Sports Club Development

Sports Club Development         
Prepared by  Prepared by: Chris Hume, Senior Research Consultant, Clearinghouse for Sport, Sport Australia
evaluated by  Evaluation by: Jeff Dry, Associate Director, OneEighty Sport and Leisure Solutions (December 2016)
Reviewed by  Reviewed by network: Australian Sport Information Network (AUSPIN)
Last updated  Last updated: 17 July 2018
Please refer to the Clearinghouse for Sport disclaimer page for
more information concerning this content.

Community Sport Coaching
Sport Australia


Sports clubs make sport, physical activity and active recreation opportunities more accessible to Australian communities. Collectively, they form the foundation of the Australian sport system and play a key role in underpinning both elite athlete and community participant pathways. 

From a cultural perspective, sports clubs make a valuable contribution to the social fabric of Australian society including the accrued benefits supporting health and well-being, inclusion, volunteering, and community development outcomes. 

Key Messages 


Sports clubs are integral to the fabric of Australian sport. They provide pathways for emerging elite athletes, and importantly physical activity and social engagement opportunities for participants at all stages of life.


Sports clubs make a positive contribution toward our communities, especially across regional Australia. They help build stronger, healthier, happier, and safer communities.


Volunteers make a significant contribution to the organisation of sports clubs. Their contribution ensures organised sporting activities are accessible and within the financial means of most Australians.


Sport clubs are the primary avenue for facilitating structured physical activity opportunities for Australian children outside of a school setting. Adult family members and friends are often engaged too, but in supervisory and supporting roles.


Adult physical activity participation appears to be decreasing nationally through traditional sports club models

It is estimated that there are over 70,000 sports clubs currently operating across Australia—many being small not-for-profit organisations run by a wide variety of volunteers from differing backgrounds.

According to AusPlay, Sport Australia's major study on participation in Australia, over 17 million Australians aged 15 or over (87%) participated in a sport or physical activity in the last 12 months. 2.5 million Australian children (54%) aged 0 to 14 are active at least once a week through organised sport/physical activity outside of school hours. Sport clubs are the primary avenue for children to be active (except for children aged 0–4,who are more likely to be active through other organisations). Adult physical activity participation appears to be decreasing nationally through traditional sports club models. Participation through an organised setting or venue (such as a fitness centre) is important across all life stages although this too decreases with age. Self-organised based participation through activities such as recreational swimming, cycling and walking appears becomes more important as we get older. [Source: AusPlay,  Participation data for the sport sector, Summary of key national findings October 2015 to September 2016 data

More information about the AusPlay survey can be found in the Clearinghouse for Sport under ‘Research’. Reports are available for National results of the survey, and broken-down for State/Territory jurisdictions, as well as by Sport.   

Historical Data 

In order to capture the economic impact of the sport sector, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) compiled a variety of data on the number of persons involved and where possible the dollar value associated with their involvement in sport. ABS statistics covered a broad range of topics and described the characteristics of people participating in both organised and non-organised sport, recreation, and physical activity. ABS reports detailing the scope of the sport sector include:

  • Arts And Recreation Services 2014-15, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Catalogue Number 8155.0, (2016). As part of the Economic Activity Survey (EAS), the ABS collects detailed information from a rotating program of industries. For 2014-15 the EAS collected additional information from Australian businesses/organisations classified to the Arts and recreation services Division of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification, 2006 edition (ANZSIC). There were just over 127,000 people employed in the Sports and recreation activities industry at 30 June 2014-15. The largest contributor to employment was Sports and physical recreation activities (88,545 people or 69.7% of total employment), followed by Amusement and other recreation activities (19,851 or 15.6% of total employment) and Horse and dog racing activities (18,679 or 14.7% of total employment). Total income and total expenses both increased by approximately 8% at the subdivision level in 2014-15. Sales and service income increased by 9.3% to $13.9b in 2014-15, with businesses reporting positive impacts from major international sporting events.
  • Participation in Sport and Physical Recreation, Australia 2013-14, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Catalogue Number 4177.0 (2015). This series defines sport as an organisational construct and physical recreation as an unsupervised or informally-controlled activity. Data is presented for persons involved in organised sport by payment status (i.e. paid or volunteer), but the amount of payment is not identified.
  • Value of Sport, Australia 2013, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Catalogue Number 4156.0.55.002 (2013). This publication collates ABS historical data related to the value of sport and physical recreation and focuses on economic outputs during the survey period 2011-12. Key areas include: household expenditure ($8.29 billion); employment (95,590 persons employed in the sector); volunteers (2.3 million persons); spectator attendance at sporting events (7.6 million persons, aged 15 years and older); and industries and products ($1.1 billion for sports equipment, $85.7 million for support services, and $90.1 for grounds and facilities).
  • Sports and Physical Recreation: A Statistical Overview, Australia 2012, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Catalogue Number 4156.0 (2012). This series takes a broad view of the topic, collecting data relating to participation preference, time spent, household expenditure, facilities used, paid employment, volunteer involvement, and many other variables.
  • Employment in Sport and Recreation, Australia 2011, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Catalogue Number 4148.0 (2012). This publication presents summary data on selected sport and physical recreation occupations from the 2011 Census of Population and Housing. The occupations included are derived from those that appear in the ABS publication ‘Australian Culture and Leisure Classifications’, Catalogue Number 4902.0.
  • Volunteers in Sport, Australia 2010, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Catalogue Number 4440.0.55.001 (2012). This report captures the extent, influence, and characteristics of sport volunteers. It’s reported that 6.1 million Australians preform some type of voluntary work; the sport sector had 2.3 million volunteers and is the largest single volunteer sector.
  • Involvement in Organised Sport and Physical Activity, Australia 2010, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Catalogue Number 6285.0. This series takes a narrow definition of sport as an activity under the auspices of sporting organisations and provides some information about the characteristics of persons involved in sport and comparisons over time.
More information regarding the value of the sport sector can be found in the Economic Contribution of Sport portfolio.


Volunteers support almost every part of the sporting pathway in roles as diverse as coaches, officials, team managers, administrators, board and committee members, with many individuals filling multiple roles. Volunteer coaches and officials are critical to ensuring a strong development pathway, one that supports the progress of our future champions from grassroots to high performance, by allowing them to develop the skills and confidence required to achieve success.

Sport and recreation helps to build communities through social inclusion and a sense of connection to a community. Sport can also play a positive role in many people’s lives; from diverting young people away from crime and anti-social behavior, to improving physical and psychological wellbeing. Sport is part of the fabric of Australian life; as such, sport clubs are the backbone of our local communities. Most clubs are small not-for-profit organisations run by a wide variety of volunteers from differing backgrounds.

The Office of Recreation and Sport in SA has recently developed a new concept of V-STAR. Volunteers are the lifeblood of every sporting club and if you can master how to find, keep and back your volunteers, you'll be well on the way to growing your club and ensuring long-term success. V-STAR is a free, easy to use, one-stop-shop web tool to help sport and recreation clubs better manage their volunteers, and supports the STARCLUB program. 

For more information and resources for volunteers, please refer to the Volunteers in Sport portfolio.


Increased participation in sport and recreation is seen as one way to achieve national sport, health, and social policy objectives. There are number of ways in which the sport sector and organisations can access financial support to assist in the development and sustainability of participation pathways.

The Sports Community website has a very extensive list of available grants that cover a wide range of categories for clubs 

For more information and resources, please refer to the Participation Grants & Funding for Sport and Recreation portfolio.


The effective delivery of community sport programs relies upon the recruitment, engagement, and ongoing development of coaches. Coaches play a central role in organising sports participants, teaching sports skills and strategies, as well as improving athlete fitness and motivation to train and compete.

  • Coaching for Effective Learning – A Process, Trevor Potts, Coaching Coordinator, Southern Football League in South Australia, (May 2014). Teaching seems to be a focus issue that has caught the attention of the football community at the moment. A recent newspaper article highlighted the commitment that the Hawthorn Football Club has made to a coaching staff with teaching backgrounds 

Overall, the coach-athlete relationship forms a key component in a participant’s rationale for entering, and then continuing in a sport. The quality of coaching also contributes to a participant’s satisfaction with his/her sporting experience and continued performance development.

For more information and resources, please refer to the Community Sport Coaching portfolio.


The effective delivery of community sport programs relies upon the recruitment, organisation, and ongoing development of three types of support personnel: technical officials, administrators, and coaches.  Technical officials (umpires, referees, judges, etc.) provide necessary guidance and support, so that players (i.e. active participants) and spectators can benefit from their sporting experience.

In all sports the role of an official will involve specific mental demands such as observation, interpretation of events, and decision making. Often a complex process of interpretation of rules and making the correct decision must be executed immediately. In most circumstances community sport officials must make their decisions without the use of video and other technologies to capture and evaluate events. Making correct judgements is part of the officiating process. Because in some sports an official must move with the players to correctly position him/herself to make judgements, there are also physical demands upon many officials, not unlike the demands of competitors.

For more information and resources, please refer to the Community Sport Officiating portfolio.


The influence of parents or guardians in their children’s participation in sport and physical activity can be significant. ’Sporting Parents’ (i.e. those who support their child’s sport participation) can potentially offer encouragement and support (financial, practical and psychological) that helps to initiate and then sustain a child’s participation.

There a number of articles written on this topic. Here are some examples:

For more information and resources, please refer to the Engaging Parents in Sport portfolio.

Child Protection

Child protection in sport is concerned with keeping children and young people safe from abuse, discrimination and harassment, and protecting them from people who are unsuitable to work with children through sport. This is often a legal requirement, covered by Australian child protection and anti-discrimination laws. It is also an ethical obligation and a very important consideration in meeting 'duty of care' obligations for all sports.

There are a large number of organisations and materials that can help and support sporting organisations manage child protection obligations.

For more information and resources, please refer to the Child Protection in Sport portfolio.

Participant Behaviour

Play by the Rules was first developed by the South Australian Department for Sport and Recreation in 2001 as an interactive education and information website on discrimination, harassment and child protection in sport. Over the years, as more agencies have seen the need to promote Play by the Rules, they have joined as partners and helped by contributing funds, content and in-kind support.

Play by the Rules is now a unique collaboration between Sport Australia (formerly the Australian Sports Commission), Australian Human Rights Commission, all state and territory departments of sport and recreation, all state and territory anti-discrimination and human rights agencies, the Office of the Children's Guardian and the Australian and New Zealand Sports Law Association (ANZSLA). These partners promote Play by the Rules through their networks, along with their own child safety, anti-discrimination and inclusion programs.

It provides information, resources, tools and free online training to increase the capacity and capability of administrators, coaches, officials, players and spectators to assist them in preventing and dealing with discrimination, harassment, child safety and integrity issues in sport.

National campaigns featuring radio and television community service announcement ads, utilising national sporting icons, are also extending positive sporting messages more broadly to the general community.

Play by the Rules also works to create closer, more mutually-beneficial relationships with government agencies, sports federations and national and state sporting organisations, associations and clubs. This helps to share and cross-promote information, programs and resources, link to wider sport and discrimination networks, and simplify the duplicity of information in the sector. 

A recent resource developed by PBTR relates to the use of supplements: 

For more information and resources, please refer to the Integrity in Sport portfolio. 

Managing Risk

The management of risk is an integral part of good management practice. There is a direct relationship between risk and opportunity in all organisations activities, and as such, an organisation needs to be able to identify, measure and manage its risks in order to be able to capitalise on those opportunities and achieve its goals and objectives.

For more information and resources, please refer to the Critical Incident Management in Sport portfolio.

Concussion in Sport

AIS, AMA advise kids sit out 14 days after concussion. National leaders in sport and medicine have united to address growing health concerns about concussion, launching a trusted one-stop online resource to support and protect Australia’s sporting participants – especially children. The Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) and Australian Medical Association (AMA) have established a joint Position Statement on Concussion in Sport and have launched – an Australian-Government funded website providing simple but specific advisory tools for athletes, parents, teachers, coaches and medical practitioners.

For more information and resources, please refer to the Sports Concussion and Head Trauma portfolio. 

Sports club mergers/amalgamations

With this trend increasing over recent years due to a number of factors ( decline in participation numbers, financial issues etc.) it is worth considering adding some information on assisting clubs going through this process

Club Amalgamation,  Club Help, Leisure Network. Amalgamation of two or more sporting clubs is sometimes the best scenario, particularly when:

  • The proximity of the clubs means that numbers for both are challenged
  • One or both of the clubs are struggling either financially, or to attract members or volunteers
  • There is an opportunity for a super venue or other strategic incentive to do so.
Amalgamation of Sport Structures as an option for Addressing Participation, (PDF   - 346 KB), Vicsport. There are a many reasons why sport and recreation clubs may seek to merge or amalgamate; decreasing participation rates, declining volunteer support, rising administrative costs, increasingly complex compliance requirements, or in some cases a directive from a governing or funding body. 
Key Market Lessons on a Path Towards Amalgamation, (PDF   - 386 KB), Jeff Blunden Advisory Services—the case for amalgamation of golf clubs in Victoria.

Sporting Hubs

Community Sport Hubs are based in local facilities such as sport centres, community centres, club pavilions, the natural environment and/or schools, and will bring local people together and provide a home for local clubs and sports organisations. They will also provide information, support and advice on a wide range of sports and physical activities to make it easier for local people to get involved and engage in a more active and healthier lifestyle. The specifics of each Hub and what it offers will vary according to local need and local resource.

  • Community Sports Hubs (PDF   - 610 KB) (Sports Scotland)
  • Developing Sustainable Sports Facilities (PDF   - 380 KB) - A toolkit for the development of a Sustainable Community Sports Hub
  • Hubs and Sportsvilles – case studies, Sport New Zealand.
  • Melbourne Sports Hub – is one of the world’s largest sporting destinations, home to hundreds of competitions, events and active communities.
  • Sportsville, Sport Tasman. Sportsville is a concept where many different user-groups are catered for collaboratively within the one facility. These can include sporting, social, cultural and recreational interests. The Facilities are designed to cater for any potential user whether they are not-for-profit organisations, casual user-groups, family occasions, community events and/or commercial providers.

Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

Active Canberra offer a range of information resources and free workshops based on industry needs to assist clubs to build their capacity to deliver services to a broad range of members.

New South Wales (NSW)

Whether you have 10 members or 10,000 NSW Office for Sport, provides best practice guidelines, useful tips, suggestions, templates and checklists for anyone who wants to know more about how to run a club. Information is relevant for club directors, administrators and committee members.

  • ‘Running Your Club’ page provides information on various topics such as governance, financial management, and fundraising.
  • Insurance, Sport and Recreation, NSW Department of Education and Communities – Checklist of things to consider in managing the Club’s risk.
  • Member Protection, Sport and Recreation, NSW Department of Education and Communities – Developing a member protection policy

Northern Territory (NT)

The Participation and Development unit of NT Sport and Recreation provides services to sport and recreation clubs to assist to deliver their services in a professional business-like manner - information links are listed on the website.

Queensland (QLD)

The Department of National Parks, Sport and Racing provides a broad range of services, information and support to assist the development of sport and recreation clubs, including but not limited to:

South Australia (SA)

The Office for Recreation and Sport actively works with and produces a range of materials and resources to support Associations and Clubs.

  • StarClub’, an online Club assessment tool to assist SA Clubs and various resources for club development.
  • ForwardIT, SA Government; Department of Further Education, Employment, Science and Technology - helping the internet ‘novice’ to learn to use the internet safely and effectively. Self-paced instruction on internet searching, managing documents, using calendars and advanced e-mail applications can be useful for sporting organisations that rely upon volunteer help to manage their IT functions

Tasmania (TAS)

Most sport and recreation clubs are run by volunteers who need access to current information on a range of topics to help them run their club. Sport and Recreation Tasmania provides this information as it is vital to assist with the very important task of providing opportunities for Tasmanians to participate in sport and recreation.

  • Information, documents and fact sheets on a range of topics; such as: constitutions, committee management, premises standards for persons with disability, harassment free sport, etc.

Victoria (VIC)

Sport and Recreation assists a large number of Clubs who provide enormous community and social benefits. They also have a responsibility to offer a fair, safe and equitable sporting environment. When running a club, it is important to consider and enforce codes of conduct, risk management strategies and member protection guidelines to ensure everyone has a fun, safe and inclusive experience.

  • Resources for Clubs, including: not-for-profit compliance, user-friendly sport, risk management, and injury prevention programs.
  • 'Everyone Wins' – State Sporting Associations, VicHealth – ‘Everyone Wins’ is a framework to assist State Sporting Associations (SSAs) to build healthier Clubs within environments that are safe, accessible, inclusive and equitable. 'Everyone Wins' specifically aims to increase the participation in sport of people with a disability, Indigenous Australians, people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities (with an emphasis on new arrival communities), and women and girls.
  • Welcoming and Inclusive Clubs, AFL Victoria – Former Melbourne Football Club player and television personality Garry Lyon has recorded a series of nine videos to help encourage welcoming and inclusive clubs across Victoria. 
  • ClubHelp, The Victorian Regional Sports Assemblies resource provides volunteer support, information and training and development opportunities to local clubs in rural and regional Victoria. 
A number of the Regional Sports Assemblies are listed below along with links to their websites:
VicHealth provides strategies and tips to increase participation that clubs can use to grow their membership and deliver better services. Topic areas include:
  • Overcome 'lack of time'
  • Increase affordability
  • Improve knowledge and communication
  • Tackle perceived lack of safety issues
  • Minimise fear of injury
  • Address transport issues
  • Provide support to members
  • Overcome lack of facilities
  • Make facilities inclusive 

Western Australia (WA)

The Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries is the lead agency responsible for the implementation of government policy and initiatives in sport and recreation. A key role of the department is to contribute to the healthy lifestyle of Western Australians by increasing physical activity in the community through sport and recreation and provide high levels of support for WA sporting clubs.

New laws for WA’s associations and clubs—new laws have been passed which are aimed at helping associations and clubs in WA operate more efficiently by providing them with a clearer framework in which to operate under a simplified set of regulations. The new laws will replace the existing Associations Incorporation Act 1987 and will apply to all existing incorporated associations in Western Australia. The changes are expected to come into effect from 1 July 2016 and will cover more than 18,000 incorporated associations which encompass community and cultural organisations, sporting clubs and professional and industry bodies in WA.

More information on incorporated associations is available from the Department of Commerce

  • Clubs Online’ – A place for Club members to share ideas, chat with other Clubs, promote and develop ideas, and find out all the latest news in sport and recreation. WA Clubs that have signed up to ‘Find a Club’ can also set up and design their own free website. Club Development Officers are located across Western Australia, with the support of the Department of Sport and Recreation.
  • Step by Step – to starting a New Club (PDF   - 786.0 KB), Department of Sport and Recreation – A guide for sport and recreation clubs and associations.
  • Coaching and Officiating, Department of Sport and Recreation Western Australia – State Departments of Sport and Recreation (SDSR) provide training courses for coaches and officials
  • "A Club Development Partnership" - The City of Joondalup's Clubs in-focus program aims to establish a partnership between the City and local sport and recreation groups to enhance the delivery of sport and recreation within the community. This partnership assists clubs with: effectively managing their club activities; receiving financial assistance for the development of their club; becoming sustainable for the long term benefit of the community; and promoting the benefits of sport and recreation to the community

Local Governments across Australia play a significant role in supporting their local sports clubs. This support includes facilitating a range of business development resources, providing funding to clubs and individuals, building and maintaining sports related infrastructure, and sponsoring the hosting of local sports events.

Some examples follow:

  • Active Clubs is the City of Armadale’s Club Development Program. A full-time Club Development Officer is available to support local sports clubs with advice on club management issues and processes.
  • Brimbank Council supports local sports clubs in many ways including the provision of sport specific development meetings, training for volunteers, and assistance with business planning to support clubs in providing active participation opportunities for the Brimbank community. 
  • Cardinia Shire Councils' Sport Development Program supports sports clubs by providing high quality training and development sessions to strengthen and increase participation in sport and recreation.
  • Hume City Council supports sports club development and resources
  • Sports club development resources, Moreland City Council facilitate a range of programs via the Council's website.
  • Working with local government: A guide for sport and recreation organisations, (PDF   - 456.0 KB), (SA ORS). A key issue facing local government is ensuring that sport and recreation facilities will meet future needs while being affordable and fit-for-purpose. To deal with this, Councils are looking at a range of strategies including:
  • a focus on multi-function and shared use facilities including schools;
  • facility consolidation; and
  • working closely with local communities, including sports clubs.

Building a close working relationship with local government is an important step for all sporting and active recreation organisations, especially when planning for new facilities and services.

Please contact us if you're aware of any innovative club development programs, services and resources delivered by local government in your region.  

Department of Health

The Sport Unit within Department of Health ensures strong collaboration and links across a number of Government portfolios that are impacted by sports and sports participation.

Sport Australia (formerly the Australian Sports Commission)

Sport Australia funds and supports Australian National Sporting Organisations (NSOs), and works closely with many of these organisations to coordinate and deliver sport participation and physical activity opportunities for all Australians.

Sport Australia develops and facilitates a range of resources for sports clubs - some of these have been listed below:

  • Club Health Check - An online self-assessment tool that is aimed at helping Clubs examine how they are operating. The check list looks at a number of different factors that are crucial to success at Club level and together these factors are used to build an overall picture of the way the Club carries out its operations
  • Communication – Effective marketing and communication will help Club officials stay connected with members, as well as letting the community know something about your club.
  • Governance - Governance concerns three key issues: how an organisation develops strategic goals and direction; how the board/committee of an organisation monitors the performance of the organisation to ensure it achieves these strategic goals, has effective systems in place and complies with its legal and regulatory obligations; ensuring that the board/committee acts in the best interests of the members.
  • Play by the Rules – Provides valuable information to Clubs and Associations who wish to build their capacity and capability to prevent and deal with discrimination, harassment, and child safety issues in sport. Play by the Rules links the human rights and sports and recreation sectors to promote and provide information for best practice. The website provides a variety of tools and resources.

Safe Work Australia

Safe Work Australia's current legislation covers volunteer workers as well as paid staff. The Safe Work Australia website provides information covering volunteers and work health and safety laws including:

  1. new workplace health and safety laws;
  2. information for volunteers;
  3. information for volunteer organisations - frequently asked questions; and, 
  4. contacts and other links.

Safe Work Australia also provides a useful Resource Tool Kit for organisations engaging volunteers, as well as the following fact sheet series:

Sport Australia has developed a number of Fact Sheets in partnership with Safe Work Australia, New South Wales (NSW) Sport and Recreation, WorkCover Authority of NSW, and Queensland Sport and Recreational Services:

Community Sport Australia, previously known as the Australian State Sports Federation Alliance (ASSFA) is comprised of the State and Territory Sports Federations. Community Sport Australia's purpose is to collectively represent issues affecting community sport and active recreation in Australia. Community Sport Australia includes;

Confederation of Australian Sport - the Confederation of Australian Sport is an independent, not-for-profit industry voice committed to promoting the contribution of community sport and representing the interests of those organisations and peak bodies involved in community based Sport and Active Recreation.

  • Good Sports is an initiative of the Australian Drug Foundation (ADF) to develop safer and healthier communities. The program helps sporting clubs manage alcohol responsibly and reduce alcohol related problems such as binge and underage drinking. One of the key benefits to clubs of registering in the free program is the support that they receive in changing culture. A Good Sports Project Officer assists club committee members through the entire process.
  • Sports Community. Sports Community’s vision is to help build stronger communities by assisting ‘grass roots’ sports clubs to succeed through the empowerment of club volunteers. It believes healthy local sports clubs play a vital role within the community so we passionately endeavour to empower volunteers, around Australia, through the provision of information and training to help them achieve their objectives. 
  • The Inclusion Club. Dedicated to providing a platform for the sharing of information, models, and resources of ‘best practice’ in sport and recreation for persons with disability.
  • Amsterdam City: Smart Sports Parks. Volunteers from field hockey club AthenA had the intention to share their knowledge on sustainability with other sports associations in Amsterdam Oost. Around 10 sports associations, the local city council and entrepreneurs now work together to build and maintain strong and sustainable sports grounds.
  • Clubmark, Sport England. Clubmark is the universally acknowledged cross sport accreditation scheme for community sports Clubs. It stands for:
 - Higher standards of welfare, equity, coaching and management in community sports Clubs
 - Making sure the nation’s sports Club infrastructure is safer, stronger and more successful

It shows that a Club provides the right environment which ensures the welfare of members and encourages everyone to enjoy sport and stay involved throughout their lives.

  • EU Project Toolkit: Guidelines for Clubs & Stadia. A key product resulting from the EU Healthy Stadia pilot project was a ‘toolkit’ of good practice to assist clubs in developing healthier policies and initiatives, drawing on initial work within the UK, and specialist pilot projects run with sports stadia in Finland, Ireland, Spain and Latvia. This toolkit consists of a step-by-step guidance plan, detailing the basic steps needed to roll out Healthy Stadia initiatives, and a library of case studies collated from stadia participating in the programme.
  • Germany: Scarcity of volunteers and viability of sports clubs in Germany, (PDF File  - 386.0 KB), Prof. Dr. Christoph Breuer, Sports Volunteering Research Network, London, (March 2010)
  • Sport Development Report 2013/2014. Analysis of the situation of sports clubs in Germany, Chrsitopher Breuer and Svenja Feiler, Sportverlag Strauss, Germany. The sports clubs in Germany still prove to be well adaptable elements of stability in a rapidly changing society. The intention of sports clubs in Germany to offer a public welfare orientated sports supply is expressed in their objective.\
  • Sport England Club Matters. Club Matters is Sport England’s one stop shop for sports clubs. Club Matters provides free, convenient, practical resources to help you develop and run a sustainable club.
  • Sport England: Sustainable Clubs. This site has been developed on behalf of Sport England and the Pitch Sports Group. It provides guidance to help community sports clubs use environmental sustainability to reduce their running costs. It contains a range of advice from understanding how much energy a club uses through to identifying, prioritising and funding sustainability projects.
  • Sport England: Money Matters. Being financially secure is key to being a successful, sustainable sports club.
  • Sport Scotland: Sustainability in clubs. Sustainability is not just about finances. It’s every bit as important to plan for sustainability in the number of people at your club in each of the following areas: Coaching, Volunteering, Participants, Funding
  • Staffordshire Cricket: Club Sustainability. Staffordshire Cricket is committed to helping support our network of cricket clubs towards a sustainable future. The ECB has provided an excellent support framework for delivery by local cricket boards based around the Social, Economic and Environmental aspects of club life.
  • What's the Score? UK Sport and Recreation Alliance, (20 September 2016). Around every two years the Sport and Recreation Alliance investigates the health of sports clubs (PDF File  - 703.0 KB). This time, we included questions as part of a pan-European survey into social inclusion and volunteering in sports clubs in Europe. The project sought to provide comparable data across ten European Union member states, convert it into suggestions for action and disseminate this knowledge to politicians, sports professionals and sports clubs. 

Where possible, direct links to full-text and online resources are provided. However, where links are not available, you may be able to access documents directly by searching our licenced full-text databases (note: user access restrictions apply). Alternatively, you can ask your institutional, university, or local library for assistance—or purchase documents directly from the publisher. You may also find the information you’re seeking by searching Google Scholar.


  • Commercial Pillars in Grassroots Sport, (PDF   - 2.37 MB), White Paper (condensed version), IMG Sports Technology Group (2014). Sustainability of the community grassroots club structure is important to State and National Sporting Organisations, and some sports are gradually changing their legacy habits, systems and administration processes, working towards sport wide common standards and systems. This white paper looks at the three commercial pillars of administration, membership, and sponsorship in the context of what can be done to affect change and the areas where sports can improve.
  • FFA: Building Australia's Football Community : a review into the sustainability of football, (PDF   - 3.56 MB) Smith, W, Commonwealth of Australia, (2011). In April 2011 the Government announced a review of the structure, governance and administration of football in Australia. The Hon Warwick Smith AM was commissioned to lead the review.
  • Review of current ICT in NSOs with a view to enhancing future e-capability (PDF  - 1.7 MB), University of Ballarat for the Australian Sports Commission, (June 2009). With the increasing pervasiveness of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) impacting upon all aspects of organisational management, it is timely to take stock of how sport uses ICT to manage their sport and to compare current practices with relevant best practice. The review of National Sporting Organisations (NSO) ICT practices can be seen as part of the support provided to assist NSOs to achieve their strategic objectives. 


  • Can't play, won't play: Longitudinal changes in perceived barriers to participation in sports clubs across the child–adolescent transition, Basterfield L, Gardner L, Reilly JK, Pearce M, Parkinson K, Adamson A, Reilly JJ and Vella S, BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine, Volume 2, Issue 1 (2017). This longitudinal study of children and adolescents assessed changes in perceived and real barriers to participation in sports clubs. Data were taken from the Gateshead Millennium Study from children at age 9 years and again at age 12 years. Barriers to participation, across a social-ecological model were reported as: (1) at age 9 years barriers were predominantly of a physical and environmental nature – such as need for parental transport, cost, parental permission, suitable venues, etc., and; (2) at age 12 years perceived barriers were predominantly classified as interpersonal – such as personal motivation (i.e. sports are boring) and social-environmental (i.e. my friends don’t participate). This research found that perceived barriers for children and pre-adolescents were not associated with body weight status. The authors suggest that barriers to sports participation change rapidly in childhood and adolescence. Future interventions aiming to increase sports participation in children and adolescents should target specific age groups, and consider the rapid social changes which occur in adolescence. Perceived barriers may be unrelated to current weight status, allowing for more inclusive solutions.
  • The nature of innovation in community sport organizations, Larena Hoeber, Alison Doherty, Orland Hoeber & Richard Wolfe, European Sport Management Quarterly,Volume 15, Issue 5, 2015. The purpose of this investigation is threefold. First, as indications of the acquisition and creative use of knowledge, this study explores the extent to which community sport organizations (CSOs) are pursuing innovations. Second, these innovations are categorized based on their form, type, and magnitude. Third, the role that the sport context plays in the innovations that CSOs are pursuing is examined. 

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