Challenging year - The ongoing impact of Covid-19 has contributed to a drop in the revenue of the Twickenham-based RFU

Twickenham (United Kingdom) (AFP) - England’s governing Rugby Football Union (RFU) revealed Wednesday that revenue for the financial year 202021 stood at £120 million ($160 million, 143 million euros) less than pre-coronavirus forecasts.

Reported revenue is £97 million, down from £167 million in the previous year.

An underlying loss to reserves of £21.3m is £30m worse than pre-Covid forecasts.

But the RFU, which welcomed back capacity crowds of 82,000 to its Twickenham headquarters for this month’s England internationals, said financial stability had been achieved through a combination of 119 redundancies, a debenture donation and emergency backing from the British government.

Long one of rugby union’s wealthiest national governing bodies, the RFU received £2.3 million from the government’s coronavirus job retention scheme and £2.25 million in business rates relief.

Investment in professional rugby for the year totalled £40.3 million in the year under review compared to £66.4m in the previous year.

“This 150th year of the RFU has been an immensely challenging one for the union and our sport,” said Bill Sweeney, the RFU’s chief executive, in a statement issued after the publication of the governing body’s annual report.

“We have worked harder than ever before to support the professional and community game though the pandemic, with a clearly focused strategic plan to ensure we deliver real benefit and support to the game.

“As we emerge out of Covid, the RFU will continue to take a leadership role in reshaping and improving the game for the benefit of all involved.”