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10 May 2011

Rugby union faces £1.1m funding reduction
BY Pete Hayman

Sport England research found a decline in rugby union participation

Sport England research found a decline in rugby union participation

Sport England has confirmed that it has reduced the funding available to the Rugby Football Union (RFU) by nearly £1.1m after research uncovered a fall in participation.

The decision, which also affects the Rugby Football Union for Women (RFUW), has come after discussions between the funding agency and the national governing body.

According to Sport England's Active People Survey, participation numbers in rugby union have fallen over the last couple of years.

The RFU has also admitted it will not meet growth targets set out by Sport England's 2009-2013 investment, and has now agreed to a reduction in investment along with fresh targets.

Sport England chief executive Jennie Price said: "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."

RFU chief executive John Steele added: "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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