


TG4 will provide comprehensive coverage on each of the 22 Magners League weekends. Full match coverage and analysis each weekend will track the progress of the Irish provinces, home and away.
Match commentary will come from Gearóid Mac Donncha and Gary Mac Donncha, and there will be previews and full match coverage featuring all the latest enhancements , as well as half-time and post match analysis and interviews with players and coaches.
In addition to hosting live coverage from the grounds in Ireland, TG4’s rugby offering will also include the Irish provinces’ away matches.

TG4 is available nationwide on terrestrial television and on all other delivery platforms throughout Ireland (Channel 104 for UPC cable and Sky subscribers in the Republic) on channel 177 for Sky subscribers in Northern Ireland and on channel 877 for ntl: cable subscribers in Belfast.


Launched in March, 2009, Dahlia TV is an Italian pay television network, available on digital terrestrial television, offering 12 thematic Widescreen channels. For more details go to