Rugby Australia’s 2019 financial results have been leaked after months of speculation surrounding the code’s solvency issues.
The results remain unaudited and will remain that way until the end of the month after a $16 million rescue package from World Rugby was secured to ensure the future of the sport.
The decision to withhold the financial position of Rugby Australia for more than a month after the March annual general meeting spurred speculation that cost the Chief Executive Raelene Castle the support of her fellow board members.
Castle’s replacement, interim Chief Executive Rob Clarke said his focus would be on resuming rugby this year and generating income for the sport by developing a clear picture of tournament structures for next year and selling them to a broadcaster.
“How can we use this opportunity, while it is having drastic consequences on our lives, how can we use it to reshape the game, as the old adage goes, never waste a good crisis,” Clarke said.
“I’ll be working to position the game for the future, I really want to get stuck into that, there is plenty to do and I am excited by it.”
The figures show a far better position than had been been reported. Rugby Australia’s figures indicate it will come out of the current crisis no worse than in previous years.
In a Rugby World Cup year, the Wallabies played fewer home games and that resulted in less revenue. This was a observed across almost every nation in world rugby.
There was a slight increase in expenditure, which was expected in the lead-up to a World Cup year because due players are paid bonuses for selection in a World Cup squad.
The other standout cost related to the legal battle with Israel Folau.
A $4 million increase in “player costs and RUPA” expenditure can be attributed to a $2.2 million payout to Folau and captain Michael Hooper’s new $1.2 million a year deal.
The figures indicated Rugby Australia will scrape through the rest of the year. Rugby administrators hope Super Rugby will re-start in July and bring with it broadcast and sponsorship payments.
Furthermore, the $16 million loan from World Rugby, the player pay deal organised in March which cut 80 per cent of Rugby Australia’s wages until September, mass staff stand-downs and a 30 per cent pay cut for senior executives are expected to help keep the organisation afloat.