Community clubs to carry game’s financial burden
Ipswich Rangers president Rohan McPhail believes community sports could be running to save their games at the detriment of cash-strapped clubs this season.
Not to be misunderstood, McPhail wants to see grassroots rugby played as soon as possible. The realist understands, however, if matches are held under conditions where crowds are not allowed it could cripple clubs which rely heavily on the revenue.
McPhail said even a relatively small operation like Rangers could bring in up to $50,000 gross from canteen and bar takings which after expenses was essential money that enabled the club to function throughout the season.
He said if they managed the bar and canteen well, clubs might even be able to bank some of this money for future investment.
"Without the canteen and bar revenue we would be in a bit of trouble and so would a lot of other clubs across all codes," he said.
"The clubs which rely on revenue from pokies, they don't have any money in the till either. We don't really want to run a season where there is nothing to be made.
"You will be running a season which generates no money to save the game. The financial risk will be taken on by the clubs. There will be a lot of pressure on everyone."
Speaking after a teleconference meeting with the B JRU, McPhail said a tentative date for a return to training of June 1 had been set, with a view to games beginning in July and wrapping up by late September because some suburban facilities were shared with cricket.
"It is probably what we anticipated," he said.
"Taking an optimistic approach we'll be able to train from June 1, with games to commence in July.
"With the government's announcement that the kids are starting to go back to school on May 11, we're probably on track to do that.
"It has been great to spend time working on the house but we all need to get out, especially the kids.
"We should all be grateful our country has been able to mange the pandemic so well and try to get back on the field as quickly as we can."
McPhail said if the June start went ahead there was still the potential for most of the season to be played under modified formats.
He said the BJRU had drawn up multiple draws for various scenarios and had been communicating well with community clubs.
"It is likely to be 12 rounds for juniors and 17 for seniors," he said.
"The seniors can go straight back into games, whereas the 12-16-year-olds need to have two or three trials, so there season will be a bit more modified.
"But if we do get the green light, we could start tomorrow.
"If sport does start rugby will not fall behind.
"The QRU have been fantastic through all of this.
"Hopefully, we can get some momentum and the season kicks-off, and we will hit the ground running. The kids are ready to jump into rugby."
McPhail said there was a lot of speculation surrounding what restrictions might be imposed.
He said the sport's governing body was considering a range of suggestions, including limiting crowds numbers, spacing out games and even asking parents to drop their children off and miss watching them play.
"That is not very fulfilling for a parent," he said.
"It (spacing games) could also increase the costs of running the club because you might have a medic sitting around for an hour."