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JOHANNESBURG — In August last year, SA Rugby’s finances were in a mess. The organisation had just released an embarrassing report to Parliament’s Sports Portfolio Committee which showed that it was on the verge of a financial collapse after recording a net loss of R62m. There were a number of reasons for the financial woes, and SARU bemoaned the fact that it had lost out on the 2023 World Cup bid. Hosting the event, SA Rugby told Parliament, would have averted the problem. Bidding for the World Cup in vain had cost R24m. Adding to a drain on the coffers was the departure of the Cheetahs and the Kings from Super Rugby which came at a cost of R30m. Just 7 months ago, SA Rugby President Mark Alexander was saying the organisation was close to liquidation and was being kept alive by sponsorship money from MTN, Asics and FNB as well as the big broadcast deal with SuperSport. However, the austerity measures imposed have done the trick and finances are looking a little healthier in 2019 according to information disclosed at SA Rugby’s AGM in Cape Town. – David O’Sullivan
From SA Rugby
SA Rugby posted a modest post-tax profit of R2m after two years of losses, it was announced at the Annual Meeting of the organisation in Cape Town on Wednesday.
The result reversed losses of R62.4m in 2017 and R15,7m in 2016 as a series of cost-cutting measures had an impact.
Revenue increased by 9.5% to R1.3bn, largely attributable to increased income from broadcasting rights, sponsorships and Test match receipts. Expenses remained flat at R1.28bn.
“There have been some hard decisions taken over the past three years to reach this position and there is hard work still to be done,” said Jurie Roux, SA Rugby CEO.
“Some of the measures implemented caused significant discomfort; however, we believe the positive impact of implementing these measures will be realised in the future.
“We have made progress in the past year, but we know we are still some distance from achieving an adequate financial standing.”
On the expense side, player payments increased in accordance with agreements in place and due to an additional Test, while SA Rugby’s investment in Guinness PRO14 membership came at a nett cost of R60m. Strategic performance expenditure increased due to the investment required to achieve SA Rugby’s transformation goals.
“The Springboks and our national teams remain our priority and we continue to prioritise their activities. The budget for the 2019 Rugby World Cup campaign is secured and signed off but we will continue to look for savings in peripheral activities,” said Roux.
“The current debate about the proposed ICASA regulations – which would remove the exclusivity enjoyed by successful bidders – remains a serious threat to our financial sustainability and we will continue to engage with the regulator to point out the potentially disastrous consequences of a change.”
The annual financial statements were approved by the members. The 2018 Annual Report can be downloaded in full from the “Governance” section at www.springboks.rugby.
The meeting also elected Vanessa Doble, head of Legal and Compliance at SA Rugby, as SA Rugby’s first female representative to the World Rugby General Council.
The position was opened following a constitutional change by SA Rugby to include a female representative after World Rugby increased national union representation to three members, one of which has to be female. SA Rugby’s other representatives are the President (Mr Mark Alexander) and CEO (Jurie Roux).
The meeting also accepted into associate membership South African Rugby League. The application was made under the terms of the requirements of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) which directs that all similar sports fall under one national mother body.
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