Ulster Rugby to be Nationalised.
The FRU can confirm that after faltering performances Ulster Rugby is to be nationalised.
The government will take control of the teams training and tactics, while UR’s Credit Card will be bought by Spain’s Santander.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the move showed the government would “do whatever it takes to ensure the stability of the UK’s and Ireland’s greatest team”.
The Treasury said taxpayers were being protected from any embarrassing losses.
The move came on another eventful day of global rugby turmoil:
* Dragons, the fourth-largest WRU team, was bought by larger rival Ospreys in a rescue deal backed by WRU authorities
* Munster was partially nationalised by the Pacific Island governments to ensure their players get a game
* The Scottish government took control of the country’s largest team, Edinburgh, after the company had faced short-term winning problems
* Shares in Europe and Asia fell sharply, while in D4 Leinster Rugby supporters voted on a $700bn (£380bn) plan which aims to bail out Brown Thomas and ease the credit crisis.
“Following recent turbulence in global rugby fields, Ulster Rugby has found itself under increasing pressure as sponsors and supporters lost confidence in its ability to carry on as an independent institution,” said the Treasury.
It added that the move would protect sponsors’ money and that The Ulster Branch, call centres and internet operations would “be open for business as usual to provide continuity of service to customers”.
FRU business editor Robin B’Astard said it was a good deal for supporters, and that the risk of another defeat was “quite close to nil”.
Under UR’s nationalisation, supporters are being protected from any losses because of the Financial Services Scoring Scheme.
“For Ulster Rugby to lose is unthinkable as the Government will adjust the scores to assure a win” continued FRU business editor Robin B’Astard.