How to Create an association / Club

The UK model for community sports clubs is well-functioning and easy to start.

Here, we will look at establishing a sports club and what you should pay special attention to. If you need specific guidance, such as establishing your club, it may be advantageous to seek individual advice. This article aims to help you get started with the basics.

Establishing a New Club - How Do We Do It?

All clubs must, as a starting point, meet the following requirements:

  • The club must be established through a founding general assembly.
  • At least two members of the new club present at the general assembly.
  • During the general assembly, the club's purpose should be described, and articles of the club should ideally be drafted.
  • The articles should specify who leads the club and who is authorized to sign on its behalf.
  • The process for amending the articles and making decisions should be outlined.
  • The articles should also specify how the club can be dissolved, including the distribution of any assets.
  • An annual financial statement for the club should be prepared.

Let's take each point one by one

startup sports club and assosiation

Founding General Assembly

It may sound complicated, but it's essentially a meeting where you collectively decide how the club should operate. It's essential to be able to document that a founding general assembly has been held, so you should create a written record. There must be at least two members present to establish a club, and you should, of course, be present at the founding general assembly.

Please note that some councils have specific requirements for the number of members present, and in some cases, there should be at least five members at the establishment.

It's perfectly fine to have many other members present if you already have a significant number.

Purpose of the Club and Articles of the Club

Describe the purpose of the club. It doesn't have to be a lengthy document; a brief statement like "A club for those interested in playing local padel in Croydon" or a club with the purpose of "Showcasing the members' art in public spaces" is sufficient. There is no legal requirement for formulating articles, but it's strongly recommended because it makes the club's management easier for the board. They will have a well-defined set of rules to follow. In the club articles, you should describe:

Composition of the Board

Who makes up the board and what roles do they have - Is there a chairman, vice-chairman, treasurer, and four board members, or how do you compose the board? You should also describe what should happen if a board member resigns or if the chairman wants to step down. Typically, all members should be called to an extraordinary general assembly with three weeks' notice, where those who wish to resign are up for election, and new members are chosen.

Signing for the Club - Who Can Do It?

Who can make financial agreements on behalf of the club, and should such decisions be approved by the board during a meeting? Alternatively, the chairman, with the treasurer's approval, can make such decisions. You can decide that purchases below a certain amount, for example, do not require approval for the operation of the club. 

For expenses over a specific amount, e.g., £500, there should be approval from the treasurer, and for expenses over £2,000, the board should also approve the expenditure, etc. It's a good idea to allow small expenses, e.g., below £50, without approval, so the chairman doesn't have to constantly ask the treasurer for permission to buy small items. It can also be decided that the treasurer has the same authority as the chairman regarding purchases and expenses.

Membership Fees for the Club

Specify the amount each member should pay and what happens if payment is not made. Should three reminders be sent before a member is excluded?

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Members - Who Can Join?

Are there specific requirements for who can become a member? Should a member live in a specific city, be under a certain age, or something else? In other words, for whom is the club a community?

Decision-Making Process in the assosiation / Club

Here, you can describe how the chairman can act and in which situations the entire board should participate in decision-making. It may be something like "changes and decisions that may incur expenses of more than £2,500 per year should be presented to the full board" with a minimum of 50% attendance for a final decision by a show of hands. There may also be specific areas specified, such as all decisions regarding changes to the clubhouse's rental, which must be discussed and voted on at a full board meeting with at least 75% attendance. 

In other words, you decide what should be in the articles. The more specific you are, the fewer misunderstandings will occur. However, it's essential to allow some decisions to be made by the chairman alone, so there doesn't have to be constant board meetings where everything has to be discussed. If you are a small club, it can be quite enjoyable and an excellent idea. Still, if it's a club with 1,000 members, it can quickly become very inflexible and hinder the club's operations. Therefore, there should be a balance between what the board should be involved in and what the chairman can handle independently.

Dissolution of the Club / Federation

In the articles, the last point should describe how the club can be dissolved. For example, by having 75% of the club's members vote for dissolution at a general assembly (provided that all members have been notified of the meeting at least three weeks in advance).

Registration of the Club

Association Type VAT Requirement?
Depending on the type of club you are establishing, there are different registration requirements. We recommend registering the association with a VAT number, even though it's not a strict requirement. A VAT number allows you to apply for and possibly receive support. It also enables the hiring of paid employees and business activities, such as renting premises and running a cafe, and bar. It facilitates opening a bank account for the club (which can be challenging without a VAT). The club can be registered with the UK Government.


Accounting Requirements and Rules for Clubs

A regular club is not obligated to produce an audited financial statement. The purpose of the financial statement is to inform the club's members about the association's financial situation. The statement should provide a clear overview of income (membership fees) and expenses for the year. 

If the club has business income, it must comply with accounting regulations, and a proper financial statement with an income statement and balance sheet should be prepared. There is no requirement for a state-authorized auditor to prepare the financial statement, but the way it is prepared and the requirements for documentation must be met.

System for Board Work in Clubs

The work is carried out by volunteers, and a lot of spare time is devoted. Typically, the same people have a club as a full-time hobby, and a lot of time is spent managing the association. At SportMember, we are club experts, and our system is designed to manage clubs easily and simply online without becoming complex and sophisticated. 

We have created a system where you can create your club and immediately get access to a free website, a shared calendar, and membership fee payment/management. Here, you can have documents accessible, so all members can log in, view your shared calendar, see the articles of association, etc.

Get a free demo of our system - so you can see if it's suitable for your club - It's 100% free and entirely non-binding - Book a time with us here: [Link to book a demo of SportMember system]

Free Membership System

We have a free version, including a membership system, which we highly recommend you set up at the same time as your new club - it's completely free!

Free Webshop

If you want a webshop to sell merchandise with the club's logo, the pro version can do that too. You can read more about the webshop here.

Pro Version - Offers More

We have a free version and a pro version that offers much more, it costs a small amount per month. But it's very little per member per year.

3 Tips for the New Clubs - The 3 Important Ones!

Tip 1:

Ensure that ALL expenses are documented with receipts and invoices so that all expenses are 100% documented. If you purchase without an invoice, it cannot be deducted, and the expense cannot be covered. It is essential to have a strict policy on this - Expenses without documentation are private expenses that have nothing to do with the association.

Tip 2:

Ensure that both the treasurer and the chairman approve expenses in the association - write it into the articles of the club. This protects you from fraud and embezzlement, and you can sleep better at night, especially if the association has accumulated a large fortune.

Tip 3:

Ensure that all board meetings are documented with minutes of what you discussed and decided at the meeting. Ensure that invoices for EVERYTHING are saved, and there are receipts for everything. 

Enjoy setting up your new club - We hope you can use our Free Online System to make the management of the association easier.

Extra: Law on Obtaining Child Certificates for Club

In a club where children under 15 years old are involved, it is necessary to ensure the safety of children. This includes obtaining child certificates for coaches and employees who are in close contact with children. Typically, the entire board is required to have a clean certificate, along with all coaches and assistant coaches.

How to Comply with the Child Certificate Legislation

You should obtain child certificates for all active adults in the club who work with youth under 15 years of age. Keep these documents in your records, ensuring compliance with GDPR, such as securely storing documents digitally. You should then submit a declaration confirming that you comply with the child certificate rules. The declaration should be submitted once a year

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