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Rugby Football Union (RFU) income breakdown England (UK) 2014-2019

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) is the governing body of rugby union in England.


During the end of the 18th century British public schools, almost exclusively attended by boys from the more affluent upper classes, were governed by strict and often cruel disciplinary action in lessons. In contrast to this, the Masters were almost entirely ambivalent to the activities that took place outside the classroom, the resulting ‘boy culture’ of bullying and brutality quickly became an issue that had to be addressed. In the early 19th century the Headmaster of Rugby School, Dr Thomas Arnold recognized the potential of a group sport activity to occupy the time of the mischievous students whilst simultaneously introducing positive Christian values, in a concept known as ‘muscular Christianity’. The successful use of games as a vehicle for achieving social control in Rugby School lead to a similar application of muscular Christianity across the increasingly expanding number of public schools. Although many schools adopted a form of group competitive activity, the precise rules of the game varied significantly from school to school, and subsequently from club to club, often formed by former public school boy that wished to continue participating in their sport. In the late 19th Century two proponents of the game published a letter in The Times suggesting that "those who play the rugby-type game should meet to form a code of practice as various clubs play to rules which differ from others, which makes the game difficult to play." On 26 January 1871 during a meeting attended by representatives from 21 clubs, the RFU was founded. Although similar unions were organized during the next few years in Ireland, Wales, Scotland, New Zealand, Australia, France, Canada, South Africa, and the United States, the RFU was the first and therefore had no need to distinguish itself from others by calling itself the English RFU. The RFU was a founding member of the sport's international governing body, World Rugby in 1887.


The RFU describes its primary objective as to encourage rugby, and its values, to flourish across England: It promotes and runs the sport, organizes international matches for the England national team, and educates and trains players and officials.


In 2019 the RFU earned approximately 213.2 million British pounds, with the majority of this income is attributed to ticket sales, broadcasting, sponsorship and hospitality and catering. In 2019 the revenue associated with ticket sales was approximately 47.6 million British pounds, an increase of over 17 million British Pounds from the previous year. Similar increases can be observed in the revenue associated with broadcasting, sponsorship and hospitality and catering.

Income of the Rugby Football Union (RFU) in England from 2014/2015 to 2018/2019, by source

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Release date

December 2019


United Kingdom (England)

Survey time period

July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2019

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Statistics on "Rugby in the United Kingdom (UK)"

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