Bringing You the Daily Dispatch

Rugby Australia posts $9.2m deficit and braces for challenging year ahead
Rugby union Sport

Rugby Australia posts $9.2m deficit and braces for challenging year ahead

Rugby Australia has declared a $9.2m deficit for last year is not unusual, but warned 2024 will be “another challenging year” as the governing body is forced to stump up growing interest payments.

The Wallabies were eliminated in the pool stage at last year’s World Cup, and costs associated with Eddie Jones’ ill-fated campaign involved $2.6m unapproved over-investment.

The governing body released its financials for 2023 as part of this year’s AGM on Monday.

RA chairman Daniel Herbert said in the annual report the deficit was “to be expected in a Rugby World Cup year, and which comes in slightly lower than the deficits reported in the last two men’s World Cup years”.

Chief executive Phil Waugh said the governing body was managing both short term needs, and the longer-term position of the game with a new broadcast cycle starting in 2026.

“We have set a clear path forward – to unite the game from the grassroots to the elite level, to maximise efficiencies in high-performance, to invest in growth areas of the game – especially in community and women’s rugby – and to set the game up to maximise the commercial opportunities over the next six years to ensure a thriving future for Australian Rugby,” he said.

Last year, RA recorded revenue of $124m, and expenditure of $130m, as well as $3.3 in finance costs.

The governing body set up a new $80m loan facility last year to “be a short-term bridge” to the higher revenues expected in 2025, due to the British and Irish Lions tour, as well as the home World Cups in 2027 and 2029.

In 2019 there was a deficit of $9.4m. Revenue was $112m, expenditure $121m and finance costs minimal.

That year, Wallabies team costs were almost $10m. The same line item is not in the 2023 report, but RA announced last month $2.6m in unapproved expenses was accrued during the World Cup campaign.

The 2015 annual report said that year’s deficit of $9.8m was “primarily due to financial assistance provided to the Melbourne Rebels”.

skip past newsletter promotion

Waugh flagged 2024 would be another challenging year “given we have had to take on the unplanned cost of the Melbourne Rebels’ operations for 2024, as well as additional investments and distributions to member unions, Super Rugby clubs, the community game, pathways and women’s rugby”.

He said RA had the options to further reduce costs this year, but that risked having a detrimental impact on the game.

“It is essential that we set the game up as best we can for the major revenue events on the horizon in 2025, 2027 and 2029,” he said.

Ahead of the British and Irish Lions tour in 2025, the first ticket allocations for matches in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane have been exhausted, but more tickets will be made available later this year.

Source: theguardian.com