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Page last updated at 06:48 GMT, Wednesday, 2 September 2009 07:48 UK

WRU announces yearly 1m profit

Welsh Rugby Union

The Welsh Rugby Union has announced a profit of £1m after tax for the financial year ending 2009.

The cash boost was achieved despite the overall turnover of £49.4m being down £900,000 on the previous year.

This was helped by a refinancing in May 2008 that reduced interest costs from £2.8m to £2.5m, with overall bank debt down £2.1m and now standing at £39.7m.

The WRU pumped £3.8m into the community game, with the four Welsh regional teams sharing £12.1m between them.

The funding for the regions is up from the previous year's pot of £11.4m, but comes against the back-drop of an impending court case between the WRU and its four regions, acting under the umbrella organisation Regional Rugby Wales.

The two sides are due to face each other in the High Court on 9 September in a dispute over player release for the New Zealand Test on 7 November.

We want to continue to invest more in regional rugby and we want to work with the regions to create the best environment for the game to flourish

WRU group chief executive Roger Lewis

The £3.8m sum that went into the grass-roots of the game in Wales was an increase of £1.0m on the previous year, while the WRU also expects a state-of-the-art £1.5m National Centre of Excellence at the Vale Resort to be completed this autumn.

WRU group chief executive Roger Lewis praised the figures, released in an official press statement from Welsh rugby's governing body.

"It's been a very positive year in what has undoubtedly been one of the most economically turbulent periods of recent times," Lewis said.

"What has driven such a success has been the hard work and planning which we have carried out over the past three years aimed at creating sustainability for the business both on and off the field.

WRU chief confident over future

"Like any business we have to be driven by the content we produce and underpinning these annual report figures is the fact that Welsh rugby is now enjoying rude health.

"A winning Wales is at the centre of our focus and we currently have a successful team being developed by one of the best available coaching and backroom structures based at one of the finest training facilities in rugby.

"The team is playing a positive brand of rugby and the aura that our National Team creates is reflected in the success of our Invesco Perpetual autumn series at the Millennium Stadium and the Six Nations, with some 428,000 supporters at the home games.

606: DEBATE

"I am very grateful to all the teams on and off the field who have driven this year's figures and I must pay a particular thanks to our group finance director, Steve Phillips, for his tremendous efforts in restructuring the financial operation."

Lewis said the WRU remains committed to forging a better relationship with its regions and clubs, and that it was committed to growing the game in north Wales.

Last week fledgling region Gogledd Cymru revealed a proposal to bolster playing standards in north Wales by recruiting Canadian internationals as part of the side.

Rugby Canada and the International Rugby Board must also agree the plan, which would see the initial number of Canadian players reduced gradually over a five-year period.

"We want to continue to invest more in regional rugby and we want to work with the regions to create the best environment for the game to flourish," Lewis added.

"We will also continue to further develop our support for the development of the game across north Wales."



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see also
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