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Sports clubs are at the heart and soul of Australian life. They are a fantastic place to come together, make friends and keep fit. However, before you jump into running a sports club, there are some important legal considerations to keep in mind. When you are running a sports club, it is important that all participants agree to Sports Club Terms and Conditions before they join. This ensures your club members and parents (where applicable) understand what is expected of them when participating in your club. This article will explore what should be in your Sports Club Terms and Conditions, and some other things to consider when running a sports club. 

Why Do I Need Terms and Conditions?

It is important you set clear expectations for the behaviour of participants when they join. Many popular sports involve contact, and unfortunately, the reality of participating in sports is that injuries and accidents can occur.

By having Sports Club Terms and Conditions in place, you warn all participants of the risks involved and allow them to make an informed decision about their participation.

In addition, the Sports Club Terms and Conditions can outline the protections you have in place for your participants. This includes insurance coverage if you have this. They will also allow you to specify the services you will be providing, what your expectations are of your members, and what will happen if they do not meet these expectations.

What Should Be in the Sports Club Terms and Conditions?

You should include several things in your Terms and Conditions. These are outlined in the table below.

Services

You should outline the services that you will be providing your members. For example, if participation in your club involves training sessions, you should specify what those sessions are and how many you will provide.

Term

Sports clubs will often run over a set seasonal period, so it should specify that the agreement will end at the end of a particular term. However, if it is ongoing, this should be accounted for in the contract.

Disclaimer and Liabilities

You will want to have a disclaimer warning your sports club members of the dangers associated with playing the chosen sport. To the extent the law allows, you should exclude or limit your liability as a sports club for anything that occurs whilst participating in activities.

Waiver

You should include a waiver in the Sports Club Terms and Conditions that will mitigate the risk of you being held responsible for accidents or injuries that occur while participating in activities at your sports club. The waiver should be included in the Sports Club Terms and Conditions so that your members can read and agree to it when they sign up. 

Proof of Age and Weight (where applicable)

Some sports clubs, especially involving children, will require a declaration of age and/or weight. This is to ensure there is a level playing field for participants. You will want your participants to promise they are providing you with the correct information so that you can place them in an appropriate team/ group. This should also be dealt with in your Privacy Policy.

Fees

In order for the sports club to operate, you will likely charge fees. These fees should be outlined in the Sports Club Terms and Conditions, as well as a description of what the fees include, e.g. uniform. 

Insurance

It is likely that you will have an insurance policy that will provide some protection for any loss, damage or injury that occurs to your club members when participating in club activities. If so, you can outline this to your members in the Sports Club Terms and Conditions, and you should recommend they seek additional insurance, e.g. private health cover if required.

Code of Conduct

You may want to have a separate Code of Conduct that outlines the behaviour you expect from your members, including participants, volunteers, coaches and officials. In addition, there should be a section outlining the review processes and consequences for a breach of the Code of Conduct. If you affiliate with a national or state sporting body, it is likely that you will also need to abide by their Code of Conduct, which you should reference.

Other Legal Considerations

Organisational Structure

You may decide to incorporate your non-profit community sporting club as an association under the relevant state legislation. This will separate the legal obligations of the club from you personally. Furthermore, it also ensures the club can continue if you decide to leave. Running an Association comes with several responsibilities. In NSW, Fair Trading governs this.

Working with Children

If you have volunteers, coaches or other participants over the age of 18 who will be interacting with children under 18 at your sports club, you should ensure that they have had a Working with Children check. If they are a volunteer, this check will be free. 

Volunteer Contracts

A sports club is not a success without the time and effort of its volunteers. However, they must behave appropriately. You should ensure that any member of the organisation, including volunteers, are bound by your Code of Conduct obligations. They should sign an agreement acknowledging that they will abide by the Code of Conduct. They should also fulfil any other requirements when volunteering. 

Website Documents

Suppose you are collecting information on your website. In that case, it is best practice to have a Privacy Policy. This is because you can show your members how you will be collecting and using their personal information. You may also need to have a Terms of Use if you have an online portal for your members.

Compliance with Council Regulations 

If you are operating the sports club on public land, e.g. a local park, you will need to hire this space from your local council authority. You should be aware of the Terms and Conditions of Hire given to you by your local council and ensure that you have the required public liability insurance. 

Sponsorship 

It is fantastic to have sponsors on board to help you grow the sports club and make it a success. In exchange for the sponsorship fee, you will likely need to advertise the sponsor’s business. You may also need to list them as a sponsor. The fees, as well as the terms of the sponsorship, should be documented in a Sponsorship Agreement

Key Takeaways

Sports Clubs are a crucial part of Australian life, and a Terms and Conditions document is essential. It will protect you from liability, set clear expectations for participants, and allow you to communicate behavioural expectations. The exact terms may vary depending on the sports club, but you may need to outline fees or insurance policies. It is essential that volunteers or employees of the sports club also agree to the Terms and Conditions. 

If you need assistance drafting terms and conditions for your sports club, get in touch with LegalVision’s commercial contract lawyers on 1300 544 755 or fill out the form on this page. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I need a Sports Club Terms and Conditions?

You should have a Sports Club Terms and Conditions for participants of your sports club to ensure your members are aware of the risks of participating in the chosen sport. It also allows you to specify the behaviours expected of those members, so if they are in breach of those conditions, there are clear consequences. 

What should be in my Sports Club Terms and Conditions?

Your Sports Club Terms and Conditions should contain disclaimers about the risk of participating in the sport, fees, the term of the membership, information about insurance coverage for participants, and a reference to your Code of Conduct, as is relevant to how your sports club operates.

What other legal considerations are there when starting a sports club? 

You should consider the structure of the club, including whether you want to register as an association. You should ensure that all volunteers sign a contract and that anyone involved in the club has a working with children check if there are minors involved.  

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