Rugby: Union avoids the red

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Hawke's Bay Rugby Football Union's revenue dropped by more than $300,000 for the second consecutive year during the 2012 financial year ... but it still avoided the red.

Union financial whiz Kevin Atkinson reported a 15th consecutive surplus at last night's 128th annual meeting of the union in Napier. It was $11,559 - $14,635 less than forecast.

Atkinson told the meeting $10,000 of this surplus will be distributed back to the clubs and payments will be made by the end of next month.

He pointed out revenue dropped from $4,532,991 in 2011 to $4,214,681 last year. Costs were also reduced by just over $300,000.

ITM Cup game income increased by more than $94,000 to $246,841.

"This showed the impact of the Rugby World Cup the previous year. Many fans saved their money for World Cup games the previous year and this impacted on our revenue ... the discretionary dollar isn't as great as it used to be," Atkinson explained.

The union's equity is $706,526, close to the $1 million mark Atkinson is striving for as he believes this is the amount required to compete at the highest level.

The union was still able to invest $962,660 into development expenses. Atkinson has predicted a $21,389 surplus for the 2013 financial year and said a better performance by the Magpies will help achieve this.

Seventy-one per cent of the union's revenue came from sponsorship, 21 per cent from New Zealand union grants and seven per cent from game income. Atkinson reminded delegates the union had not received a Hurricanes dividend for the last four years and is no longer a shareholder of the Hurricanes.

Expenses related to the Magpies ITM Cup team dropped from $1,951,187 to $1,808,941.

Hastings Rugby and Sports club delegate Jack Sanders raised a concern about players being brought into the province not performing last year.

Union CEO Mike Bishop said the concern was a shared one and pointed out Hawke's Bay born and bred players also didn't produce the goods last year.

He said the pool of talent for ITM Cup squads was getting smaller.

"Our ITM Cup crowd figures are still the best in the country and we create a great atmosphere here," Bishop added.

No elections were required for the various officers this year and they are:

Patron, Neil Thimbleby; president, Blair Furlong; chairman, Brendan Mahony; directors, Kevin Atkinson, Dan Druzianic, Peter Fleming, Grant Gilbert (co-opted schools representative), Steve Lunn, Neil Pulford, Taine Randell, Simon Tremain.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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