Welsh Rugby Union braced for substantial financial losses

The Welsh Rugby Union says it expects to make a substantial financial loss this year.

All rugby in Wales has been suspended by the WRU until the end of this month following the coronavirus outbreak.

And that situation is set to be extended after the government’s implementation of restrictions on social gatherings in an attempt to slow the virus’ spread.

The WRU confirmed that grant payments to clubs would be made as normal in April, in addition to emergency funding for high-priority cases, plus a £1,000 payment to all clubs.

“It is not clear when we will be able to resume playing. The indications are that it will be months rather than weeks before we can resume,” the WRU said, in a weekly update to its clubs.

“Financially, the year was tracking to plan. However, circumstances have dictated that the current situation is abnormally challenging on and off the pitch.

“We have more unknowns than knowns. The WRU is forecasting a significant drop in revenue from international and club competitions. Our stadium events programme is also uncertain.

“As a consequence, we will make a substantial loss this year and we are forecasting a knock-on impact into the next financial year at least, as we expect it to take time for our operations to return to business as usual status.

“We understand and acknowledge that the situation is the same for all rugby entities inside and outside Wales, as it is for many Welsh businesses and organisations.

“We will stand alongside key stakeholders and partners in Wales, and in particular recognise our responsibility to play our part to bring stability.”

The WRU says it is working closely with all stakeholders, including the Welsh Rugby Players’ Association, the professional rugby board, which oversees the professional game in Wales, the community rugby board, clubs and districts, its commercial partners, sponsors and broadcasters.

It also plans to seek counsel from organisations outside of Welsh rugby – from rugby unions to World Rugby and Welsh Government.

By the end of this month, the WRU will provide its additional £1,000 funding to each club, work with its banks to determine what assistance can be provided to Welsh rugby as a whole and provide advice to clubs on what financial relief could be available from councils and authorities at local level.

“Our goal is simple,” the WRU added.

“We plan to emerge from this crisis with the WRU and all teams and clubs, whether they be amateur, semi-professional or professional, intact and able to have a sustainable future.

“These are testing times, and our commitment is to do everything possible to safeguard the future of our game in Wales, and we would implore anyone who can help even in a small way to contribute.”