Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

WRU finances on 'firm foundations'

Josh Lewsey joined the WRU this year.

The Welsh Rugby Union re-invested a record £22.1million back into the domestic game and achieved record pre-tax earning during the last financial year, the governing body has revealed in its annual report.

Included in the £22.1million, a rise of £2million on the previous year, was a £4million sum for the community game and a #4.2million investment into the elite game.

There was also a one-off payment of £1million designed to help the Ospreys, Scarlets, Cardiff Blues and Newport Gwent Dragons develop and retain their best Welsh players, an issue which saw the union and the regions at loggerheads earlier this year.

Chief executive Roger Lewis had forecast a more difficult financial year after 2012's figures returned a record turnover and a record-equalling profit.

Turnover was down £2.2million to £61million, but earnings before tax were up by £1.5million to £29.1million.

The net repayable bank debt of the WRU rose slightly but remained below £20m at £19.5m, meaning the union is on target to have its debt cleared by 2021.

The figures came on the back of more onfield success as Wales secured a fourth RBS 6 Nations title in nine years, with a large Welsh contingent being selected for the successful Lions tour of Australia.

The Wales Under-20s reached the Junior World Championship final, while the Wales Sevens side were beaten finalists at the Hong Kong Sevens.

"The results we publish today stand as clear confirmation that our business is now set on firm foundations and we are able to operate successfully even in challenging economic times," said Lewis.

"This displays a direct link with the key changes we have put in place since 2006 with radical reforms of our financial and operational practices plus a robust recruitment policy.

"It costs money to fund radical change and nurture development so I am delighted that we have again been able to deliver meaningful and record levels of financial support within our priority areas of elite rugby, the community game and the Millennium Stadium.

"It is also a tribute to our success and our reputation that we are able to attract key executive staff of the calibre of Josh Lewsey as head of rugby and Mark Williams to become Millennium Stadium manager to join our outstanding executive board.

"Soon we will welcome the Rugby League World Cup opening ceremony and matches to the Stadium and we are already beginning to plan for the Rugby World Cup games we will host in 2015. These are great times for Wales and we are delighted to be playing our part in making this a great nation to be part of."