The Rugby Football Union is the national governing body for grassroots and elite rugby in England, with 2,000 autonomous rugby clubs in its membership.
The clubs are grouped within 35 Constituent Bodies (CBs), comprised of counties – some individual, some combined – the three armed forces, Oxford and Cambridge Universities, England Rugby Football Schools' Union and England Students.
All of this is supported by the RFU's 50 Rugby Development Officers, six Area Managers and 120 Community Rugby Coaches across the country, who provide some 30,000 coaching sessions a year for young people.
The RFU employs approximately 500 paid staff and helps to train and support more than 60,000 volunteers whose roles include:
- Organising rugby activity, including the playing, coaching and refereeing of matches and recreational rugby at all levels
- Supporting the volunteer workforce
- Working with clubs to secure grants and loans for facilities
- Fundraising, handling money and insurance
- Offering medical advice and support
- Committee member/trustee
- Secretarial, administration and clerical help
The RFU endeavours to operate to PLC standards but it is neither a company nor a charity. It is a society established under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014 and is, in layman's terms, a “Friendly Society”. This means that the RFU is owned by its member clubs and aims to make a profit to reinvest in rugby union in England.
Its income is made up of funding from sponsorship, government, ticket sales from international matches at Twickenham, merchandise and licensing, hospitality and catering, a travel company, and television rights.