Sports Clubs and The Law
In association with Hassett Considine Solicitors we are pleased to present our first legal column in which we will address topical legal issues in every issue which we hope will be of interest to our readers.
In the first of these columns we take a look at some of the legal issues and concerns facing sports clubs with particular attention being paid to the liability of the club to its members.
The first important point to note is that a member of any sports club who voluntarily participates in club activities accepts the risks that are inherent in the sport or activity itself. There is no legal obligation on the club to provide insurance cover, so the responsibility of ensuring that cover is in place rests with the individual member. Therefore, if a member is registered on a team and participates in training or games then he or she does so at his or her own risk.
The club rules/ constitution will contain sections on membership and in the vast majority of cases there will be a requirement that a subscription be paid annually in order to qualify as a full member. Although it is every club's ambition to ensure that all of its members are fully paid up members, this is often not the case. If an unregistered member is allowed onto club property, he or she will be a member of the Public. In the event of any such person sustaining an injury on club property, he or she will most likely identify the club trustees and executive as Defendants because in most cases they are the legal owners of the club property.
A club will usually have public liability insurance which will cover such claims but circumstances may arise where the policy of insurance will not cover a claim such as where the club does not notify the insurance company on time.
Where a full member is injured in similar circumstances as that described above, the member cannot sue the club. The Courts have held in the past that there is no distinction between the member and the club so effectively you cannot sue yourself.
Other areas of law which extend to sporting organisations include Licensing Law where a Club for example intends to run a fund raising event at which they will sell intoxicating liquor and the Lottery Licensing Laws. The club lottery is often the main source of income for a lot of sporting bodies.
If you wish to obtain further information in relation to any point raised above, then please contact Joe or Daragh at Hassett Considine Solicitors, 9 Carmody Street Business Park, Ennis, Co. Clare (065-6865480) or 19 Kilrush Town Centre, Kilrush, Co. Clare (065-9051588).