Covid-19 pandemic takes toll on private coaches

The cancellations or postponements of major sporting events due to Covid-19 are a blessing in disguise for some national sports associations (NSAs).

This would mean fewer events and thus reduced travelling costs, resulting in better cash flow. Some NSAs quietly admit to have benefited financially since the Movement Control Order (MCO) was implemented on March 18 but at the expense of their athletes not being able to train and compete.

However, sports associations like athletics associations that organise mass events like road races to fund their programmes will be severely impacted.

The real victims, however, are individuals who offer private training as their source of income comes from each coaching session. They have not been able to hold classes during the Movement Control Order that kicked in on March 18.

Veteran sports administrator Datuk Sieh Kok Chi said these people are victims of the pandemic.

“The cutback started from mid-2018. After (winning) GE14, Pakatan Harapan decided to reduce the budgets of most sectors due to shortage of funds. As such, there was a reduction in activities for many NSAs throughout 2019.

“In any case, NSAs like athletics, bodybuilding, tennis, swimming, boxing and golf have always been modest and quiet about their events.”

Sports with good track records at international events continue to enjoy funding from the National Sports Council (NSC).

“So who are the victims of Covid-19? To me, the main ones are individual private coaches whose main or only source of income is coaching fees.”

“There are private coaches in badminton, swimming, golf, fencing, tennis, table tennis, ice skating, gymnastics and martial arts. Due to the lockdown, they can’t hold classes. Even when the lockdown is lifted, their business will not be the same again.

“They need to upgrade their services and skills to survive.”

Sieh added the Covid-19 pandemic caught the world by surprise and that irreparable damages had been inflicted on the human race. The end remains uncertain with no vaccine in sight yet. This would also mean sports will never be the same again with major tournaments cancelled, resulting in massive financial losses for the organisers.

While there will be financial implications, Sieh said this was a golden opportunity for stakeholders, namely the NSAs, Olympic Council of Malaysia, NSC and National Sports Institute, to review strategic plans towards becoming leaner and meaner in order to be more efficient in achieving their main objectives.

“The IMF’s (International Monetary Fund) Webinar has suggested the world be more careful and thrifty. Pay more attention to health and safety. Segregate ‘good costs’ from ‘bad costs’. ‘Good costs’ are modest efficient staffing and frugality while defending honesty and integrity at all times.

“‘Bad costs’ are fancy offices, unnecessary and unjustified spending, over-staffing and bad performers – all of which should be eliminated. Be ruthless in cutting off all non-core businesses. Concentrate only on core businesses. Remove all the flab and be lean and mean.

“Notwithstanding all the negative impacts, NSAs and even OCM should take this opportunity to rise to the occasion and build themselves up to face the new challenges.”

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