The belts at the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union (HKRFU) will be tightened a notch or two after today's annual general meeting (AGM) reveals that profits from the 1998 Hong Kong Sevens were down considerably. The Hong Kong Sevens, which brings in 90 per cent of the HKRFU's income annually, was badly hit this year by a combination of poor crowds and the downturn in the economy which meant fans and sponsors were spending less. For the first time in the 21-year history of the Sevens, income from the tournament has shown a decrease. It is believed that there was a 10 to 15 per cent drop in revenue from the 1998 Sevens. This has already resulted in the HKRFU cutting down on costs and the forecast for the future after John Chiu, the director of finance, reads his report will be more of the same. 'Our profits have gone down as we have had a bumpy time in the last financial year. Things have not been as good as previously,' said Allan Payne, HKRFU executive director. With the good days out of sight, the HKRFU will scale back on spending on a number of projects. 'Yes we will be shaving back on a lot of activity although our emphasis on the development programme will remain,' said Payne. Tours in-and-out could be a victim of the cost-cutting, while the HKRFU is expected to take another careful look at its multi-million dollar 'Home for Rugby' project. The dream of having its own grounds has been on the cards for the past few years. A site at Chai Wan had been identified and the HKRFU earmarked $30 million last year for it. But this project could be shelved. It is believed that while the huge cost has taken on a significant aspect under the current economic conditions, an ongoing geological survey of the Chai Wan site could also raise questions if the venue is suitable. During last year's heavy rains, one slope alongside the site had slipped leading the HKRFU to undertake a survey. Once the report is out, the HKRFU will decide again if it is feasible to go ahead. 'If it is negative, and if the costs are prohibitive, we might decide to shelve the project,' said Chiu. Last year, at this time, Chiu was upbeat reporting that the HKRFU had $70 million in its reserves. This was boosted by significant profits from the hosting of the Rugby World Cup Sevens in 1997. But with this year's Hong Kong Sevens failing to attract as big crowds, prudence is expected to be the keynote of Chiu's address at this evening's AGM at the Rugby Union Club in Wan Chai.