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Sport England funding for RFU reduced

Published: 16th May 2011 22:29

The Board of Sport England has reduced the funding available to the Rugby Football Union (RFU) and the Rugby Football Union for Women (RFUW) by £1.078 million.

The reduction was made in agreement with the RFU, in the light of disappointing rugby union participation figures shown in the Active People Survey over the last couple of years, and a recognition by the RFU that it will not achieve the participation growth commissioned through Sport England's 2009 - 2013 investment. Following discussions with Sport England, the governing body has agreed to accept a reduction in investment alongside a renegotiated participation goal.

Rugby ball

Sport England's Chief Executive, Jennie Price, said: "The decision to reduce funding to the RFU was not taken lightly, but Sport England has been clear that failure to achieve the agreed growth in its sport would lead to a governing body's overall funding levels being reviewed.

"I am glad that the RFU has acknowledged that the challenge for rugby union is to stop the decline in participation and to inspire new and former players to get out on the pitch enjoying this great game in all its forms.

"We strongly support the approach being taken by the new leadership team at the RFU and the priority now being given to the grassroots game. Our discussions with the RFU have given us confidence that the very significant investment we are still making in rugby union will deliver value for money."

The RFU's plans to recover from the disappointing performance of 2009 and 2010 will see a greater focus on all four forms of the game - 15-a-side, 7-a-side, tag and touch. There will also be more focus on improving the quality of rugby players' experience of the sport at all levels.

The RFU's Chief Executive, John Steele, said: "We have to accept that the failure to meet our Sport England targets over the last few years would inevitably affect the level of funding we receive. However, I now believe we have far more realistic targets for the next two years and we are committed to creating a sound platform for growth as we move towards the home World Cup in 2015."

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