Scottish Rugby annual accounts reveal how £20m loss was offset during Covid-19 affected season

The Scottish Rugby Union offset an anticipated £20million drop in income last season thanks to external investment and government support.

Murrayfield Stadium, the home of Scottish Rugby. (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)
Murrayfield Stadium, the home of Scottish Rugby. (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)

The SRU reported an overall surplus of £10.5million for the year ending May 31, 2021. Income included £3.3million from the delayed 2020 Guinness Six Nations and a near £10million influx related to CVC Capital's investment in PRO14.

Turnover and other income was £52.5million, down by £3million.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Ticket income fell to nothing, broadcasting revenues increased by £8.6million, partly because of the delay to the previous Six Nations campaign.

The surplus included £13.5million grant funding from the Scottish Government, with a further £1.5million to follow in this season's income.

A statement read: "On the financial side, Scottish Rugby' s accounts show how external income from private equity investment in the Guinness Six Nations, advances from World Rugby, combined with grant and loan support from Scottish Government and the Job Retention Scheme offset a very challenging trading position created by the complete loss of all ticketing revenue and reductions in a number of other income sources as a result of the pandemic.

"The anticipated loss for both the national men's team and the professional teams in total was in the region of £18.5m. Similarly, loss of hospitality, food and beverage and other ancillary income streams was anticipated to have an impact of around £2m.

"There was a risk to other broadcast and sponsorship revenues, as a result of the ongoing pandemic, although generally these held up better than anticipated.

"In addition, the professional teams' ticket income would normally have been anticipated to be around £2.5m, but other than a nominal sum generated at the test event in August 2020, was nil for the year.

"While the ultimate financial result for the year and balance sheet position at the year-end show a satisfactory position, this has only been possible through prudent financial management, timely negotiation and receipt of investment funds, and financial support from many parties, including our people, partners, supporters, sponsors, suppliers and, significantly, the Scottish Government and World Rugby.

"In summary, therefore, the year-end cash position of £20.7m is healthy, however the underlying trading position remains challenging, and work will continue to build back towards the £61.1m total turnover figure achieved in the year ended 31 May 2019."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Chairman John Jeffrey said: "The past season, that we have faced and come through together, has tested our tenacity and resolve as never before.

"It's no hyperbole to reflect that without the help and strong desire to 'do our bit' from so many people - our clubs, our players, our employees, our supporters, our sponsors, our government, our volunteers - that coronavirus could have wrought irreparable damage on the very fabric of our game in Scotland.

"As I write, the indications are that the vast majority of the restrictions which have rendered rugby off limits in our communities throughout Scotland since March 2020, are due to be lifted by government in the coming weeks.

"The pandemic has taught us to take nothing for granted but the joy at looking ahead to returning to competitive rugby action in the 2021-22 season is a powerful emotion and one that our clubs, alongside all at Scottish Rugby, are determined to harness."

Get a year of unlimited access to all The Scotsman's sport coverage without the need for a full subscription. Expert analysis of the biggest games, exclusive interviews, live blogs, transfer news and 70 per cent fewer ads on - all for less than £1 a week. Subscribe to us today



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.