Professional sport’s heavy toll on the amateur ranks

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Safe in the confines of his home, Lindsay Kerr laments the damage that professional sport has done to amateur sport. Few codes have escaped the greed that professional sport has created, he suggests.

One example is on our doorstep in North Canterbury, where our premier club rugby lesser extent, cricket struggle to survive financially because money is sucked into the professional arms.Lindsay KerrAs we continue to hunker down in our attempt to ward off Covid -19, it is timely to reflect on our fast-paced modern society.

This spiralling pace has not forgotten sport, where competition was once, for the majority, mostly amateur.

Today, few codes have escaped the greed that professional sport has created.

Perhaps New Zealand has escaped the absolute greed factor that some of the high-profile sports in the Americas, Britain and Europe have created, but money taken for sport in New Zealand to survive at this level has bought a good slice of the amateur sport to the bread line.

No better example of this is on our door- step in North Canterbury where our premier club rugby, and to lesser extent cricket, struggle to survive financially because money is sucked into the professional arms.

For more than 60 years, a Canterbury Sub Unions (North Canterbury and Ellesmere) representative side has played games at home and away.

This was not so in 2019, with a lack of money preventing it.

With cricket, our local representative side is treated with a little more respect, being included in the Hawke Cup competition (cricket’s equivalent of the Heartland Rugby competition).

However, like rugby, the money chain leans heavily towards the professional game.

There are worrying suggestions that the Hawke Cup competition has a limited life because of the costs involved.

Just perhaps, when life as we know it returns to normal might be might not be so pronounced.

Perhaps the professional game might not be permitted to soak up so much of its funds on overseas travel, and the huge expense that goes with it, leaving a little more for the amateur game.