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13th Apr 2023

“Who gives a f**k about women’s rugby?”: Extreme sexism uncovered within the IRFU

Players left out of team meetings..

The IRFU has been linked to an “old boys club” following an investigation into sexism towards the women’s rugby players taken on by The Telegraph.

After an intense investigation, The Telegraph’s found some worrying evidence of extreme sexism and deep-rooted misogyny within the IRFU.

She reported that a prominent member in the organisation said: “Who gives a f**k about women’s rugby” at a presidential dinner last month.

Apparently that person is a former top man in Leinster Rugby.

This comment was made during a speech made by IRFU president, John Robinson at the dinner but is only emerging now.

He spoke about the developments within the women’s game.

The Telegraph also reported that there are major issues within the organisation in relation to the team selection process.

It’s been mentioned that some players have been purposely left out of team emails with some not even being told they had been dropped for a match.

Ireland players were also denied protein during last year’s Japan tour.

The Telegraph also reported that Ireland players were not properly consulted about the IRFU’s decision to change the colour of their playing shorts.

Only a few weeks ago, it was announced that the team were changing their white shorts to navy due to period concerns.

The investigation claims this was nothing but a “PR stunt” as some of the players only learned about the news through social media.

Another shocking revelation discovered during the investigation was that the Ireland players were refused the idea of “hybrid contracts”.

Apparently, this was a specific request from players that wasn’t explored at all by the organisation.

Their opinion towards the players’ contracts was “full-time or nothing”.

There is no inclusion.

This is a deep-seated problem in the IRFU’s attitude towards women’s rugby and highlight’s how far we have to come as a society in terms of encouraging and developing women’s sports from the inside out.

John Cronin, the current director of rugby at Dublin-based Railway Union RFC, one of Ireland’s most successful and progressive rugby clubs told The Telegraph that the problems are due to the IRFU’s “archaic governance and structure”.

He said: “An old-boys culture tends to pervade the organisation that can be quite hostile to women’s rugby”.

He also explained that inclusion means “including those who represent women’s rugby” and that’s not what the IRFU is doing.

The IRFU has denied these claims and said they are “objectively untrue”.

They’ve insisted that they have invested millions into the women’s game so that it can grow at professional level and on a community level.

According to The Telegraph, the IRFU said: “We have seen consistent growth in participation of women and girls, testament to the work going on across the country to attract more females to the game.

“The IRFU has a dedicated Women’s Committee and Women’s Advisory Group, who are tasked with overseeing the growth of participation by women and girls in the game.”

The IRFU took this time to point out that it has employed a head of women’s performance and a head of equity, diversity and inclusivity.

It also said that it wants to have 40% female representation on its committee by the end of this year.

You can read the full investigation here.

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