The York Sport Union has announced that it will be reintroducing Athletics Union (AU) membership fees for the next academic year.
The fees will stand at £20 for clubs placed into the ‘black’ bracket of membership, whereas clubs placed into the ‘gold’ bracket will only have to pay £10.
Each member of York Sport will now have to make a payment at the beginning of the academic year, with the money raised to be reinvested into facilities, coaching and officiating, physiotherapy, focus sports, development grants and performance equipment.
York Sport believes that, with an AU fee, access to physiotherapy will be increased from fourteen weeks per year to thirty. The money will also be used to fund a pre-Roses training camp, which couldn’t be funded without the fees.
The number of focus sports will also be increased from five to six, with the number of core hours available to sports clubs to use facilities also increasing.
The York Sport Union has also reiterated that it will be conducting spot checks on all clubs to ensure that their actual membership is in line with their AU Fee membership.
Students will pay the fee directly to the Union or to the club itself, who will then be invoiced by the Union for the fees based on their number of members. If clubs are found to be committing any sort of discrepancies with their fees, they will be charged directly by the Union.
Clubs placed in the black membership tier, however, will be the only clubs that have access to increased facility hire by having more core training hours.
Gold tier clubs will have access to all of the other benefits, including the availability of a Go Pro camera. The cost of physiotherapy sessions will also remain at £5.
AU fees are a regular occurrence across the majority of universities in the UK, with charges ranging from £180 at Exeter, to £65 at Bath. £40 fees have been used at York in the past, but they were scrapped for the 2012-2013 academic year by the York Sport President at the time, Sam Asfahani, in order to alleviate the extra financial burden of rising university fees.
However, this has been reassessed under current president Cass Brown as YUSU looks for new ways to balance out its ever-tightening budget.
Several several clubs have loudly expressed their concerns about the new fees.
Sean Bossick, a member of the Shooting Club, told Nouse: “Shooting is a small club, and our activities are relatively expensive. It’s likely that a generalised fee will put off many potential members from joining and that we won’t see any increased funding from it to offset our costs.”
However, a number of other clubs, including men and women’s football, rugby and netball, voted in favour. Guy Bowden, the football club president, told Nouse, “To continue improving sport at York, we must sustain the development and and build on the great work over the last few years.
“The football club have reaped the benefits of the 3G and wish to be part of further improvements in facilities and services. For York Sport to continue moving forward, it needs the extra funding; hence our vote in favour.”
In defense of the fees, Cass Brown told Nouse: “York Sport Union has introduced the AU Fee in order to sustain our activity and develop our clubs and athletes.
“There are so many benefits to the fee and all money paid into the fund is directly re-invested back into our clubs’ experience. The fee will help fund facility hire, physiotherapy, pre-Roses training camp, development grants, education and training and performance equipment. Initially we proposed a one-off £20 fee for all club members however based on feedback from our AGM we took on a two-tiered approach of £20 for clubs that use facilities and £10 for those that don’t.
“Thankfully, clubs voted in favour of the fee introduction and this will be implemented next year. The AU fee is a huge step in helping the York Sport Union develop and compete with the best sporting institutions in the country and every penny will be reinvested back into the sporting experience of our members.”