Welsh Rugby Union net debt stands at £114.4m due to Covid-19 impact


The coronavirus pandemic has put an end to fans attending games for much of 2020, and the Welsh Rugby Union has suffered after seeing debts soar over the past year.

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The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) reported net bank debt of £22.9m for the year to June 30, 2021, while net debt rose around 50% to £114.4m of pounds sterling.

The new net debt figure represents an increase of £38.8m, a substantial spike from the £75.6m the union owed until June 2020.

This is despite the group recording a pre-tax profit of £400,000 for the financial year, with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic still having a significant impact on the sport.

The WRU recently released its annual report for the most recent financial year, highlighting the union’s dire straits as it awaits the return of fans to full capacity at the upcoming autumn internationals.

A major factor in the increase in debt is the £18million loan secured through the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS), which has been used to support Welsh regional clubs during the pandemic.

Welsh Rugby Union revealed net debt stood at £114.4m in latest annual report


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Net debt is defined as “bank borrowings, bond borrowings and finance lease obligations, less cash balances”.

Leasing nearly doubled year-on-year to £42.3m, driven by the syndicate’s investment in the redevelopment of the Parkgate Hotel on Westgate Street in Cardiff.

The project was intended as a way for the WRU to achieve long-term financial stability, but the opening of the hotel has been delayed since early 2021 due to the pandemic.

Wales were crowned 2021 Six Nations champions and narrowly missed out on the Grand Slam but the trophy was won after Wayne Pivac’s side impressed in empty places.

Do you think Wales will retain their Six Nations crown in 2022? Let us know who your pick to win is in the comments section.

Wales have been crowned 2021 Six Nations champions, their first such title under Wayne Pivac


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WRU’s income fell from £40.3m to £27.2m in the 12 months to June 30, while turnover was just £58.1m, a drop significantly from the £79.9m posted a year earlier.

WRU chief financial officer Tim Moss said it was “an achievement in itself” that the group managed to record even a £400,000 profit given the impact of Covid-19.

General manager Steve Phillips, meanwhile, used the latest report to stress how crucial fan involvement is to the long-term viability of the national team.

“From the players who sacrificed their lives at home to join bubbles, to the community gaming volunteers who diligently followed published pathways to return to play and the fans themselves – who have been pioneers this summer as they were returning to the Principality Stadium in their limited numbers – everyone played their part in getting us to this stage, together,” he said in a statement.

WRU finances are in bad shape amid the coronavirus pandemic, but it is hoped the return of fans will signal a lift


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“We have withstood what was thrown at us during YE21 and emerged in a place where we are comfortable moving forward and rebuilding our future.

“It will not be easy and for such a reconstruction to succeed we are extremely dependent on our ability to host international matches with spectator capacity in our stadium.

“It’s the main economic engine that fuels the game at large and we also need to have a level playing field against our colleagues and competitors in the tournaments our professional teams participate in.”

Wales recently confirmed their next October 30 test against New Zealand at the Principality Stadium is sold out six weeks before the All Blacks arrive in Cardiff.

Pivac’s men will also face world champions South Africa, Fiji and Australia for three consecutive weekends in November, each set to draw large crowds.

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