S.R.U. reliance on donations a growing concern

Samoa Rugby Union (S.R.U.) is concerned by its growing dependency on sponsorship from the Government, World Rugby and BlueSky Samoa.

The combined contribution of more than $6.25 million by those three entities is outlined in the S.R.U.'s financial statements for 2017, released earlier this year. 

"This problem has not changed for financial years 2018 and 2019. The S.R.U. relies heavily on the contribution by the local sponsors, fundraising and the grants from the government,"  said the S.R.U. Chief Executive Officer, Faleomavaega Vincent Fepulea'i in a phone interview on Monday.

"This is the struggle on the annual basis,"

According to the report: "The Samoa Rugby Union['s] continuation as a going concern is dependent on the willingness of the following donors [and] sponsors such as the Government of Samoa, Bluesky, S.I.F.A. (Samoa Finance Authority), Gambling Control Agency, World Rugby."

The financial statement of the Union for the year ended 31 December 2017 show a working capital deficit of $1,397,009.

 “These factors raise doubts whether the Union will be able to continue as a going concern and whether it will realise its assets and extinguish its liabilities in the normal course of business and at amounts stated in the financial statements," the statement reads. 

Doubtful debts have reduced from $1.28 million to $954,000 for the 2017 Financial Year. 

For 2017 the World Rugby’s contribution to the S.R.U. amounted to $5.11 million; in the previous financial year the S.R.U. received $4.81 million. 

The report says for the in-kind donations the World Rugby tops with $1.68 million which was allocated for airfares and accommodations for touring teams. 

The BlueSky Samoa Limited in-kind donations amount to $316,848 for phone, internet and other services. 

Gilbert donated rugby balls to the monetary value of $35,679. The team apparel’s with Limited Edition is valued at $234,784 worth. 

Furthermore the report says the Samoa Government grants in 2016 were $1.65 million and in 2017 it decreased to $850,000. 

According to the public accounts for the financial years 2015 to 2018 Government financial assistance to the S.R.U. was to the tune of $2.5 million over the last four years. 

TAccording to public account records for the first six months for F.Y. 2018, $500,000 was given to the S.R.U. as per “financial request from the S.R.U".

In F.Y. 2015, $1 million tala was given to the organisation for financial assistance to carry out its program for the year, according to the public accounts. 

For F.Y. 2016-2018, the S.R.U. received $500,000 each year.

In January, 2019 the S.R.U. chief executive officer Faleomavaega Vincent Fepulea’i said, despite progress being made, there are still financial issues from the past that need to be addressed.

“We’re still not out of the woods yet, but in a far better position than we were before," the CEO said. 

He said S.R.U are now in the process of streamlining everything to become more efficient as an operation:

“Looking at all our programmes, how we can still roll them out while being mindful of spending.”

Regarding the money that comes from World Rugby, Faleomavaega said it is like any other investment:

“It’s not just a handout but an agreement that comes with conditions.

“Our relationship with them has improved significantly in that respect.”

He said the Union has worked hard on governance issues, and being transparent and accountable to World Rugby as those are the things that matter to them:

“It’s quite a lot of money, so we have to make sure they are happy because there’s nowhere else to turn to.”

He said S.R.U make reports to World Rugby quarterly.

“Their finance department as well works closely with us, so it’s an on-going, transparent process.”

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