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Rugby Australia forecasts $120 million loss in revenue

Rugby Australia forecasts $120 million loss in revenue
April 1, 2020

Rugby Australia has announced it could lose up to $120 million in revenue if the professional game, in lockdown due to the Coronavirus pandemic, does not resume this year.

This estimate, revealed as the organisation announced it would be standing down 75% of its staff from 1st April to 30th June, is based on projections of Super Rugby and the Wallabies’ domestic Test matches being cancelled in 2020.

Rugby Australia Chief Executive, Raelene Castle, who revealed she was taking a 50% pay cut on Monday, said the sport would face significant financial troubles if Super Rugby did not recommence and the Wallabies' domestic Tests were postponed, advising in a statement “our extensive modelling shows that as a code we could lose up to $120 million in revenue should it not be possible for any rugby to be played in 2020.

"Of course, that is the worst-case scenario, and we are very hopeful that we can recommence the Super Rugby season and domestic Wallabies' Test matches at some point this year."

Rugby Australia, which also announced on Monday it had recorded a provisional operating deficit of $9.4 million in 2019, will, in addition to the staff stood down, see remaining staff continue with significant salary reductions or reduced hours.

Following the suspension of the Vodafone Super Rugby season after just seven rounds and with the Wallabies’ domestic Test matches in doubt, Rugby Australia has now suspended its plan to implement a five-team domestic competition, aimed at developing rugby.

Castle added “since the suspension of our proposed domestic Super Rugby competition, we have been working to understand both the immediate and long-term financial implications for the game as a result of the suspension of the competition, and potential further loss of revenue-generating content as we look ahead to the international season.

“The measures we will implement from April 1, although extremely painful, are necessary to ensure the sport remains financially viable and to ensure that we are able to come out the other side of this global crisis, fully-operational and ready to throw everything into the rebuild. It is our priority to keep all of our valued team connected and engaged through this period.

 “We remain in close dialogue with World Rugby and the Australian Government around potential support for our game and are working side-by-side with our Member Unions with their State and Territory Governments to unlock some additional potential support to ensure, first and foremost, that we can continue to run our community Rugby competitions after this Coronavirus issue has finally abated.

“Not only have our Super Rugby organisations made deep sacrifices, our smaller State and Territory-based unions that are largely volunteer-run have also made significant contributions to ensure the game can go on.”

Citing "insurmountable financial constraints" due to the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak, USA Rugby has this week filed for bankruptcy.

Images: Bingham Cup rugby (top) and Raelene Castle (below).

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