World Rugby has agreed to allocate a A$14.2m relief package to Rugby Australia as part of its Covid-19 rugby relief strategy.
RA posted a near A$10m loss in 2019, worsened by a hefty payout to former Wallaby Israel Folau after his sacking over homophobic social media posts. And the organisation also faces a dismal financial outlook for 2020, triggered by the coronavirus-enforced shutdown of rugby.
The emergency relief fund of approximately A$160m from World Rugby is being allocated to both established and emerging unions on an application and evaluation basis and is in line with the global relief strategy previously announced to assist unions through to the eventual resumption of the sport.
RA is to get A$14.2m, but as is the case for financial assistance from World Rugby to Six Nations and Sanzaar unions, the financial package will involve a combination of advances and loans.
RA said the funding from World Rugby would provide it with ‘certainty’ for the next 12 months and allow it to finally sign off on its 2019 accounts after auditors declined to do so in March amid doubts over the future viability of its business.
‘The funding, in combination with the extensive cuts made across the business, provides us with the short-term impetus to see through the pandemic but does not solve all of the challenges,’ RA interim chief executive Rob Clarke said in a statement.
‘The board is continuing to work through its plans for organisational reform and additionally there are key conversations to be had across the game’s stakeholders about our Rugby offering for 2020 and beyond. The World Rugby funding provides a much-needed boost and a level of security as we continue this important work.’
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