SA Rugby shows modest R2.3m profit for the 2018 financial year

03 April 2019 - 18:15 By Craig Ray
South African Rugby Union chief executive, Jurie Roux during the RWC 2023 Media Conference at Imbizo Media Centre, Parliament on October 31, 2017 in Cape Town, South Africa.
South African Rugby Union chief executive, Jurie Roux during the RWC 2023 Media Conference at Imbizo Media Centre, Parliament on October 31, 2017 in Cape Town, South Africa.
Image: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images

SA Rugby is back in black after showing a modest R2.3m profit for the 2018 financial year‚ according to an annual report released on Wednesday.

While the financial results don’t make for heady reading‚ considering the Union lost R62.4m in 2016 and R15.7m in 2017‚ this was a massive turnaround due mainly to aggressive cost-cutting.

And the 2019 financial results should further be boosted due to SA’s grant from World Rugby in a World Cup year‚ the closing of the SA Rugby Museum and the fact that the Southern Kings are now privately owned and funded and off SA Rugby’s books.

The 2018 results showed income increasing by 9.5 per cent‚ largely attributable to increased income from broadcasting rights‚ sponsorships and Test match receipts.

“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.

“Running a sports federation with both amateur and professional needs against South Africa’s complex landscape and in the current global economy produces an almost hourly changing cast of disparate challenges.

“But‚ when it comes down to it‚ our business is measured on three things: Are we making money? Are we winning? And are we transforming?

“We are making money – receipts in 2018 were as high as they have ever been at over R1.2bn.

“We are transforming – our first black Springbok captain was the tip of a broadening pyramid of emerging talent. But we didn’t win as we’d like in 2018 – despite the fact that our Springbok Sevens team retained the HSBC World Series title and our XV-a-side coach and three of his players were nominated for World Rugby awards.”

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 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 (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.