Test should help but tough year ahead, ORFU told

A test in Dunedin this year is on the horizon, which will boost the Otago Rugby Football Union coffers, but it is going to be a tough year financially.

At the union’s annual meeting last night, the battle faced by the union during the Covid-19 pandemic was outlined.

ORFU board member and chairman of the board’s audit risk committee Peter McCormack said it had been a hell of a year and it was not over yet.

Things were constantly changing and nothing could be taken for granted.

The union spent much of its time when the pandemic hit wondering whether any rugby would be played and how that would impact on its operations.

The union made a profit of $527,349 but that was only possible from getting the wage subsidy and assistance from sport resilience funding.

McCormack said income for the union was down by $900,000 and trust funding dropped by $45,000.

Otago was well below what other unions took from trusts, he said.

Some unions took upwards of $3million in trust funding annually yet Otago took only $160,00 per annum.

Trust funding was regionalised so bigger unions could get more access to funds.

Staff and player wage cuts saved $368,000.

The union had taken significant advice from the Ministry of Social Development and New Zealand Rugby on whether it could take the wage subsidy and decided to take it.

Ministry of Social Development figures show the union took more than $500,000 in wage subsidy payments.

McCormack warned the union was looking at a significant shortfall this year.

There was a test match being lined up, he said but it was not a done deal and plenty of things could happen.

Typically the union made $100,000 from hosting a test at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

Potentially it could lose $500,000 and be back to square one but he was hopeful of a better result.

Board chairwoman Rowena Davenport said the main thing last year was the game survived, matches were played and the rugby community came together to help each other.

There were two new faces elected to the board.

Dunedin businessman Jeffrey Broughton and Arrowtown executive Amy Wilson-White come on to the board, replacing John Latta and Garry Chronican.

The new duo have been appointed for a three-year term.

Broughton is a management consultant at Findex in Dunedin and specialises in strategy development, leadership and performance improvement.

He is deputy chairman of Sport Otago, associate director of Ngai Tahu Holdings and was the recipient of the IOD emerging director award in 2017.

Wilson-White is chairwoman of the Arrowtown Rugby Club and was the founding chairwoman of Arrowtown Junior Rugby in 2007.

She is the club’s delegate on the Central Otago council of clubs and has experience in developing governance framework for commercial business. Her business background is in resource management planning and she is executive assistant to Queenstown Lakes Mayor Jim Boult.

More than a dozen candidates sought election to the board which was decided by a board selection panel.

Paul Allison and John Hammer were named on the board selection panel, with Hammer replacing Paul Dwyer.

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