RFU Annual Report published

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Reported revenues for the year are £97m (£167m in previous year) and profit to reserves £20.5m (loss of £27.1m in prior year).

Revenues in the year were nearly £120m less than pre-COVID forecasts with an underlying loss to reserves of £21.3m (c£30m worse than pre-COVID forecasts).      

The underlying loss for the year has been offset by an accounting profit created by a reduction in the long-term liability on the balance sheet to debenture holders as a result of a debenture donation programme. The programme asked debenture holders to consider selling their debenture loans back to the RFU at the present-day value and donating the proceeds to the Rugby Football Foundation.  There were 5,561 debentures donated by 1,246 holders providing £1.7m in Gift Aid to re-invest in grass roots rugby while reducing the RFU’s long-term liabilities. This £1.7m is the only short-term cash impact of the project.

The report highlights the significant Government support received by the game from the Sports Winter Survival Package with 512 community clubs from all levels of the game (up to National One) receiving £18.2m in grant funding.  A further 129 clubs have applied for loan funding of £11.5m to enable them to put in place asset-based projects to drive revenues. 

The RFU received Government support from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (£2.3m) and the Business Rates Relief Scheme (£2.25m) as well as funding to support covid testing for England women’s team and the cost of implementing the club grants scheme (£600k).

Before the pandemic hit, the cost and investment base of the organisation for the year ended 30 June 2021 was planned to be circa £207m.  Costs were reduced by over £100m, some of the cost reduction achieved was driven by costs that vary naturally with revenues.  The largest of these were costs of sale £3.6m (compared to £26.5m in previous year).  Difficult decisions were made to further reduce the cost base and 119 valued colleagues were made redundant.  In addition, investment was reduced in England Sevens, community participation programmes, as well as mothballing parts of the stadium, including the hotel.  

Professional rugby investment in the year was £40.3m (£66.4m in prior year) and Rugby Development investment was £17.1m (compared to £28.3 in prior year).

“This 150th year of the RFU has been an immensely challenging one for the Union and our sport," said Chief Executive Officer Bill Sweeney.

"We have worked harder than ever before to support the professional and community game though the pandemic, with a clearly focused strategic plan to ensure we deliver real benefit and support to the game.  As we emerge out of covid, the RFU will continue to take a leadership role in reshaping and improving the game for the benefit of all involved.” 

“In this most challenging of years we have worked hard to maintain and secure the financial stability of the organisation and the game," added Chief Operating Officer and Chief Finance Officer Sue Day.

"We are in a strong financial position; however, it will take a number of years to recover from underling losses. Our cost base will need to remain at current levels while we rebuild reserves, right size our debt and regain certainty over future revenues.

“We have less money to invest than in recent years and that means we must spend money wisely, making sure we invest each pound to have the greatest impact on delivering the purpose of our strategy to enrich lives, introduce more people to Rugby Union and develop the sport for future generations.”

The original article can be found here.

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