Luke Smith with the ball for Bingera earlier this season. Clubs like Bingera could be fighting to survive, even if sport resumes next month.
Luke Smith with the ball for Bingera earlier this season. Clubs like Bingera could be fighting to survive, even if sport resumes next month.

The time is now to support our clubs

OPINION: It has been weird seeing no sport, reporting on limited sport and not being able to get involved in the local, national and international scene as the winter sports hit.

It’s been hard at times like I’m sure it has for others.

And it seems sport is slowly coming back, with organisations announcing their comeback this month, next month or in July.

But while that might be a great thing for all of us, it definitely won’t all be happy times and good memories when people go back on the field.

And I’m not talking about losing.

I read a fascinating article on the weekend that talked about what will actually happen when play resumes and some clubs being worried they will run at massive losses.

Grassroots clubs rely on sponsors and then gate tickets to fund themselves, pay the players in some cases and cover operating costs.

A few clubs in Bundy also rely on their affiliated sports clubs, Brothers and The Waves.

The biggest issue is that both Brothers and The Waves are shut down right now and will have to focus on resetting their businesses first before helping sporting teams.

That is not to say they won’t be able to do both but it is going to be tough.

Then there is the issue of sponsors.

Most businesses in Bundaberg right now have their attention on getting back to normality and trying to recover from the pandemic lockdown, rather than spend money sponsoring clubs.

It looms as a potential nightmare for clubs.

The next factor is gate receipts.

If sport resumes, it is likely to be played with limited crowds or no crowds at all.

Events will probably have no spectators or be limited to fewer than 500.

For clubs that rely on gate receipts, or for associations such as the Bundaberg Rugby League that rely on it, that could be crippling.

So it’s a triple threat for clubs despite the joy of returning to the field.

There is a genuine chance some clubs may not survive it.

Clubs that are almost 100 years old could be gone forever.

So why am I highlighting all this?

Simple.

The time is now to support your club.

Get involved in fundraisers, get involved in helping your club, make sure you can help them in any way.

Western Suburbs have started to encourage this on social media, with others expected to follow suit.

And if you need to pay your fees despite not playing a full season keep the club afloat, then you might just need to do that.

Times are tough, I get that, and it isn’t getting better in the short term as many people deal with losses.

But to lose clubs would be shocking.

Through this year we’ve all been required to stick together to get through the coronavirus pandemic.

Now more than ever we need to do the same to make sure our clubs and associations get through this.