The International Rugby Board has reaffirmed its commitment to growing the global Game, by announcing a record investment programme for 2014, the second year of its current four-year (2013-16) funding cycle, despite recording a planned operating loss in 2013.
With Rugby World Cup 2015 set to deliver a record commercial programme and global participation at an all-time high of 6.6 million, funding invested and utilised by the IRB in 2014 (excluding Rugby World Cup 2015 related expenditure) will total £50 million.
It is anticipated that the core investment will remain at approximately this level throughout the four-year cycle, forecasting an investment of at least £193 million, eclipsing the previous cycle's £150 million by 29 per cent.
The funding programme includes an increased commitment to investment in player welfare, anti-doping and integrity strategies and men's and women's Fifteens and Sevens competitions, high-performance and development initiatives, including the IRB's Get Into Rugby programme which has attracted more than one million new players to the Game.
The IRB will continue its commitment to increasing competitiveness of the elite international Game via its strategic investment programme, the third phase of which sees a renewed investment of £44 million over four years. The programme, made possible by Rugby World Cup revenues, supports high performance projects and tournaments for targeted RWC level Unions, and has been has been the catalyst behind a two million increase in global participation since 2011.
The IRB's consolidated financial statements for the year ended 31 December 2013 show a budgeted net loss for the period of £45.1 million, as adjusted for International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), which the IRB operates in line with global best practice. Under IFRS, the IRB defers revenues and direct expenditures for RWC 2015 until the year of the tournament. These results are in line with expectations and reflect the IRB's commitment to promoting and developing Rugby worldwide.
The commercial programme for Rugby World Cup 2015 is set to achieve record levels, driven by confidence in the Rugby World Cup brand, particularly in the European market. Revenues are currently in line with budget but ahead of schedule with all worldwide partnerships completed in record time. The IRB also acknowledges the strong continued support of HSBC as the title sponsor for the HSBC Sevens World Series, with Sevens revenues on a strong growth curve.
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