ASF Research Confirms Community Clubs are Under Pressure

ASF Research Confirms Community Clubs are Under Pressure

October 19, 2023

Community Sport

The Australian Sports Foundation’s “Your Sport Your Say” research involved almost 3,000 community sporting clubs across Australia and it has uncovered some worrying trends.

Rising costs and falling revenue are pushing almost one in five (18%) community sporting clubs to the brink of collapse.

More than one in four (27%) clubs are also reporting a decline in registrations among 15-19 year-olds, which could have future implications for the health of the nation and Australia’s proud record as a highly successful sporting nation.

Almost two in three clubs (63%) highlighted their main challenge in the last 12 months was not having enough volunteers.

Against a backdrop of rising inflation, the Clubs Under Pressure report shows that 52% of clubs surveyed report cost of living impacts as a growing barrier to member registrations and more than two in three (68%) have experienced increased running costs, which is a substantial increase from 47% in 2021.

For these clubs, running costs have increased on average by $20,529 and 28% reported a decrease in their financial reserves in the last 12 months, with an average of a $30,891 drop in cash reserves among this group.

Local sport has long been the backbone of community health and cohesion as well as being a breeding ground for Australia’s sporting success. But it is now at a crossroads.

“The clubs and their hard-working volunteers have done a magnificent job staying open in the face of unbearable pressure from high inflation, extreme weather events and Covid-19. But we have now got to the point where many clubs – especially the smaller ones – may have no choice other than to close their doors. This could have serious long-term consequences for physical and mental health and social cohesion, as well as restricting opportunities for budding young sports stars to fulfil their potential.

“With the countdown underway to the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the time has come for us all to give back to local sporting clubs which have contributed so much to Australia and helped shape who we are as Australians.”

The ASF commissioned this research to identify the issues facing community sports clubs, as well as ways to better support the sector and build the resilience of our community sporting organisations.

The data in the Clubs Under Pressure report has been segmented by club size in order to more accurately determine how various pressures are impacting community sporting clubs differently.


  1. Almost one in four small clubs are considering closing
  2. Rising costs are impacting participation and pushing many clubs toward insolvency
  3. Teenagers are continuing to disengage with community sport
  4. Clubs are struggling with less volunteers and more administration
  5. Clubs want investment in facilities, participation and volunteer support ahead of 2032

As well as graphs and data, the report includes de-identified quotes from respondents who share insights in their own words, which other clubs may benefit from.



The Your Sport Your Say research found that only 17 per cent of clubs who completed the survey currently use the online platform, so there is an opportunity for more sporting clubs to both reduce the burden on their volunteers through online fundraising and reward their supporters with tax-deductibility for their donations.

Set-up your fundraising project or make a donation to your local club before the EOFY to ensure it can continue to deliver important participation initiatives and support its volunteers.

The ASF thanks everyone for taking the time to participate in the extensive survey and congratulates those clubs who were successful in their application for cash grants.

This research report is the first of a two-part release of the Your Sport Your Say 2023 research findings.

Over 2,000 athletes also completed a survey with the Athlete Research Findings to be released in July

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