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The Rugby Football Union (RFU) boosted its grassroots investment by 5 per cent to £32.5m in 2014/15 as its revenue surpassed the £200m mark for the first time ever.

A strong financial year for the governing body, facilitated by the high number of matches played at Twickenham and the hosting of the 2015 World Cup, saw its overall revenue hit £207.9m, up 33 per cent on 2013/14’s figure of £156.2m.

The performance allowed the RFU to plough funds back into grassroots levels of the game, referred to as Rugby Development Investment in its 2015 annual report.

Its £32.5m investment was up on the £31m it parted with over the prior 12 months, as money went towards educational facilities, including its All Schools campaign in which it is attempting to facilitate rugby in 750 state schools which do not currently play the sport by 2019.

At last week’s Rugby Expo, RFU development director Steve Grainger MBE revealed that since the initiative’s inception in 2012, 402 schools had come aboard.

Rugby Development Investment extended to grant payments that form part of the RFU’s facilities legacy programme, with additional money going into womens' and girls’ touch rugby programmes.

The RFU’s Professional Rugby Investment decreased slightly, from £44.6m in 2013/14 to £44.3m over 2014/15, adding to a total overall investment of £76.8m compared to last year’s £75.6m.

Despite the investment, the RFU managed to bank a £7.7m profit for the year compared with 2013/14’s loss of £9.5m.

Of its overall revenue, £36.6m came from hosting the World Cup, while ticket revenue soared by 32 per cent to £34.7m. Hospitality and catering accounted for the highest proportion of the body’s revenue at £43.2m.

Remuneration for the RFU executive team grew by £200,000 to £1.6m, with chief executive Ian Ritchie's salary accounting for £600,000 over the year, including bonuses.

“This was a busy and financially successful year with a retained profit of £7.7m after making a record level of investment directly into clubs and in operating the English game at all levels,” said Ritchie.

RFU chief financial officer, Steven Brown, added: “The financial performance in 2014/15 was exceptionally strong, the RFU delivering a fifth consecutive year of rugby investment growth, which now exceeds Strategic Plan projections by £14m over the past three years.”

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The Rugby Football Union (RFU) boosted its grassroots investment by 5 per cent to £32.5m in 2014/15 as its revenue surpassed the £200m mark for the first time ever.
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