SWINDON Robins boss Alun Rossiter has described speedway’s annual general meeting this winter as ‘make or break’ if the sport is to remain professional in the United Kingdom.

A watered-down product has contributed to speedway’s dramatic drop in attendance figures, according to Rossiter, who revealed the Robins raced at a loss again this season despite continued efforts to increase awareness about the club and sport across the region.

With the future of clubs including Rye House, Peterborough, Lakeside and Coventry all at risk, promoters will soon meet to discuss the sport’s future at the British Speedway Promoters Association (BSPA) annual get-together in Rugby.

And Team Great Britain boss Rossiter has strong opinions to voice to fellow team managers and promoters, particularly regarding the set race night rule and the possibility of introducing one league only.

Rossiter told the Advertiser: “This winter is definitely make or break for me.

“We’ve got to get it right, in my opinion. There are lots of things that need sorting and it frustrates me.

“One league will not work, there are too many teams. Some teams will be able to compete and others wouldn’t if that happened.

“The biggest problem for me is that we’re trying to bring the sport down to a certain level to accommodate a team.

“I don’t think we can do that – we need to make it a far more professional league.

“This year was one of the closest Premiership seasons there has been, but there were too many riders missing – especially on Wednesday when the British league clashed with the Danish league.”

Clubs were hit two seasons ago when Sky Sports pulled the plug on speedway coverage, opening the door for BT Sport to take over broadcasting rights – albeit at a large expense to the sport’s top tier clubs.

At a time where Team Great Britain can boast a World Team Championship silver medal and its own three-times world champion in Tai Woffinden – who regained his crown in Torun on Saturday – Rossiter admits clubs must put a business head on and that the top tier must take priority.

He added: “For many years we’ve been dictated to by the lower league – in what other sport does that happen?”

“Speedway is in a critical state.

“Speedway is a business, and teams must put a business head on and not try to wing it.

“We (the Robins) have bridged the gap for the loss of the TV sponsorship money, that was a massive loss.

“That gap has been bridged by the work that Lee Kilby (commercial manager) completed, but even we still ran at a loss this season.

“But we’ve proven we can get out there. We must have a product to sell, we can’t have something similar.

“It needs to be a professional top league. We can only afford maybe one or two top riders – in an ideal world you want four or five top riders, but that’s not going to happen.

“You’ve got to be realistic and see what’s coming through the turnstiles.”