The dire financial position of Rugby Australia has been revealed with the organisation blowing over $500 million over the past four years.
Rugby Australia also has excess of $20 million in liabilities and were spending $320,000 a day last year to run the game, according to The Australian.
The Australian obtained key details from Rugby Australia’s 2019 annual report that confirms that they have a total liabilities in excess of $45m of which there is $20m owed to creditors — including $7.04m in a currency hedge fund to HSBC at the end of December 31.
World Rugby are set to loan Rugby Australia $17 million, with the rescue package landing as soon as this week.
Rugby sources have said the package will not be enough to clear all debts and cover all losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rugby Australia spent nearly $120m last year, including $19m on corporate expenses. Corporate expenses typically include marketing, human resources, legal costs and other sources of head office spending.
The biggest expenditure to Rugby Australia is Super rugby, with the competition bill surpassing $30.9 million.
Wallabies team costs were $9.6m in a World Cup year while National Sevens Teams costs were $5.3m, while only $4.3m was spent on ‘Community Rugby’.
There are grave concerns for the games future with no start date for the season ahead and no broadcast deal struck as of yet, the annual report shows RA had $12m in cash equivalents on the balance sheet as of December 31. It isn’t known what is left of that $12m at this stage.
Newly appointed Wallabies coach David Rennie is set to start in July and his wage is close to $1m. Former CEO Raelene Castle is also expected to have received a payout including a $119,000 bonus approved by then chairman Cameron Clyne due to meeting some KPIs in 2019.
Players are aware the future of the game in Australia is in uncertain at this stage and are considering their options, players are already fielding offers from overseas clubs. It is understood some have already committed to leaving.
Raelene Castle walked away from a Fox Sports (owned by News Corp, publisher of The Australian) broadcast deal late last year, rejecting a $US25 million-a-year offer for 2021-25. Castle for some time maintained she was close to a deal with Optus. Optus last week confirmed it was never seriously in the running for RA’s TV rights.