ROBINS co-promoter Gary Patchett believes the long-term financial stability of speedway needs to be addressed when the sport’s AGM begins today.
Promoters from across the country will meet in Coventry for three days of talks, with question marks hanging over the futures of a number of clubs from Elite League down to National League level.
As well as agreeing next season’s team building points limit and discussing the future of the Knockout Cup, Patchett believes every club needs to take collective responsibility after a weather-ravaged season to ensure the sport’s future.
“The biggest problem we hit last season was the weather, and we have just come out of the worst summer in living memory where at Swindon we suffered 21 rain-offs, with the majority of them at home,” he said.
“There are hidden costs there with rain-offs like track preparation and riders travel, and these costs never get recovered even though we re-stage meetings.
“Every club has suffered as a result of the weather and you can’t understate the costs of it, but you can’t say the weather was 100 per cent responsible for speedway’s issues.
“It is the annual problem that we go into AGM with doubts over the future of clubs, and money is the root cause.
“We have got to see what we can do to improve the financial stability of every club in the country, and we have to look at what we can do to reduce our costs as it is easier to save a pound than make a pound.
“These are hard times and people don’t have the same disposable income they had three or four years ago, we don’t want to put prices up but our costs are not going down. We have to address the cost issue because when we put a team together we commit to that team’s cost for the whole season.
“The issues are going to centre around maintaining the number of clubs in the sport at the moment, and find a base where financial stability can be achieved for everyone.”