A stark report in The Guardian had laid bare the precarious finances of clubs in the English Premiership.
The UK newspaper claims Premiership clubs lost nearly £50million between them in the last financial year with only the leaders, Exeter, recording a profit. Worcester, who came under new ownership earlier in the season, are not included as they were late in filing their accounts with Companies House.
The eye-watering list includes London Irish, the Championship leaders, who are part of the 13-strong Premiership Rugby. The relegated Exiles lost £10.52m in the year to June 2018, more than any other club.
Wasps, whose £32.8m turnover was more than £10m greater than the next highest (Harlequins), lost £9.7m while promoted Bristol lost £7.2m.
The losses of every club were greater than the year before, when Exeter were also the only ones in the black: the Chiefs increased their turnover by more than £3m and recorded a profit of £533,000.
Only Exeter in the black as Premiership Rugby racks up £50m in losses https://t.co/PG7psMLj0u
— Guardian sport (@guardian_sport) April 8, 2019
The champions, Saracens, lost nearly £4m, although £48m in loans to the parent company by their owner, Nigel Wray, have been turned into equity and taken off the balance sheet.
According to The Guardian, only three clubs suffered a drop in turnover (London Irish did not reveal theirs): Bristol, who had been relegated, Wasps, who were down £165,000, and Gloucester, who were £544,000 worse off, largely through a fall in concert income.
Sale’s turnover increased by £89,000 and they were the only one of the regulars in the Premiership with a turnover of less than £10m, down to the club not owning its ground.
? YOUR #GallagherPrem Table ?
It just gets harder and harder to call…?
Anyone's guess how it will end ? 4th down to 8th ?
And Still EXCRUCIATINGLY close at the foot of the table ?
Make a bold prediction about one team ???? pic.twitter.com/Xqcwe4LVZ5
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) April 7, 2019
Newcastle lost more than £4.2m and the club closest to Exeter were Leicester, the best supported team in the Premiership, whose loss was £1.18m, up £290,000 on the previous year. Sale were the only other side with losses below £2m (£1.8m).
These figures were a significant reason why the clubs this season collectively agreed to sell a 27% share in Premiership Rugby to the private equity firm CVC in a deal worth £200m.
Each club will reportedly receive £13.5m as part of a sum paid up front by CVC, money that has been earmarked for infrastructure improvements, although some of it is likely to be used to reduce debt.
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