Half Flemish sports clubs in grave financial trouble

Half Flemish sports clubs in grave financial trouble
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Half of the Flemish amateur sports clubs are in financial difficulties due to the sky-high energy prices. The results were revealed by a survey of 750 clubs by the Flemish Sports Federation, the umbrella organisation of 65 sports federations in Flanders.

The organisation has asked Flemish authorities for support. Sports clubs are still recovering from the Covid-19 crisis and the energy crisis is now adding to the difficulties. The average advance bill of Flemish amateur clubs has become almost 2.5 times more expensive in recent months.

17% of sports clubs are running at a loss and 30% are on their last financial reserves. The majority of the other clubs indicated that they can just keep their heads above water while a mere 18% said they are still in good financial shape. Most are lowering or switching off entirely their heating in order to reduce energy bills.

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Clubs are also looking for additional sources of income: 7% have already increased membership fees and more than a third are looking for additional sponsors and subsidies or organising extra actions such as food festivals.

"We want to prevent people from falling by the wayside because they can no longer pay the membership fee of the sports club," said general director of the Flemish Sports Federation, Pieter Hoof. "That is why we urgently request financial support from the governments for the entire organised sports sector."

The Flemish Sports Federation wants clubs to have access to free energy scans to map their consumption, and for government help with energy-saving investments. The organisation represents more than 18,500 sports clubs with a total of 1.4 million members.

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