While most winter sports in Western Australia are back in action this month, more than one in three participants have not yet returned to playing venues.
A survey by SportWest, the peak industry body for sport in Western Australia, has revealed that registrations across sports (junior and senior) are down by 29 per cent compared with the same time last year.
More than 65 per cent of State Sporting Associations that responded to the survey attributed the reduction in player numbers to the direct impact of the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown of sport. Nearly 35 per cent of respondents said affordability was the main driver for lower registrations, suggesting the economic impact of COVID-19 on households was having a flow on effect on community sport.
SportWest Chief Executive Rob Thompson said while community sport was getting back on its feet, the impact of COVID-19 would be felt for some time.
"It has been fantastic to see Western Australians active and returning to organised sport thanks to the commitment of club members and volunteers.," Mr Thompson said. "But many in the sports sector and club land are doing it tough. There has been limited to no revenue coming through the door for many months and one in three club members are yet to return to their sport of choice.
"This is a challenge for our community. Sport plays a crucial role in the physical and mental well-being of our society and it is really important that everyone has the opportunity to join their local sports clubs. We urge all those participants who are yet to reregister with their local club to make contact now and return to enjoying their sport.," he said. "For those in the community who are doing it tough financially, there are a number of options available through your club or State Sporting Association to help get you back in action."