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WRU reports planned loss of £4.3m, details record reinvestment

General view inside the stadium during the Guinness Six Nations match between Wales and England at Principality Stadium on February 23, 2019 (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) has announced a planned loss of £4.3m (€5m/$5.5m) for the year ending June 30, 2019, with a turnover of £90.5m.

The WRU also announced that it reinvested a record £49.6m across the sport during the 12-month period, compared with £42.8m the previous year.

Commercial income totalled £14.2m but the WRU cited fewer third-party events, in particular the lack of a major boxing match at Principality Stadium, as a reason for reduced income in hospitality and catering areas, which dropped by £4m. The absence of a major boxing match came after Anthony Joshua fought at Principality Stadium in October 2017 and March 2018.

The 12-month period saw the WRU Group bring forward the negotiation of a new Professional Rugby Agreement with the four Welsh rugby regions from June 2020, which helped contribute to the increased reinvestment into the professional game.

Reinvestment in professional rugby rose by £6.5m to £33m, which included reinvestment in the Dragons Pro14 team, a subsidiary of the WRU. Semi-professional club and community rugby received additional investment of £300,000 on the previous year.

International matches at Principality Stadium averaged attendances of 66,000, with a total of 393,000 turning out during the Under Armour Series and the Six Nations. The Welsh national team played six home matches during the year, compared to seven in 2018.

The WRU said the Group had planned for a loss for the year ending June 30, 2019 after retaining a profit of £2.3m the previous year. Its intention was to leave the net assets of the Group at year-end 2019 in “materially the same place” as year-end 2017, which the WRU said has been “largely achieved”.

WRU chief executive Martyn Phillips said: “From a business perspective the year unfolded as expected as our ability to over perform in YE18 allowed us to increase investment in professional rugby and the community game in YE19 resulting in a planned loss.

“Historically the professional game benefitted from contracted and certain income, whilst the community game received what remained following contractual obligations.

“In YE19 we agreed a new approach whereby the community game funding is protected, with the pro game in effect carrying the risk and reward fluctuation in annual investment. As a union of clubs this seems entirely appropriate and we are pleased to have gained agreement to this new and innovative way of funding the game in Wales for the foreseeable future.”