Rugby Australia chairman Cameron Clyne has admitted to “an incredibly difficult year” after the organisation effectively posted an operating loss of AUD$3.8m (€2.4m/$2.9m) in 2017.
The governing body acknowledged that a one-off $21.6m government grant to build new headquarters had contributed towards a bottom-line surplus of $17.8m.
Rugby Australia endured a tumultuous year, with the decision to axe the Western Force franchise from the Super Rugby tournament, which also features clubs from other southern hemisphere countries, having attracted widespread criticism and challenges.
“The difficult decision to remove a Super Rugby team was made with the game’s best interests at heart, but it resulted in a great deal of hardship,” Clyne said.
The governing body also suffered from lower-than-expected attendances for Test matches.
“Obviously 2017 was a very difficult year and one we don’t in any way hope to replicate,” Clyne said. “But I think on-field performance is a huge driver of both revenue and sentiment around the game.”
Clyne added that Rugby Australia expects to post a profit this year.