Australian union records $8.3 million loss
April 22, 2013
Chief executive Bill Pulver's nine-person ARU board remains unchanged © Getty Images
The Australian Rugby Union (ARU) has recorded another large deficit but is confident it will turn in a profit in 2013 thanks to the forthcoming British & Irish Lions tour.
The ARU announced a net deficit of $8.3 million - a $2.3 million improvement on 2011 - at their first annual general meeting under a newly-adopted constitution. While total revenues were up $21 million from the IRB World Cup year in 2011, when the ARU recorded a $10.6 million loss, gross expenditure also increased to $100.3 million.
Chairman Michael Hawker blamed the higher Australian dollar for a negative impact of $7.5 million.
"While revenues were higher than the previous year, so was expenditure, which was primarily due to our continued investment in the game," Hawker said. "ARU's revenue growth was driven by a number of factors, including an increase in sponsorship and an increase in match day returns due to the increased domestic Test program compared to 2011.
"These increases, combined with the expectation that this year's British & Irish Lions tour will deliver substantial financial gains to Australian rugby, provides the organisation an opportunity to better its financial position in 2013."
Despite it being the first AGM under the ARU's new independent governance model following last year's review by former federal sports minister Mark Arbib, the existing nine-person board remains intact.
John Eales, John Mumm and Hawker were re-elected unopposed for further three-year terms - all as independent directors - and stay alongside chief executive Bill Pulver, Peter Cosgrove, George Gregan, Brett Robinson, Ann Sherry and Geoff Stooke.
Hawker paid tribute to long-serving president and former chaiman Ron Graham, who addressed delegates for the final time, standing down after more than a decade of service to ARU.
David Crombie was elected unopposed in the largely symbolic role as president, while former Wallabies forwards John Coolican and Tony Shaw will be his vice-presidents.
Rugby's participation figures have passed the 300,000-player mark for the first time in the game's history.