Setting up a sports club

If you're interested in setting up a sports club but just don't know where to start, our Sports Development team can also offer you advice and support.

Before setting up a sports club, there are some crucial things that need to be thought about:

  • Will there be enough potential members?
  • Will there be enough volunteers to run the club?
  • Is there a club in the area that is already meeting the needs of the sport locally? 

Now that you've covered the basics, find out what you need to do to set up your club.

Choose a name

This can be anything you like. It is necessary for a club to have a name in order to draw up your formal documents and open a bank or building society account.

Draw up a club constitution

A club constitution is a simple document which outlines the functions of a club as well as procedures for membership, meetings and committees. Having a club constitution from the outset is a good idea as it will help clarify the club's position should you or anyone need to know at a later date.

It is vital that the constitution is open and non-discriminatory. Your National Governing Body may be able to provide you with a model constitution for you to adapt. It is advisable that the draft club constitution is drawn up prior to your first meeting so that the group can adapt and agree it at the earliest possible opportunity.


Club officials

A club will need a number of officials to run the club on a formal basis. A club Chairperson, Secretary and Treasurer are the minimum required. These posts will be need to be elected. Before a club meeting takes place, it is advisable that there are people willing to take up these roles. There needs to be at least three elected members in the committee. There can be other members on the committee as laid out in the club constitution.


Committee Meetings and Annual General Meetings (AGMs)

A club committee is a group of people who are formally responsible for managing a club. A club's success is largely down to the committee.

Establishing a committee with clearly defined roles helps to identify who does what in the club, help spread the workload equally amongst members and ensure the club is not solely dependant on one or two people. It might also be useful to establish basic job/role descriptions to ensure everyone knows what is expected of them and others.

The committee should meet on a quarterly basis at the very least.

An Annual General Meeting will be required as laid down in the constitution so that all members can input into the running of the club. It is at the Annual General Meeting that the committee is elected.


Finance

As a new club, it will be important to raise funds to run the club. Initially, these funds are likely to come from membership subscriptions.

It is also advisable to produce a list of costs to run your club throughout the year, which will help you create a budget of income and expenditure for the next 12 months, ensuring that there will be enough income to meet the outgoings.

A club will need to set up a bank/building society account in the name of the club. A bank will usually ask for two signatories for the withdrawal of cash or signing of cheques.

The Treasurer must maintain either:

  • a bound account book for recording details of the financial affairs of the club, or
  • a computer-based programme from which printouts can be made in the format of an account book. If a computer-based system is used, appropriate back-up arrangements must be put in place to avoid irretrievable loss of data.

Normal book-keeping practices must be observed, particularly in that entries should never be changed. A receipt nook with a numbered counterfoils will also be required to keep a record of income received.


Membership

Your constitution should state that your club is open to all and thus your club should offer different membership categories for young people and possible discounts/reduced rates for those less privileged.

You will need to draw up a list of information that will be needed from members, also thinking about whether each member will need to affiliate to join leagues/competitions and whether there is a need for a photograph.

On the joining form, you will also need to clearly to lay out the yearly membership subscriptions and any other costs members should expect to incur during the year.


Insurance

Clubs are advised to obtain adequate insurance to cover their members (including coaches, volunteers, officials, parents, spectators, players) plus visiting competitors. This may be mandatory before you enter certain leagues and competitions. Clubs must have public liability insurance cover and professional indemnity insurance for the activities they deliver. Advice on insurance for your sport can be obtained from your national governing body.

Affiliation

It is recommended that your club is affiliated to its relevant national governing body. National governing bodies can offer your club insurance, access to training, access to qualified umpires, entry to competitions and leagues and discounts on equipment.

Venue

You might want to choose a school, a local authority facility or a facility belonging to another voluntary club to host your club events and meetings.

Equipment and kit

You'll need to have equipment and kit prior to the club starting. You may be able to access local grants or funding from Awards for All to help buy start-up equipment. Local business are often a good source for sponsorship of local teams.

We offer a range of equipment available for sports clubs and community organisations to hire at low prices.

Go to our Community Resource equipment hire service


Public relations and press

If your club has entered a local competition, you'll need to comply with the local newspaper's results format. It is advisable for a club to build up a good relationship with the local newspaper to help raise the profile of the club to attract new players.
 
For advice and guidance, please contact us.