The Rugby Football Union (RFU), has announced its annual results for the year ended June 30, 2010. In summary the highlights for the year were:

– Retained loss £1.1m against retained profit of £6.2m in 2008/9

– Turnover decreased £7.2m from £119.2m to £112m

– Operating profit decreased by £6m from £31.8m to £25.8m

– Profit before tax decreased by £7.1m from £9m to £1.9m

– Net worth increased by £11.7m to £162.4m

– £22.8m invested in grassroots club facilities

RFU Finance Director Nick Eastwood said: “Although down on a strong 2008-09, the past year was in line with expectations. Total revenue was £112m, down £7.2m from £119.2m in 2008-9 but this was mainly due to having three instead of four Investec Internationals and two instead of three RBS 6 Nations home games, which meant a £7.9m decrease in ticket income, from £29.2m to £21.3m.

“Despite the Twickenham match schedule and the economic environment, we delivered a strong financial performance, thanks largely to the RFU’s cost reduction programme agreed early in 2009 to respond to the challenges posed by the global recession.

“Last year’s results clearly showed the strength of the Union’s year-round business starting to come through, with our Conference and Events, London Marriott Hotel Twickenham and Virgin Active Classic Health Club business jointly delivering £10.4m in 2009/10, up from £3m.”

Investment in the grassroots of the game has been maintained despite the pressure on costs caused by the recession and Eastwood added: “We have continued our substantial investment in Community Rugby which in total was approximately £21m. The increase has been boosted by two major Government-funded programmes: the Community Rugby Coaches scheme and the Approved Coaching Centres which received funding in 2009/10 of £2.4m and £1.2m respectively. These are a very significant addition to our coaching and coach development resources and we are grateful to the Government for their continued support.”

RFU Chief Executive John Steele said: “The strong financial performance of the past year in a period of economic downturn has seen the strength of the RFU’s balance sheet continue to grow and net worth increase. We have had a strong year of trading from all of our businesses and for the full year show revenues of £112m, the highest ever with the equivalent match programme.

“At the same time it is crucial to note that the RFU’s core purpose is not to make profits but to invest in growing and developing the game at all levels so over that cycle we are not looking to maximise shareholder return but ensure we are building the rugby infrastructure for the future.

“This has seen £22.8m invested in clubs facilities over the year across all levels of the game, with the RFU helping to improve pitches, clubhouses and changing rooms, floodlighting, disability access, ground maintenance equipment, heating systems, kitchens and the like.

“Our investment in the professional game has been some £25m in total.  We invested £11.5m in the Elite Rugby Department, which covers all England teams and their management, Elite Coaching, Refereeing and Sports Science and Medicine.

“There was also funding of £10m for the Premiership Rugby clubs, which includes fees and bonuses paid to England senior and Saxons players, and £2.3m invested in the RFU Championship, with £800,000 going to clubs in the Anglo-Welsh LV= Cup.

“We must be mindful that economic challenges lie ahead and that we must invest wisely.  The RFU has one goal as the governing body of rugby union in England and that is to support and develop the game at all levels across the country. This means putting rugby at the heart of everything we do and ensuring that we not only drive our revenues as a business but consider carefully how we invest to maximise the benefits to the game.”