English Rugby
Rugby funding slashed in England
ESPNscrum Staff
May 9, 2011
Rugby Football Union chief executive John Steele faces the media, RFU press conference, Twickenham, England, September 7, 2010
John Steele agreed to the cuts in funding © Getty Images

Sport England has slashed funding for rugby union by over £1million due to a drop in playing numbers at grassroots level.

Funding levels will now fall below £30m for the period 2009-13 after the Rugby Football Union (RFU) agreed to the cuts. Sport England research showed that the number of adults playing at least once a week fell from 230,000 to 177,900 between 2009 and 2011, with governing bodies required to meet targets in order to guarantee funding.

"We have to accept that the failure to meet our Sport England targets over the last few years would inevitably affect the level of funding we receive," said RFU chief executive John Steele. "However, I now believe we have far more realistic targets for the next two years as we move towards the home World Cup in 2015."

Sport England's chief executive, Jennie Price, added, "The decision to reduce funding to the RFU was not taken lightly but Sport England has been clear that failure to achieve the agreed growth in its sport would lead to a governing body's overall funding levels being reviewed.

"I am glad that the RFU has acknowledged that the challenge for rugby union is to stop the decline in participation and to inspire new and former players to get out on the pitch enjoying this great game in all its forms."

The RFU's maximum award over four years was £30.72m, consisting of £18.82m revenue funding and £11.9m capital funding. The capital award has already been reduced to £10.54m as a result of reductions to Sport England's Exchequer funding.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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