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Munster CEO: We need to have crowds

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Thomond Park. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

Thomond Park. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Thomond Park. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

Munster Rugby chief executive Ian Flanagan has warned that the province will continue to lose out on the vast majority of its income as long as the sport is played behind closed doors.

Munster are now in their fourth month without any match-day income, and this will continue even when the sport returns on August 22 with interprovincial derbies at an empty Aviva Stadium.

"The financial challenges are extensive," he said. "Match-day income from ticketing, hospitality, merchandise has stopped dead since our last game at Thomond Park.

"When we get back to playing games behind closed doors it's a step on the road back to normal, but it's nowhere near revenues as normal because we absolutely need to be playing games in front of our supporters for that to happen," Flanagan concluded.

Confirmed

Flanagan confirmed that the league currently plans to start the 2020/'21 season on the first weekend in October.

That could be pushed back if talks on a global season are successful, while the league could even expand to 18 teams with South Africa's four Super Rugby sides believed to be considering a move to the tournament.

Munster have concluded their review of their anti-doping education procedures in the wake of the James Cronin case and Flanagan says they are happy to welcome the prop back into the fold.

Cronin served a one-month ban after testing positive for two banned corticosteroids after his side's draw with Racing 92 last November. The suspension started and finished during the shutdown.

Also, former Munster hooker and coach Jerry Flannery has joined Harlequins as a lineout coach.