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Richmond Rovers Rugby League & Sports Club - Alcohol Free

Richmond Rovers Rugby League & Sports Club to Become Alcohol Free In 2014

Change is on its way at one of Auckland’s oldest sports clubs as Richmond Rovers Rugby League & Sports Club announces a no alcohol tolerance policy at its clubrooms in Grey Lynn Park. The Richmond Rovers Board of Directors has taken the lead to make the 100 year old Richmond Rovers Rugby League & Sports Club an alcohol free club. This means the Richmond Rovers Club will not be serving any alcoholic beverage at the club in 2014 with immediate effect.

This forward thinking move by the Board of Directors is supported by club members but will no doubt have many wondering what is behind this brave change. “The Richmond Club bar will lose some revenue”, says Chairman Gus Fepuleai, but the Board of Directors anticipates positive growth by “building relationships with local businesses, organisations and agencies who are in support of the sports club taking a stand against alcohol”. Fepuleai’s’ confidence has already gained merit with the club’s alcohol free policy receiving 100% backing from its major sponsors L.J Hooker (Ponsonby), Giltrap Prestige (VW) and Waterview Laundromat and ARC Roofing Limited.

Revenue from the Richmond Club bar has been falling for a number of years which has been made worse by the number of volunteer hours and resources required from the Board to organise paid bar staff and security. Add to this the growing complaints and concerns from local Grey Lynn Park residents regarding undesirable drinking behavior in the park’s vicinity.

To combat these problems all senior club alcohol related after match functions, and club social fundraisers will be held at Richmond’s partner premises: The Grey Lynn Tavern, located at 523 Great North Road, Grey Lynn. The Richmond club will remain open as normal for Junior and Senior team prize-giving, non-alcoholic functions, meetings of local groups, fitness groups, community activities and club run seminars.

Fepuleai believes the “club’s members will support the positive benefits” of a no alcohol tolerance policy following many highly publicised alcohol related incidents of professional rugby league stars from the Australasian NRL competition. Voicing his proposal in front of a vocal public forum held at the Richmond Rovers Clubrooms on Wednesday 29 January 2014, the Chairman commented that “2014 will be a year of change and the rugby league code itself needs to become more forward thinking”.

Sideline spectators who choose to bring alcoholic beverages to the Grey Lynn Park grounds will be encouraged to drink in moderation, however Fepuleai is under no illusions and understands his and the Board of Directors limitations in addressing this behavior. The Auckland City Council already has imposed liquor ban notices surrounding Grey Lynn Park and other parks throughout the city. Fepuleai has indicated that “we will strongly encourage and promote to our Richmond club members, family, friends and supporters to consume alcohol in moderation”.

As part of its work to build a stronger community-centered club, the Board of Directors, with the support of the Richmond Rovers club members, will focus on a 2-5 year business plan that includes plans to increase junior and senior club membership and its continued campaign to attain Waitemata Community Board and Auckland Council support for a brand new Richmond Rovers Club room facility.

With over 500 paid club members in 2013 it is hoped that Fepuleai’s vision will cater to the needs of the club members, the community and other sporting codes currently sharing the Grey Lynn Park grounds including American Grid Iron, Tag Football, Touch Football and Netball.

Richmond Club Treasurer and local Grey Lynn Park resident Graeme Atmore believes the focus of the Club needs to go towards creating better people and opportunities, “to eliminate the hassles of alcohol would enable the Richmond Board to focus on more meaningful projects”.

Benefits of an alcohol free club include:

• An innovative framework of alcohol management that enhances family friendly values
• Encouragement of Grey Lynn community spirit
• A safer community with less temptation for at risk drink drivers
• Reduction in the misuse of alcohol and related problems for club members
• Health gains for players, club members and their families
• Display of club support for the Premier coaching team who self-imposed a liquor ban for the Premier team during the 2013 season
• Opportunity for combined Senior and Junior prize giving at every home game
• An improved Club image encouraging a favorable outlook from junior member’s parents, the wider community and funding agencies (ASB community trust and the Health Promotion Agency (HPA) etc.
• No need for paid licensed bar staff
• No need for paid security staff
• Reduction in club operating expenses
• Reduced maintenance costs of premises wear and tear
• No need for club members to police fundraisers and lock up after social functions
• No more noise complaints from Grey Lynn Park residents
• No more complaints of broken bottles outside the club premises and in car parks
• An opportunity to build relationships with local businesses
• An opportunity to obtain sponsorship with corporate socially responsible businesses


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