Imperial Athletes should not have gone ahead. Everything that I have seen and heard tells me that the Union was not ready to introduce such a major change and their stubbornness will not endear them to the student body. Despite the promises being made eventual functionality, we call on Imperial to halt the roll out of Imperial Athletes and return purchased membership fees to the clubs that attracted them.
The actions of the Union betray their attitudes to student sport. In interview with DPCS Ross Unwin he spoke with great feeling and conviction about the savings in time and effort that the new scheme would bring students, allowing them to focus on playing their sport and not waste time on admin. This is patronising and should be flagged up. People join the committees of societies not only because they want to play more sport but also because they value the community and the activity of the society so much that they are willing to spend time and effort on making that club activity available to other members. The belief that students should not assume these positions of responsibility is a kick in the teeth to all the highly impressive committee members at Imperial who throw themselves into their societies in order to give their members the best time possible. Time after time the Union forgets that student led activities are what students want and top down impositions will be resented. The independence of sports clubs is of vital importance and once lost will be very difficult to get back.
Furthermore, why should large clubs be the beneficiaries of subsidy, support and intramural leagues that allow them to continue playing their sport while smaller clubs must handle disappearing membership revenue and being sidelined. This is rank inequality and the Union should apologise for it.
Accepting this new scheme is the same as accepting mediocrity. Time savings accrued now will be paid back in frustration and bureaucratic inefficiency once lockdowns begin to ease and clubs begin stretching their muscles and wanting to do their own thing.