frauke
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Sports club

Sports club

This is an odd situation.  A sports club I know which is affiliated to a well know National Sports Body, as been going about 12 year run by a coach. In that time the coach has been chairman & treasurer and his partnner secretary.  The club has what I would call a "back dated consistitution" (becuase it includes rules which did not exist at the time it was supposed to have been accepted).  It has never had anyone else on the committee and never produced any accounts.  The constitution does not actually mention accounts (removed from the template currently assessed from the web site of the national sports body), and does not give the members any rights.

I was asked to query the legitamacy of the club with the coach and he said it did not turnover enough to justify the need to have accounts etc ! He did call a  AGM just over a year ago, when I asked why he had never had one, but told the members that they did not have to attend so understandably that was a non event as no one turned up for it. 

I have spoken the the Sports body but they won't get involved other than to check that the affiliation fees have been paid (!)  The club is not a client (so I cannot report them for money laundering as they are not a CASC) but I have been asked privately by another sports club who is not happy with the situation what if anything they can do about it as the coach insists there is nothing wrong in what he is doing.  The other club which has a committee and produces annually independantly checked accounts tried to set up a second club in "competition" but was turned down by the National Sports body as there was already a club in the same place.

Does anyone have any Ideas or is the coach right and he can do as he pleases?

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07th May 2012 00:30

Is the club limited, a members club, ordinary business etc.?

Is the club a limited company? If so, under which acts of parliament was it incorporated? If so the act under which it was incorporated must be obeyed. This situation will be the most straight forward to deal with.

Does the national association have any rules etc., which are compulsory, for affiliated clubs? Is the template (or part of it) you mention compulsory for affiliated clubs or merely advisory? If compulsory (or anything else is compulsory) it could be argued that the club must amend its rules etc. or resign from the national association. Which national association is the club affiliated to? There is no need to identify the name of the club or its location, so as to protect confidentiality.

If the club is not incorporated under any act, then the constitution is important. It is a contract between the members of the club. Have any changes to the constitution been properly voted through? Is the constitution properly defined and has it been sent to all members? If not then the constitution may be unclear, and there may be arguments over it. There are few rules saying what can or cannot be in the constitution. For example if the constitution does not have any method of changing the constitution, then it cannot be changed without agreement of all members!! If such a club needs its constitution changing then unless no member objects to the changes, the club needs to be wound up and a new club formed. Does it provide for an AGM or elections to the committee? Some unincorporated clubs are members clubs and typically have AGM’s, committee elections, accounts, etc. Others are really businesses run by a sole trader or a partnership, as if it was an ordinary business. You need to read the constitution.

Taxation is another area of concern. You suggest that the club has not produced any accounts; has it filed any income or corporation tax returns? If the club is really a sole tradership or partnership, then the appropriate income tax returns need to be done; has the coach and his partner filed these? If the club is really an unincorporated members club, usually profits are not distributed, but reinvested in the club, then corporation tax returns are needed. They may be able to take advantage of mutual trading, where members contributions and fees etc. are not going to other people as profits, but kept in the club, income/corporation tax is not due on these. Incorporated companies are handled in the usual way, but mutual trading can still be taken advantage of, if appropriate. Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASC) have tax advantages. What about VAT? Does the club file VAT returns? Is its vatable turnover over the limit for compulsory registration?

I am not an expert in this area, and I think you and the coach need to take advice on the situation from a professional.

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By frauke
07th May 2012 23:44

The coach and I are on different sides, because he is trying to restrict use of sports facilities which are not his to control or restrict the use of.  (Long story which I will not get into here).

He is doing as he pleases and says he is doing nothing wrong.  I am involved with a different club which is run propertly (Committee, constitution, annual accounts & AGM etc) but we seem unable to do anything to stop him continuing except to encourage people to join "our" club rather than his club.  Our members want us to join the national body, but they have so far refused our entry due to there being another club using the same facilities.  The coach has recently accused us of promoting our club in direct competition to his club and told us to stop. 

The landlord of the sports facilities considers us to be a sports club and the coaches club a business.  A business that never prepares accounts. I have gone back to the committee for support, but we are struggling because the coach does not accept he is not running a legitimate club and despite our and others attempts to do so over the last 2+ years he continutes as before and does not tolerate anyone else trying to help correct the situtaion.  We are following the rules and he is not.

The national body is not happy with the situation but will not do anything   I know he is not following the constitution of his club (if it is legal) but there does not seem to be anyone to enforce it.

The constitution for the club the coach is running is for a non-profit club, which is required to do annual accounts and AGMs. The committee is supposed to consist of 4 different appointments, which he fills 3. But he considers this correct.  It even mentions that the bank account should have 2 signatories but infact it only has 1. (the coach).  But in 12+ years the coach has not followed the constitution, there does not seem to be any mechanism in place to ensure that this one person does not take advantage of the sitution.

 

 

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08th May 2012 08:57

Which sport does it participate in ?

Does it have facilities eg changing rooms,bar etc?

Surely the constitution has  a section on members rights in return for their subs

Why not lobby all the playing members and get them to join your "client" club

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By frauke
08th May 2012 11:53

The sport is Tennis.  (So yes

The sport is Tennis.  (So yes it means the Coach may be getting tickets in the draw for wimbledon, but because he never passes any to his members no-one really knows) . 

The Coachs club has no access to any facilities except the tennis courts. Our club (I am also hon treasurer) has access to a Pavilion (with Licence bar), changing rooms etc. We also have access to other facilities as we offer participation in other sports.

I have a copy of the coaches clubs constitution (which his members do not), and the members have few if any rights. They have the right to vote at AGMs but as there aren't any.  Also after they have been a member for more than 2 years they can be nominated to join the committee - but how they are nominated is up to the management committee (which is basically the coach).

But the coach ignores the rules in the consititution as in 12 years he has only ever called one AGM. 

Others have been lobbying his members and many have left and joined us.  This has been easy as the our membership fees are a lot less. But now the members also want us to become affilitated to the LTA, who have refused while this other club is affiliated.  Our members would like to take part in competitions but can't because it is not affiliated.  The Coachs club only does one childrens club coaching seesion, one junior coaching session and one Ladies coaching session (mostly on a pay as go on a cash basis).  We can't offer Junior coaching because we cannot find a coach who can do it. We offer Adult coaching but the coach we use also works for 2 other clubs.  He does not know any other coaches that are available. The LTA will not help us find a coach because we are not affiliated.

 

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