HPA News on Covid-19 for Club Members

Update No 3 for Clubs and Members

The Covid-19 situation continues to evolve rapidly and is creating a worrying situation for all of us, with the uncertain economic times ahead. During this time our priority must be to ensure the safety and wellbeing of everyone in the sport and for the HPA to give as much guidance as possible to clubs and members in response to the Government’s guidance as it develops in the coming weeks. 

The HPA has a duty during these challenging times to try to protect the fabric of the sport and the polo community which stretches well beyond just clubs and players. We will continue to work hard to keep open our ability to play this season and will update clubs and members further as we get nearer to 1st May. 

In the meantime, we need to take some significant action with regard to our immediate running costs and overheads, circumstances that many clubs and members are also facing at this time. We can anticipate significant reductions in income for the current year and some uncertainty as to how this will recover in future seasons. In particular, we expect our sponsorship and licensing income to be dramatically lower this year, with the challenge of rebuilding this income stream in future years and income from passports, migrant endorsements, coaching and umpiring are assumed to be dramatically reduced or minimal in the current year.

The largest cost over which we have control relates to the people employment costs, which we have halved. David, Olly and Lucy have agreed to a 40% reduction in annual salary as the skeleton office team so that we can field enquires and provide support, and Looby, Will and Caroline are furloughed on the government scheme from 1st April. In addition, outstanding discretionary expenditure is on hold for the current year and we have reduced the budget for administrative costs in all possible areas.  

As a result of these actions to reduce costs and expenditure in both commercial and governance and a conservative view on income, we anticipate an overall loss for the current year. We will continue to work towards reducing further discretionary expenditure in the coming weeks and a further cutting of costs may be required.

We fully recognise these are challenging and uncertain times for everyone in the sport, including for the clubs as they consider maintenance of grounds, running costs and their staff. To function even at a much reduced level the HPA and clubs still require some level of income. The HPA is very grateful to those who have paid already but so that the fabric of the sport can survive through this crisis we would ask members to support their clubs at this time and both clubs and members to pay their club affiliation fees and membership annual subscriptions as soon as they are able.

It is too early to judge the longer term consequences for both commercial and governance activities, and the impact on our sport, but we will be reviewing carefully our future structure and overheads, balancing the needs of our clubs and members and our responsibilities as the governing body with our ability to fund these activities.

Best wishes 

Nick Wiles – Chairman HPA

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