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S.R.U. secures new vehicles under Covid grant

Samoa Rugby Union has used a Covid-19 World Rugby-support grant to secure two new Ford Rangers to support the new Manu Samoa 15s and 7s head coaches.

The S.R.U. Chief Executive Officer, Faleomavaega Vincent Fepuleai, confirmed that the two new vehicles were purchased under a “lease agreement to own” facility with the motor car dealer.

World Rugby has approved a $750,000 grant (€250,000) to be paid in separate installments to assist the local union to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the sport locally.

Faleomavaega estimates that each vehicle cost $120,000 which will be funded through the Covid-19 grant assistance.

“We managed to get the support from World Rugby for additional upgrade of our head office and to help with two head coach costs,” he said in an interview with the Samoa Observer.

“Those are assistance that is outside of the grant for covid…the minimal cost is about $120,000 [per vehicle] over a 4 years period and we get to lease to own arrangement.” 

Asked if the union had been prudent in terms of its use of the Covid-19 grant, the C.E.O. said the spending arrangement can work as getting reconditioned vehicles will have high maintenance costs, which is not the case for new trucks.

“It’s a must [new vehicles] especially during clinics and tournaments [in the community],” he said.

Previously the 7s head coach position was held by expatriates who used the vehicle from time to time when the coach was on the island. 

And now that the two top positions are held by locals, Faleomavaega said the S.R.U. has limited resources in terms of vehicle.

“Like I said we have always been prudent in terms of cutting our costs,” he said.

“As you can see we have done a lot of changes that World Rugby has helped us with our office, in the academy, the costs to upgrade the dining room and it gave us an opportunity to cover other costs outside of Covid assistance.” 

An overview of the S.R.U. income over the years noted an increase in revenue from 2013 to 2019, though there was also a forecasted drop in 2020. 

Its revenue mainly comes from Government grants, World Rugby grants, sponsorships, test matches and tournament income. An increase in its expenses for game development, competitions, representative teams and administrative costs was also noted. 

For 2013 the S.R.U. income statement was noted with total audited revenue at $7 million and total audited expenses $8 million. 

In 2014 the union recorded $9 million revenue and $8 million expenses, in 2015 it recorded $13.9 million revenue and $13.3 million expenses, a year later in 2016 there was a total of $10.1 million revenue and $10.2 million expenses, 2017 the union recorded $11.2 million revenue and $11.4 million expenses, and in 2018 $ 11.8 million and $11.8 million expenses as well as $12.5 million revenue and $12.2 million expenses.

According to a statement, the union had forecasted a $5 million revenue and $5.7 million expenses for the year 2020 when the pandemic began.

Faleomavaega estimates that $5 million in revenue was lost due to the Covid-19 pandemic and pointed to income loss from major sponsors during international matches, gate takings during matches as well as merchandise. 

Considering the unforeseen impact from the pandemic, he said they have moved to localise some of the positions previously held by expats.

“There is a lot of money from the union that goes towards allowances for players, the high performance staff, technical assistance and advisors, physio and trainers,” he said. 

“In the last 12 months we have been trying to localise other positions like the high performance manager position currently held by Seumanu and two other local guys to become trainers. 

“We are trying to build them up to be able to become Manu Samoa trainers level.”  

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