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ASF report says community sports clubs facing uncertain future and financial strife

ASF report says community sports clubs facing uncertain future and financial strife
September 21, 2021

A newly released survey of Australia's 70,000 community sport clubs has found almost all have lost money with thousands facing the risk of going under as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic

Released today by the Australian Sports Foundation (ASF), the Impact of COVID-19 on Community Sport study, charts how the ongoing COVID-19 crisis is taking a serious toll on community sports clubs and organisations across the country.

The survey, which collected 833 responses from clubs, organisations and associations covering 94 different sports, found 83% of respondents reported their earnings were down by an average of $18,500 and 13% feared they would have to cease operating.

Advising that the figure amounted to about 9,000 clubs nationally, ASF Chief Executive, Patrick Walker stated “that's a real in-your-face stat coming out of this that should concern everybody who thinks community sport is valuable.”

Sent out in May before the Sydney and Melbourne lockdowns, Walker believes the situation could now be worse, noting “(clubs) have lost sponsors - because who sponsors community sport - it's your local pub, your local club, café and they're all doing it tough.

"You can't fundraise, you can't hold a sausage sizzle, you can't do a meat raffle in the pub.

"It's members not being able to afford to play sport for themselves or their kids, because they've lost their job.”

He also stated that about two-thirds of clubs worried about retaining players, particularly teenagers, noting “the 11-to-18-year age group appear to be drifting away from sport and getting out of the habits of sport

"Grassroots and community sport isn't really about what happens on the pitch, it's everything that goes around it.

"It's getting together with your mates, it's being active, it's having a laugh, it's forgetting the pressure of day-to-day life, and community sport is fantastic for that."

Other key findings from the report show:

  • 43% of clubs reported reduced participation, most prominent among younger Australians. Both keeping members engaged and finding new members were significant challenges.
  • 42% of clubs lost volunteers due to increased pressures and workload related to implementing COVID-19 protocols.

Back to Sport Fund
To help aid the recovery of the sector, the ASF has launched a Back to Sport Fund and for people who want to make a tax-deductible donation.

To play a role in the recovery, there are three ways in which those who value community sport can help:

  1. Register your club for tax-deductible donations with the Australian Sports Foundation and create a fundraising project;
  2.  Make a tax-deductible donation to your local club; or
  3. Donate to the Australian Sports Foundation Back to Sport Fund to support community sport's recovery from COVID-19. We call on all who value community sport to join us in this campaign and to assist in any way you can.

Click here to download the Impact of COVID-19 on Community Sport report.

Click here for more information on the Australian Sports Foundation.

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