Future of Northern Athletics in doubt

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An alarming update on the Northern Athletics website implies the future of the organisation could be in doubt.

Northern Athletics (NA) was established in 2007 when England Athletics took over control of the sport in England.

Before NA was instated North of England AA was the body in charge, and they funded their operations through an athlete registration scheme which charged each sportsperson £2.50 and from unattached road race levy fees. Both of these sources of income were taken by England Athletics.

Since NA took over, they have funded the continued athletic competitions they provide by using the reserves it had built up, along with money received from: entry fees; sponsorship; gate/programme sales and equipment hire.

England Athletics have also provided competition grants in recent years. For the 2013/14 year, this sum is £37,000.

Despite their above sources of income NA has an annual shortfall of £50,000, and this figure more than doubles when sponsorship and England Athletic contributions aren’t provided.

It is thought that the amount of money England Athletics provide to NA will significantly drop in the future, which has caused concern over the organisations existence from 2015 onwards.

A message on the NA website read: “As many of you may already be aware NA is likely to cease operations in the next two to three years if additional funding is not forthcoming. Please take part in our short survey and tell us what you want with regard to the future of Northern competition.”

The deadline for completion of the surveys is Friday, February 14, with consultation meetings across the NA area expected to be held in the same, and following month.

The online questionnaire, targeted towards: athletes; coaches; officials and general club members, asks questions such as:

-Should Northern Athletics continue to provide competition post 2015?

-Questions regarding Development pathways for athletes and officials.‚Ä®

-Whether people would be willing to pay £3 per year to ensure NA’s future.

Plus a few others.

NA currently provides competition across a variety of disciplines: track & field (indoor and outdoor); cross country championships and relays; road relay championships and some distance races within open races.

The NA website added: “This provision, we believe, through events supported by NA, provides both a key development pathway for athletes and officials hoping to progress to national and/or elite level whilst also delivering an important level of competition which for some people is the pinnacle of their athletic or officiating careers. This is important for the sport as it recognises the different goals ranging from grassroots to elite.”

There is just under one month remaining for the online surveys to be completed, the results of which will help shape the future of NA. The survey can be found here.