The Rugby Football Union has laid bare the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on its finances after revealing an estimated loss of revenue of £ 120million.
There was also a stern warning in the English rugby governing body’s annual report that it will take “a number of years” to recover from losses suffered in the year until June 2021. The RFU depends on hosting matches and events at Twickenham for 85 percent of its revenue, but the matches were largely held behind closed doors during that 12-month period. Reported RFU turnover was £ 97million, up from £ 167million the previous year, with a further underlying reserve loss of £ 21.3million to £ 30million sterling, worse than predictions before the pandemic.
The report also noted the “disappointing” performance of Eddie Jones’ England team in this year’s Six Nations, where they finished fifth. However, he claimed the RFU was achieving its goal of producing a ‘winning England’ squad by combining the results of the men’s and women’s teams.
Another guiding principle of being “financially strong” during the pandemic has been met by using cost-cutting measures, including making 119 layoffs, using the government’s emergency funding program and a donation program. ‘obligations. However, despite the grim cuts, the RFU leadership team was paid £ 2.63million, with managing director Bill Sweeney earning £ 540,000 including the consolidation of pension payments.
“This 150th year of the RFU has been extremely difficult for the union and our sport,” said Sweeney. “We have worked harder than ever to support professional and community gaming during the pandemic, with a clearly focused strategic plan to ensure that we bring real benefit and support to gaming. As we exit Covid, the RFU will continue to take a leadership role in redesigning and improving the game for the benefit of everyone involved. “
No area of the game has been spared the effects of the pandemic. Funding for the league and league men’s and women’s league game has been cut by almost two-thirds from £ 33million to £ 12.2million. Part of the reason is that the deal with the RFU and the Premiership went from a fixed sum to a profit share of the RFU last year. Cuts have also been made to community and participation programs while investment in England Seven has been put on hold.
The RFU has secured nearly £ 30million in funding for community rugby clubs with 512 clubs receiving £ 18.2million in grants. Since then, 129 other clubs have requested loans totaling £ 11.5million. While the RFU received £ 90million from CVC’s purchase of the Six Nations commercial rights, the report stressed that this dividend will not be used to plug black holes in their accounts.
Sue Day, RFU chief operating officer and former England captain, also said the financial effects of the pandemic will take a long time to resolve. “It’s important to understand that while some of these investments will pick up in the years to come, others won’t,” Day said. “It will take us several years to recover from the significant underlying losses recorded in 2021.”