Following the publication of its Club Sustainability report earlier this year (see, the Irish Rugby Football Union has been making preparations for the onset of a new era of amateur rugby with the support of Wharton’s Neil Tunnicliffe. Detailed documents have been prepared which include new regulations prohibiting the payment of players below the elite levels; the formulation of new mechanisms and processes to police these; and a set of minimum standards criteria which will govern participation in Ireland’s senior domestic leagues. Briefing documents have also been put together for clubs which outline their current and future responsibilities, and the transition from one to the other – all within an overall project plan which maps the stages required to implement the report’s recommendations in their entirety. It is intended that the new regulations and the entry participation criteria will come into force in September 2014, following an intensive period of club briefings and set-up.

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