SA Rugby president Mark Alexander. Photo: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images.

Massive cash injection coming for Saru?

Saru President Mark Alexander stresses the need for reserve funds to protect South African rugby from future financial crises.


SA Rugby president Mark Alexander. Photo: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images.

The South African Rugby Union (Saru) must develop robust reserve funds to sustain the organisation for 18 months in the face of potential crises similar to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Securing Financial Stability for Rugby with Equity Deal

Saru president Mark Alexander is optimistic about finalising an equity deal with American investment firm Ackerley by September.

This deal is expected to provide a vital cash injection, which Alexander insists should be allocated towards creating a reserve fund to safeguard Saru from future financial disruptions.

“It is important to have a reserve fund to cope with another major disruption or natural disaster. We need to be in a position to keep our organisation and members (the provinces) alive and healthy,” Alexander told Netwerk24.

Necessity of a Reserve Fund for Saru

Alexander stressed the importance of a reserve fund for the organisation’s sustainability. Without such a fund, Saru could struggle to meet commercial obligations or broadcast matches, leading to significant financial losses.

“We are fortunate in that we don’t owe anyone money, but our lack of cash reserves is a major concern. What if only the war in Ukraine circles out and we can’t play for a year?” Alexander remarked.

Protecting Rugby’s Provincial Interests

Alexander proposed placing the reserve fund in a trust to ensure it protects provincial interests. This trust should be exclusively for crisis management and not used for other purposes.

“The other part is finding new revenue streams because salaries are growing at a faster rate than the revenue we earn from broadcast rights,” Alexander noted.

Covid-19’s Impact on Rugby Finances

The Covid-19 pandemic severely impacted South African rugby. The disruption of the 2021 British and Irish Lions tour resulted in significantly less revenue for Saru.

The pandemic was managed only through a special savings plan, which saw all stakeholders agreeing to drastic cuts, including salaries.

“We certainly won’t be able to keep the game going (if something like Covid-19 resurfaces) like we have in 2020,” Alexander said.

Prospects for Saru and Rugby’s Future Financial Growth

Despite the challenges, Alexander is optimistic about future revenue streams. He believes that the World Rugby’s Nations Cup, starting in 2026, will generate more money for the sport.

Additionally, South African rugby stands to benefit from tours involving the All Blacks and the Springboks in the coming years.

Saru’s president also noted that the Covid-19 pandemic allowed South African rugby to observe equity deals unfolding globally. This has put Saru in a better position to negotiate its own deals.

“We set September as a goal to get the deal through, but it could be even sooner,” Alexander concluded.


Establishing a robust reserve fund is essential for Saru’s long-term stability. With the potential equity deal with Ackerley, Saru aims to safeguard against future disruptions and ensure the organisation’s financial health.