RFL makes small profit in 2020

The RFL has reported a profit for the second consecutive year in 2020, despite the major disruption caused by Covid-19.

The draft Annual Report and Financial Statements distributed to clubs and other Council members ahead of the Annual General Meeting later this month detail a £25,000 profit, following a profit of £75,000 for 2019.

This was despite the impact of the pandemic, most significantly through the cancellation of the home Ashes series scheduled for the autumn of 2020, and the absence of spectators from the Challenge Cup Final at Wembley, which was put back from July to October.

The RFL maintained its financial position through a combination of cost reductions and Government support.

Staff costs were reduced by £363,000, with RFL employees and directors taking voluntary reductions to support the sport as well as some restructuring, in addition to some employees’ wages being supported by the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme (furlough).

That followed a reduction in staffing costs of 27 per cent over the previous three years.

The RFL also worked with Government on the distribution of loan support provided to the sport, with more than £14m of an initial loan facility of £16m released in 2020, and an additional £16.7m made available in early 2021.

The RFL administered the application process internally on behalf of Rugby League as a whole, to avoid significant costs being incurred by the clubs during the process, which was then replicated in a number of other sports.

The accounts also acknowledge increased support from Sport England, both for Rugby League World Cup 2021, and the Community Game.

In 2020, the RFL Board directed the Executive to put together a five-year financial plan “to map out different scenarios and levels of income to aid planning for the future”.

The Report also confirms the sale of Red Hall, the RFL’s Leeds headquarters since 1995, for £1,750,000 soon after the end of the period covered by the 2020 accounts, as the RFL moves to a single more modern office more suited to an national governing body as part of the Sport City development at Manchester’s Etihad Campus.

The financial statements remain subject to approval at the upcoming AGM and the subsequent signing by both the RFL Board of directors and the RFL’s auditors prior to filing.

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