Reflecting on his other role as FD of England Rugby Limited, the body governing the 12 professional clubs in the Zurich Premier League, Eastwood highlighted their improved financial status.
‘Combined losses for the 12 rugby clubs has fallen from as high as £15m in 2000 to just £3m in 2003. In addition, the clubs have succeeded in reducing their players’ wage bill from around 76% of turnover a few years ago to a respectable 50%,’ said Eastwood.
He pointed to the Leicester Tigers as an example, describing the outfit a ‘thriving commercial operation’.
The RFU is also in a strong financial position under the stewardship of Eastwood, having last month completed the repayment of a £38m loan to redevelop Twickenham Stadium. The club’s cash reserves stand at £23m.
Eastwood also said the introduction of a wage cap for players had resulted in a far more competitive game, with no one club dominating, unlike the situation with Manchester United in football’s Premiership.
‘Of the two sides at the top of the league this season – Bath and Harlequins – Bath only narrowly avoided relegation last season.’
England begin their campaign to be crowned world champions against lowly Georgia on Sunday.
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