Junior sporting clubs may collapse in six months
A quarter of all grassroots sports clubs are at risk of closure in the next six months if they are not thrown a financial lifeline.
A report from the Australian Sports Foundation said Australia's 70,000 community sports clubs needed $1.2 billion in funding to help keep them afloat.
Closure of ground canteens, registered players quitting and the loss of sponsorship deals with local businesses has so far cost them a total of $1.6 billion in lost revenue.
Ninety-one per cent of small clubs suffering a hit to their incomes reported they still had to pay outgoings including utility bills, affiliation fees, maintenance and rent.
Small sports clubs in NSW need $12,314 on average to keep their operations going following the COVID-19 slump in revenue while large clubs require $28,181, the report said.
The survey of more than 4000 clubs also found 70 per cent had suffered a reduction in participants while 43 per cent saw a fall in volunteers.
"Our survey shows that without financial support thousands of community clubs risk insolvency in the months ahead which presents a real risk to the physical and mental health of our communities," Australian Sports Foundation chief executive Patrick Walker said.
"These clubs are about more than the sport itself, they are the lifeblood of communities all over Australia. They are made up of individuals who pay utility bills, shop at supermarkets and fill up at petrol stations."
He said he wanted to work with political, corporate and philanthropic leaders to try to fix the funding shortfall.
Padstow Hornets Football Club general manager Greg Peddie said their small club of 280 members had lost thousands in canteen revenue this year forcing them to hunt in bargain bins for essentials like soccer balls.
"It is not just this year, it is next year, I am worried about players not coming back next year who are living in fear this year," he said.
Originally published as Junior sporting clubs may collapse in six months without help