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Sport and recreation
This page explains when sport and recreation organisations may be considered to be charitable.
The promotion of sport and recreation in and of itself is not a charitable purpose. However, sporting organisations can qualify for registration as charities if the promotion of sport is the means by which a charitable purpose is pursued, for example the "advancement of education" or "promotion of health." They must also advance benefits for a significant section of the public, not primarily for an elite few.
In order for your sports organisation to be charitable, it must:
In all cases, Charities Services will assess each application on a case-by-case basis.
The two most common charitable purposes that sports groups advance are:
Courts have held that encouraging sport either in connection with educational institutions (schools or universities) is an essential part of education. For example, if they are providing sports sessions to primary schools.
Sport and recreation purposes for young people that have not been attached to educational institutions have also been held to be charitable if they have an express educational nature. For example, teaching children widely applicable life skills such as swimming would be considered educational.
For further information see Advancement of education.
To be charitable under this category, your organisation’s purpose must be:
A sport and recreation organisation’s purpose may be charitable under this category if it:
For further information see Purposes beneficial to the community.
Section 61A of the Charitable Trusts Act 1957 makes it charitable to provide facilities for recreation or other leisure-time occupation if the facilities are provided in the interests of social welfare and there is a public benefit. For example, providing a multi-sport field that is able to be used by the general public for a variety of purposes.
To be charitable, your organisation must provide a public benefit. It is for this reason that sporting purposes must be directed towards amateur sports and not to professional or elite sporting.
Other reasons a sports organisation may not provide a sufficient public benefit include:
If you want more information about sporting purposes, the Charities Registration Board (and its predecessor the Charities Commission) have made a number of decisions relating to sporting bodies:
In addition, a blog has been published on the issue of when sporting organisations can be considered charitable.