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Key points for sports organisations on the use of charitable foundations

Marathon Runners
Friday, 30 November 2018 By Benjamin Thomas

Establishing a charitable foundation can be an excellent way for a professional sports club to give back to the community. We are seeing an increasing number of foundations being established, not only by elite clubs but also by smaller clubs. However, foundations are not appropriate for every sports club. This article explores:

  • Why might a club wish to set up a charity?

  • What is a charitable foundation suitable for?

  • What isn’t a charitable foundation suitable for?

  • What are the practical steps associated with establishing a foundation?

  • What is the relationship between a club and its associated charity?

  • What are the risks involved?

For the purposes of this article, a charitable foundation is an entity which is recognised by the Charity Commission as being charitable and can take different legal forms.

Note that this article focuses on charitable foundations of clubs and does not go into any great detail on Community Amateur Sports Clubs, which have been discussed separately here,1 or other club structures for semi-professional and amateur sports clubs, as discussed here.2

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Written by

Benjamin Thomas

Benjamin Thomas

Associate, Bates Wells Braithwaite

Ben is a solicitor in Bates Wells Braithwaite's Charity and Social Enterprise department. He advises a wide range of sporting clients, including governing bodies, grant-making institutions, clubs, Community Amateur Sports Clubs and social enterprises, covering issues such as governance, charity law / CASC registration and compliance, setting up charitable foundations, managing grants, general regulatory advice and contract drafting and review.

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