Last updated 16 August 2016
People are free to form clubs and associations for any purpose. Informal groups could choose to remain ‘unincorporated’ that is, their club is just the same as the individuals in it.
For most sporting organisations, the decision to ‘incorporate’ is often a safer option because the organisation then becomes a separate legal entity to its members (with all the same powers as an individual). This separation protects the members and the management committee from potential liability (as long as the latter can show they have carried out their duties in good faith and exercised due diligence).
A sporting body can incorporate by establishing either a company or an incorporated association. Companies (usually ‘limited by guarantee’ in sport) are dealt with under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) and are more suited to large national sporting bodies. For bodies more at grass roots level, incorporation under the Associations Incorporation Act 1981 (Qld) may be more relevant.
However, there are obligations and responsibilities associated with incorporation which may be seen as disadvantages (see the Incorporated Associations chapter for greater detail about the benefits and risks of incorporation).