The wider ramifications of the NSW Premier’s ban on greyhound racing are being felt across western Sydney with a kids football club in Londonderry next in the line of fire.
President of the Londonderry Greys rugby league club, Buck Rogers is anxious about a possible $17,000 funding black-hole opening up if the Richmond Race Club goes under due to Premier Mike Baird’s greyhound racing ban.
“If the greyhound club falls then we lose our support and then all of a sudden $17,000 disappears from the coffers of the rugby league club,” Mr Rogers said.
More than 100 children and adults play for the Londonderry Greys across five different divisions, with more than 50 other volunteers, coaches, trainers, referees and club staff involved in the operations of the club.
Mr Rogers doesn’t just have the club’s financial interests at heart, he also has his own personal and emotional interests on the line as well.
“I used to play for this team, my daughter used to play for this team, and about 30 years ago it all went under,” Mr Rogers explained. “Last year, after my daughter died, I decided to get it all back together and get the team training again.”
The $17,000 in sponsorship comes from a deal with the Richmond Race Club as well as the money the team raises through weekly raffles held at the greyhound club race days.
“All up it could be well more than $17,000, I just don’t know because we run lots of fundraising at the race club, and if it closes we won’t have that as our primary
fundraiser,” he said.
Even with the uncertainty of the future of the industry looming large overhead, CEO of the Richmond Race Club, Brad Adam has backed the Greys for the 2017 season, saying he will find some way to offer support to the football club.
“With the looming legislation to be implemented in July next year unfortunately the deal with the Londonderry Greys is going to have to be put pack on the table and questioned,” Mr Adam said. “But I can assure we will offer some form of support to the club in the 2017 season.”
However he said his hopes for a longer and more “synergetic” deal between the Greys and the Race Club will be put on hold for the foreseeable future.
“We’ve been a major support of the team, this was their first year back and they’ve been outstanding,” he said. “We’ll be able to support the club for the next season but we’re unsure as to what will happen after that.”
Member for Londonderry, Prue Car has been a vocal opponent of the greyhound racing ban and has come out in support of the Londonderry football club.
“The tragic consequences of Mike Baird’s cruel closure of the greyhound industry will be felt right across the state,” Ms Car said. “Greyhound clubs that support footy teams like the Londonderry Greys may be forced to close, leaving local sporting clubs in the lurch.”
Recently there have been reports Premier Mike Baird might be rethinking the size and scope of the greyhound racing ban due to the statewide backlash and a plunge in the polls, however late last week Mr Baird said the date of closure was “locked in.”