Rugby AU records catastrophic loss for 2020

Rugby Australia ran at a $27.1 million loss in 2020, with officials pointing the finger at “significant disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic” in a statement released on Thursday.

Chairman Hamish McLennan said Rugby Australia was “shaken to its core” by the pandemic, which was responsible for a staggering $45.7 million reduction in revenue during the 2020 calendar year.

“Australian Rugby has been through some challenging years recently, but nothing could have prepared us for 2020,” McLennan said.

“It has been an extraordinary job just to survive. We will carry a very weak balance sheet into this year, in what will be a very testing time. This only highlights the importance of external investment as we look to alternate sources of funding to reinvest back into the game.”

Hamish McLennan is bracing for a tough year ahead. Photo: Stuart Walmsley / Rugby AustraliaSource:Supplied

RA’s statement detailed the measures taken by the organisation to cut its budget in response to the pandemic.

In 2020, staff costs were reduced by $9.9m (down 46%) and player costs by $7.7m (down 45%). In addition, Member Union funding was cut by $8.1m (down 28%) while all other costs were slashed by $5.5m.

Despite the code’s financial harships, McLennan insists there were positives to be taken from 2020, pointing to the reinstatement of the Western Force to the Super League, RA’s broadcast deal with Nine and Stan and a retention of $15.4 million in sponsorship.

“I’m very excited about what the future has in store for our game in this country, as is everyone that I speak to on the street. The reset button was pressed and we’re well on our way to reaping those rewards,” he said.

“The work is not yet done though. We have some incredibly important decisions to make in the near future which will ensure Australian Rugby returns to its lofty heights.”

New Zealand Rugby posted a similarly large loss on Thursday. The organisation’s $A31.6 million loss accounted for a 26 per cent decline in revenue, compared to RA’s 41 per cent.

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