ORFU records $96,598 profit

Keith Cooper
Keith Cooper
The Otago Rugby Football Union has recorded a tidy profit for the year while chairman Keith Cooper has announced he is standing down.

Cooper has also come out swinging against a proposal by clubs to have two members added to the board.

The union is set to present its annual report at the union's annual meeting next week and will record an operating profit of $96,598 with a further $35,000 tagged for the capital investment in the final phase of development of the gym and office facility at the Forsyth Barr Stadium.

Otago Rugby Football Union general manager Richard Kinley said undoubtedly the lifting of the Ranfurly Shield would be the main highlight for Otago in 2018.

"Having the shield over the summer months is providing a fantastic opportunity for the union to promote rugby to people of all ages across the province as well as sharing and celebrating with our partners both commercial and in the community," he said.

The community game remains steady and overall player numbers have shown a 4% growth over the past four years.

This consists of growth at junior level, a decline in secondary-aged players and numbers of players over 21 static.

Otago's coach-to-player and referee-to-player ratios both sit above the national average. The province has 661 coaches and 104 referees involved.

There was a 3% increase in registered coaches and an 11% increase in female players while overall player numbers remained static.

In 2017 there were 7914 registered players while last year there were 7903.

The profit was helped by very few injuries to New Zealand Rugby-contracted players, meaning other players did not have to be brought in.

Another contributing factor was having an All Black - hooker Liam Coltman - assembled with the All Blacks side for a long period, resulting in a rebate received and his replacement managed from within the Otago squad.

Cooper said in the annual report he was standing down and would move on some time in the next few months.

He had been on the board since 2012, when a new board came in as a new constitution was introduced as the union flirted with going out of business because of bad debts.

Cooper said it was important to emphasise the ORFU was a business, reliant on donations, sponsorship and grants from a variety of organisations, which must have confidence in the governance and management of the organisation.

"To achieve this, the union must continue to be led by skilled and competent directors with support from ORFU staff," he said.

"It was quite clear at the time of the 2012 rescue that independent appointment on the board was paramount and the board must be skill-based appointees and not representatives of stakeholders. The success of your ORFU over the past seven years lays testimony to that," he said in the report.

Clubs were looking for two representatives to go on the board to represent their interests and discussion is set to take place next week.

Cooper said in addition to the governance and management structure of the union it also had the the Metropolitan Rugby Council and the Otago Country Rugby Board which were, both important connecting groups to grassroots stakeholders.

"It is critical these two sub-groups of the ORFU also attract the suitably skilled people and that our stakeholders have confidence in those groups to escalate ideas, opportunities and issues as required."

The annual meeting is at Taieri Rugby Football Club next Wednesday.


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