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And you thought USA Rugby was in bad shape from huge financial losses stemming from RIM's faulty investment strategy, and, more shocking, the significant deficit from hosting the Rugby Sevens World Cup in San Francisco.
Well, these domestic problems do not compare to the possible bankruptcy of one of the most storied rugby unions in the world, South Africa. Recent reports question whether the SARU can continue to fund rugby in that country after reporting a loss of revenue of Rand 62 million ($4.0 million) last year. Some $2.5 million of the loss comes from the shortfall of expected sponsor monies after South Africa lost the 2023 bid for the Rugby World Cup to France. Deals with MTN, Asics and FNB remain as does the broadcasting deal with SuperSport.
In addition, when two of the country's poorer performing professional sides - Cheetahs and Southern Kings - left for the PRO14 League (UK, Ireland, Italy, and South Africa), this move left a $2.1 million hole.
SARU’s cash reserves are only $1 million, not enough to fund the nation's extensive rugby program. An analysis of SARU's problems can be attributed to declining support for rugby and losing out on the 2023 World Cup bid as the reasons for its low bank balance.
To compound SARU's troubles, some in the government want the removal of the Springbok as both name and icon of the rugby team (and other sports), since it serves as a reminder of the country's apartheid past.