Steve Phillips Trousered Half A Million Quid As Part Of £1.9m WRU Pay-Offs

CARDIFF, WALES - DECEMBER 13: Warren Gatland, (L) who returns for a second stint as the Wales head coach, walks onto the pitch with Steve Phillips (C) the WRU chief executive and Ieuan Evans, the WRU chairman at the Wales Rugby Union photocall held at the Principality Stadium on December 13, 2022 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Steve Phillips Trousered Half A Million Quid As Part Of £1.9m WRU Pay-Offs

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By Paul Jones

Steve Phillips was given a near £500,000 pay off when he quit the Welsh Rugby Union earlier this year.

But the figure – £480,000 – was only a quarter of the £1.9m shelled out to former employees who left over a chaotic 12-month period, including former Wales coach Wayne Pivac and his assistants.

Phillips stepped aside as chief executive in January after revelations and accusations of a “toxic culture” at the game’s governing body.

Phillips expressed at the time his “regret” at the “feelings and emotions expressed” by ex-employees of the union.

Abi Tierney was announced as his permanent replacement in August and will become the first female chief executive of the organisation when she starts in the role in January 2024.

The accounts show the WRU posted a loss of £4.3m in the last financial year.

It returned a turnover of £101.3m – £39.5m of which was generated from match income.

Phillips left in January with his exit coming after the sacking of head coach Pivac and assistants Stephen Jones and Gethin Jenkins.

The WRU posted a turnover of £101.3 for the year ending June 2023, investing £16.1m in its senior men’s and women’s international teams and the age-grade sides.

The investment into professional women’s rugby went up to £2.8m while £37.6m went to the regional quartet, with £27.9m spent on Cardiff, the Ospreys and Scarlets while the Dragons, who are now privately owned, accounted for £9.7m.

A total of 65 per cent of the WRU’s income was derived from staging international matches featuring senior Welsh teams and the commercial activities associated with these teams.

“All the profits made by the WRU Group are fed back into the game in Wales, we are guardians of our game and we take this responsibility very seriously,” said interim WRU CEO Nigel Walker.

“We have a stated policy of maximum reinvestment into the game annually, rather than retaining profits, and we have been able to increase our investment in Welsh rugby by £2.4m, up to £65.3m, despite the tough financial climate our game is facing.

“We continue to explore other avenues to maximise the commercial potential of our game and take great care to prioritise and invest in new areas that will provide a return that we can plough back into Welsh rugby.”

New independent chair Richard Collier-Keywood said: “I think that the team at the WRU has delivered a strong performance against a year full with difficulties.

“These difficulties have cost Welsh rugby significant money as the WRU parted company with some significant individuals including a long serving executive and CEO and also some senior coaches during the year.

“The costs of these changes are disclosed clearly in our accounts and amount to £1.9m.”

“We have also taken a fresh look at some accounting in prior years, and made some restatements which will put us on the correct footing to approach the years ahead.

“These are all fully disclosed in the financial information that we are issuing today”

Departing WRU president Gerald Davies added: “In what proved to be a demanding and at times punishing year on and off the pitch, I can take comfort the WRU acted swiftly on all accounts to ensure foundations have been laid for a successful and optimistic future.

“It seemed at some junctures over the last 12 months the WRU was under a constant barrage of criticism, yet due to the sterling work of our staff and members and amazing effort put in by our clubs we got through turbulent times, and the future is brighter than it was this time last year.”

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