With games having been suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Rugby Australia (RA) is recording heavy financial losses of close to Aus$10 million.
The incurring deficit being experienced by Rugby Australia is a result of the lack of income caused by the shutdown of all sports not just in Australia but in most parts of the world as countries try to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by enforcing social distancing.
The undisclosed payment made to controversial former rugby star Israel Folau has also been a contributing factor to the organisation’s bottom line.
RA announced at its annual meeting that it was operating at an Aus$9.4 million deficit in 2019 compared to the profit they posted in 2018 of Aus$5.4 million.
RA would be looking to source funds form the Australian government as well as World Rugby but will still need to take some serious cost-cutting measure if it is to survive through the coronavirus pandemic as RA chairman Paul McLean stated that there would be “significant cuts across the business”.
“To put it simply, there is no way of knowing what damage this crisis will have on our game, or for how long it will continue to impact us,” he further added before going on to say:
“It has forced us to make some extremely difficult decisions, and there will be even harder decisions to come as we continue to navigate the implications of the virus on the game’s finances.”
The RA is set to lose further income through broadcasting rights as the suspended Super Rugby tournament is set to be replaced by domestic competitions.
The RA has received major criticism over its lack of transparency as it has not yet held meetings with stakeholders to address the problems being faced after games were suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Players are still unsure whether they will have wage deductions imposed on them.
The Rugby Players Association Union chief Justin Harrison went on to say “While our colleagues in the other major football codes across Australia have been meeting with their governing bodies for weeks, RA has refused to share any information about the future financial direction of the game,”
“I understand from their point of view that there is a level of frustration that they haven’t had a deeper engagement earlier,”
“But the reality is Rugby Australia didn’t want to enter into those conversations until it had the chance to give them accurate information so we could enter into a solution-based scenario for the next three months”