Clubs like Vale of Lune will be hit hard by loss of income due to the Covid-19 pandemic

As the Covid-19 pandemic deepened it came as no real surprise that sporting fixtures of all persuasions nationwide would be postponed for a lengthy period of time in the interests of public safety and will have massive consequences locally for clubs, be they professional or amateur, but many are certain to suffer huge hits financially.

Tuesday, 24th March 2020, 2:03 pm

Loss of income for clubs, both large and small, will vary enormously ranging from sponsorship, revenues from broadcasting rights, admission charges, sales of programmes, loss of revenues from bars and catering and not just on match days, because many clubs rely on their facilities being used for outside functions, conferences, weddings, birthday celebrations and funeral teas on a daily basis.

In this respect the Vale of Lune is no different; a shutdown will seriously damage their revenue stream which can be offset slightly because there will be no coaches required for away games or other match day expenses such as provision of meals.

There will be a slight reduction in the heating and lighting bills linked to the changing rooms but these will be miniscule compared with the decrease in cash flowing over the bar which is inexorably linked to the clubhouse being open for a miscellany of events.

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Vale of Lune's season has come to an end. Picture: Tony North

The closure of the club on Powderhouse Lane will impact directly on people’s lives and their livelihoods, not only staff, both full time and part time, but also those involved in the supply chain.

Essential groundwork is carried out by dedicated volunteers who usually work in isolation, but grass and weeds are not going to stop growing, and this is going to be another challenge over the coming months.

The English Rugby Football Union’s decision to end the season did not come totally out of the blue, there are certain to be concerns expressed by the owners of clubs in the Gallagher Premiership and Greene King IPA Championship and they are trying to find solutions, but for the vast majority of community clubs it is a fait accompli, there are no get out clauses for them.

For the Vale of Lune their North One West season has abruptly ended with five games to play and an outstanding John Burgess Lancashire Cup semi final.

With a line being drawn under the season the Vale finished in ninth place in the table, the seconds were next to bottom in Cotton Traders Conference C, the thirds were tenth out of the 12clubs in John Tricketts and Son Division Four North, the fourths should have also been in the same league but they were disbanded before the season even started.

The cessation of hostilities does mean that Vale have valuable time to reflect on how the season went, a number one priority being able to stem the tide of a chronic shortage of players on a seemingly regular basis.

Drawing up plans for the future of the club as a whole must be high on the agenda, a window of opportunity has unexpectedly arrived in the most harrowing of circumstances, all ideas and proposals should be considered and in these troubling times could well act as a metaphorical bridge over troubled 
waters.