Sporting clubs across the Moreton Bay Region are refusing to buckle under the pressure of COVID-19 and claims many are in ‘crisis’.
The Australian Sports Foundation’s (ASF) survey headlined ‘Club sport is in crisis’ paints a gloomy picture, saying the COVID-19 shutdown has cost community clubs $1.6 billion.
It says one in four of the 600 respondents (clubs) said they may close. Nationally that would equate to 16,000 community clubs.
In this region, of the clubs and organisation Moreton Daily spoke to, there are reports of clubs losing some players and sponsorship taking a hit – but none of clubs being on the verge of folding. In fact, quite the opposite in some cases.
Caboolture Sports Football Club General Manager Peter Dutton says numbers are virtually unchanged at 870 players in 74 teams.
“We’re fine. We’ve not dropped any teams. The players we lost, we have replaced,” Peter says.
“We still have some wanting to join our junior teams and our sponsors are all good. The only issue I see is if we have to go into lockdown again.”
Football Brisbane (FB) General Manager Rafe Griffin agrees: “We aren’t hearing concerns about clubs’ ongoing viability, but it’s something we’re continuing to monitor”.
Moreton Bay Lions AFL, based at Burpengary, has “kept the status quo”, says chairman Barry Allen. “But our finances are down and our bottom line has been affected. It will be into next year.
“We have decided to half our sponsorship (fees) as sponsors have not had a lot of exposure this year. It’s a question of trying to look after them, as they have looked after us.”
A spokesman for Bribie Island Tigers says the football club has communicated with members throughout the shutdown and suffered only “minimal loss of members”.
Meanwhile, QRL Regional General Manager Glenn Ottway is praising the return of 11 local leagues at the weekend including Brisbane Rugby League, seniors and juniors.
“There was a general excitement to actually be back playing again, regardless of who you were playing, where you were playing or what the result was,” Ottaway says.
However, Shantel Netzler, from Brisbane Junior Rugby Union (BJRU), says membership has fallen 28 per cent and two clubs outside Moreton Bay region are not fielding teams this winter.
Pine Rivers Netball Association President Rachelle Swan says most smaller clubs have lost members due to COVID-19 - and helped some members to ensure a team plays this season.
“Although not in direct danger of folding, these clubs will go into 2021 in debt as they have had no way to support the families with 2019 profit,” Rachelle says.
“At the association level we have found ourselves assisting players of our representative teams.
“We’ve had to financially support these parents and take money from our clubhouse redevelopment that has been waiting for approval for a number of years now.”
Brisbane North Junior Cricket Association (BNJCA) is also preparing for fewer players.
“The biggest problem is winter codes extending to November and pushing into junior cricket’s pre-Christmas season, which is the most popular,” Robert Bailey, from the BNJCA Management Committee says.
“One club already said it will lose four teams. There is a possibility clubs may lose half their numbers pre-Christmas program.”
Moreton Bay Regional Council Mayor Peter Flannery is urging clubs to apply for grants.
“Already many of the more than 630 community groups and clubs who were eligible for $8.5 million in infrastructure and hardship grants have been supported,” Mayor Flannery says.
“That’s 14 times more grants in the past four months, than we would issue in an entire year. I urge clubs that need help getting back on their feet in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic to apply.
“We’re hearing from clubs and state sporting bodies that our support makes a significant difference, especially during these tough and uncertain times.”
To find out more about Council’s funding opportunities, visit www.moretonbay.qld.gov.au/grants/
Moreton Bay Regional Council is also holding a free half day forum for sporting clubs, community organisations and volunteers to help your organisation be successful and financially viable post COVID-19.
Topics at the Moreton Bay Community, Sport and Recreation Flash Forum include:
The forum is on Saturday August 22, 8.45am-1.30pm at North Lakes Community Centre, 10 The Corso, North Lakes.
To register click on the forum name above.
For more information phone 3205 0555 or email SportRecreation@moretonbay.qld.gov.au