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SA Rugby Group lost R62m in 2017

The rugby body suffered a heavy net loss of R62 million, SA Rugby explained the loss was due to the failed 2023 World Cup bid where potential sponsorships of up to R38,5 million did not materialise as expected.

FILE: Saru CEO Mark Alexander. Picture: sascoc.co.za

CAPE TOWN - South Africa Rugby was in Parliament as they presented on their financial and governance positions in front of the Sports Portfolio Committee. The rugby body's financials, however, painted a bleak picture.

The SA Rugby Group (including subsidiaries) suffered a heavy net loss of R62 million while SA Rugby took a hit of R33 million.

The body explained that this was due to the failed 2023 World Cup bid where potential sponsorships of up to R38.5 million did not materialise as expected.

A second factor, the body explained, was the migration of two franchises, the Cheetahs and the Kings, from Super Rugby to the Pro14 in the Northern Hemisphere and the cost was R33 million.

SA Rugby said that they were close to liquidation because of the loss of sponsorships. The body is reliant on their mega broadcast deal with SuperSport which underpins the players' salaries and the provincial unions. Also, sponsorships from the likes of MTN, Asics and FNB help it to stay afloat.

South African rugby’s governing body is short of tangible assets as their cash reserves have also taken a significant hit. Where it once stood at R68 million, it now sits at a lowly R15.7 million.

SA Rugby president, Mark Alexander, said “we were broken” when referencing the organisation's finances and a need to rebuild.