England’s Rugby Football Union has defended its financial position following claims from former chief executive Francis Baron that it has been “losing a lot of money”.
Baron served as chief executive of the RFU for 12 years and retired in 2010. He has now written a 50-page report into the RFU’s financial status amid recent job losses at the organisation.
The report, which has been seen by The Telegraph, claims that the RFU has incurred cumulative net losses over the past six years of £46.4m (€53.2m/$60.1m). This figure excludes a one-off Rugby World Cup profit of £26m.
The report also says that the RFU has been forced to double its loan facility to £100m, with Baron suggesting that the board calls a special general meeting to discuss its financial status.
Baron told Telegraph Sport: “Next year the RFU is going to hit £90m in borrowing. In the accounts of 2016, they said they were going to borrow £50m to cover (Twickenham’s) East Stand development and the artificial grass pitches programme.
“Only 18 months later they have had to go back to the bank to double the facility from £50m to £100m – so what had changed? It can only be one thing, they have been losing a lot of money.”
The RFU has moved quickly to dismiss Baron’s report. “The RFU is on a sound financial footing, with a healthy cash position, robust contracted revenues and a good balance sheet,” an RFU spokeswoman told Telegraph Sport.
“Mr Baron has been a regular critic of the union since he left 10 years ago, so this isn’t particularly surprising to anyone who knows how he operates.
“Whilst he is entitled to his opinion, he has a view of how the RFU should be run, and we have a different view. The game has moved on significantly since his time – he appears to be trying to apply 10-year-old thinking to the fast-moving modern professional game – and we are looking to the future, focusing on opportunities to further grow and develop rugby in England.
“The RFU exists to support the game and invest in the game. It is utterly bizarre for anyone to think that investing profit in supporting professional and community rugby is squandering it.”