The RFL have today circulated audited and draft group Financial Statements to members for the year to 31 December 2021 which show a profit of £1,008k, allowing the return to a positive group Net Assets position for the first time since 2016.
This additional security for the sport and its governing body has been achieved through effective forecasting, rigorous cost and financial management and a reshaping of the organisation and its cost base - and also the sale of the RFL’s Red Hall office for a profit of £380,000, as part of relocation to the Etihad Campus in Manchester.
As these draft Financial Statements are for RFL (Governing Body) Ltd, they are consolidated group Financial Statements and therefore contain the results for the RFL, RLWC2021 and other group companies rather than simply the trading position of the RFL in isolation.
Following consolidated losses totalling over £2m in 2017 and 2018 combined, the RFL has focused intently on recovery to a stronger financial position, including a rebuilding of reserves and liquidity in order to ensure the governing body is better placed to deliver value to its members and provide financial stability in the sport.
In 2019 the RFL Board set its Reserves Policy target to a value equivalent to a six-month level of cost exposure - the outcome from the 2021 financial year shows progress towards that target.
This out-turn was originally budgeted for by the RFL Board in late 2020 when, following confirmation of the RFL’s Sport Survival Fund Covid-19 recovery package Stage 2 loan terms, a loan repayment would be required in 2021 of around £900k - given the RFL's reserves position at that time, there was a requirement to generate this sum through trading, as it could not be met through existing reserves.
The loan terms were subsequently improved and extended under the Sport Survival Fund Covid-19 recovery package Stage 3 loan terms, which was not confirmed until July 2021 and therefore this planned loan repayment was deferred.
This provides a solid platform for the RFL ahead of realignment with Super League (Europe) to form RL Commercial – and with a view to the financial headwinds being faced by the national economy in the post-pandemic recovery, as well as specific challenges for Rugby League.
Through strong management in a difficult landscape the work that has been completed to date should now position the RFL to meet these combined challenges and commitments.
The Financial Statements will be presented for approval by members at the RFL’s Annual General Meeting, to be held on 13 July 2022, before publication.