Rugby World Cup remains the priority despite annual loss, says RFU boss
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 26/11/18 10:42pm
The Rugby Football Union (RFU) has denied that an annual loss of £31m last year will have any impact on Eddie Jones' preparations for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
The world's richest rugby union had a mixed year on and off the pitch in the 12 months to the end of June - 24 wins out of 25 for England under Jones but then five defeats on the spin, record investment of almost £108m in the game but a £12.5m fall in income and 54 redundancies.
That drop can be largely blamed on England having two fewer home games than a year before but the RFU has admitted it will have to reduce the amount it puts back into rugby in the future.
Speaking to reporters on the day the union's accounts were published, chief executive Steve Brown said the last year can be seen as a "transition point" from a long run of financial growth to a period of "greater uncertainty" for the wider economy, the sports market and the RFU.
He did not mention himself in that list but Brown announced last month he is leaving the RFU after more than seven years with the governing body, the majority as its chief financial officer.
When asked if he was quitting a sinking ship, Brown said he was going for "my own reasons" but leaving the RFU in a "superb place".
Asked if this meant he had given the clubs and players too much money, Brown said: "Who knows? It was the right amount at the right time.
"There are reasons why you could say it was expensive but we have the best relationship with the professional game we've ever had and we've got a win rate of more than 80 per cent since signing the deal.
"The Rugby World Cup is a very significant focus for us, it's our number one priority.
"Like every budget-holder, Eddie and his team know they have to live within their numbers and they are doing it.
"We have a clear line of sight on costs and it's about making sure it's affordable because we want to win it."