There are at least 70,000 community sports clubs across Australia with approximately 15-16 million Australians playing sport each year.
When the global pandemic hit in early 2020, almost all community sport ground to a halt and had a major impact on sporting clubs and individuals across the country.
A survey from the Australian Sports Foundation found that even with the return to community sport as restrictions ease, the participation rate may be impacted due to a number of factors.
With people losing income or being out of work, they may need to prioritise their spending and the luxury of sporting activities may no longer be a priority for some.
Also, with long periods of inactivity some players may find it hard to become motivated to return to their old clubs, as they may have found other interests to pursue when sport was off the table.
There are also health concerns, as the pandemic continues, which may deter people from returning based on their own or their family health situation.
A lower participation rate will have a big impact on those small community clubs who will have already taken a hit financially due to lost membership revenues and sponsorship.
According to the ASF survey, 1 in 4 clubs are at risk of closure if they do not receive adequate financial support.
This would mean over 16,000 community sports club would not survive and that would be a travesty for a country so rich in sporting history.
To view the ASF survey in full go to https://covid.sportsfoundation.org.au/