LONDON (Reuters) - English rugby fell into the red to the tune of 6.3 million pounds in 2011-12 because the timing of the World Cup meant it was unable to host lucrative autumn internationals.
The financial loss had been expected in a year in which England also played only two home games in the Six Nations tournament, said the Rugby Football Union (RFU).
Losses would be covered by profits earned in other years and prospects for the game were bright as England prepared to stage the next World Cup, said RFU CEO Ian Ritchie, who took up his role earlier this year.
"There are many positives in the current accounts and much to look forward to as we head towards hosting Rugby World Cup 2015, especially as 2012/13 already promises record group turnover, contribution and investment in the game," he added.
The RFU, the governing body of the English game, is beefing up its commercial activities ahead of the World Cup. The introduction of seven-a-side rugby to the 2016 Olympics will also help raise the sport's profile.
England lost to France in the quarter-finals of the World Cup in New Zealand last year.
(Writing by Keith Weir, editing by Justin Palmer)