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ARU buck global trend by returning to the black

The Australian Rugby Union said Thursday it was back in the black after recording an 8.48 million dollar (5.9 million US) deficit in 2007.

Managing Director John O’Neill said the ARU had been forced to take “tough decisions,” including disbanding the Australian Rugby Championship after just one year, to achieve a 712,000 dollar surplus for 2008.

The decision to disband the Australian Rugby Championship did however leave Australia with no major provincial competition after the Super 14 which which is why Australia are desperate for the Super 14 to be expanded.

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“It was imperative for the business to return a surplus after allocations (to member unions),” O’Neill said at the organisation’s Annual General Meeting on Thursday.

“In the end it was a huge turnaround considering the multi-million dollar deficit recorded 12 months earlier.

“There were a raft of initiatives and tough decisions taken to have us back on a path of financial stability and sustainability.”

Rugby’s governing body said it had restored its cash reserves to 15 million dollars, reversing the annual erosion of the windfall delivered by hosting the 2003 Rugby World Cup.

It said it had cut spending from 80.69 million dollars in 2007 to 73.99 million dollars in 2008, despite increased Super 14 costs and rising player payments.

Total revenue also increased, with net gate takings the major driver, up almost 50 percent from six domestic Tests in 2008.


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