Tuesday 17 September 2019

English rugby facing £13m cutback in investment

RFU bosses, who said 54 people had now left after a round of redundancies, declared an operating loss of £30.9m for the year. Stock photo: Sportsfile
RFU bosses, who said 54 people had now left after a round of redundancies, declared an operating loss of £30.9m for the year. Stock photo: Sportsfile

Tom Morgan

The English RFU is slashing overall investment in the sport by up to £13million after a grim financial report confirmed revenue around the English game has fallen for a second consecutive year.

The governing body invested a record £107.7m in the English game over the past 12 months, but has predicted "growing uncertainty" and "challenging times" ahead.

RFU bosses, who said 54 people had now left after a round of redundancies, declared an operating loss of £30.9m for the year, but broke even overall thanks to a cash injection from the restructuring of a Twickenham hospitality business.

The joint venture with Compass brought a one-off profit of £31.6m and was banked in the RFU's reserves.

Overall, the RFU's annual income fell by £12.5m last year as a result of two fewer matches than normal being played at Twickenham. Investment in the professional and amateur game is now likely to slip to around £100m next year, and then fall to £95m by 2020.

The figures come just two weeks after chief executive Steve Brown announced he was resigning after little more than a year in the position.

Brown, who had been earning almost £400,000, insisted that his decision to leave was personal, and had nothing to do with the RFU's financial woes.

He will be replaced in the interim by Nigel Melville, who effectively becomes Eddie Jones' line manager.

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After the morale-boosting performances in the Autumn Tests, Brown believes England can win the World Cup in Japan.

One significant expense for the RFU was the number of players used by Jones over the past 12 months. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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