Beware of Removing Affiliate Members Too Soon

Beware of Removing Affiliate Members Too Soon

Article by Warren Tapp

1. Interesting Law Case

There has been an interesting law case recently with implications for State governing bodies of any sport and their clubs. You may want to read the case and understand how it may impact on you.

The case is Ipswich Netball Association Inc v Netball Queensland Limited. The latter is the governing body for the sport in that State and the former is a “member association” of the State body as are all other netball entities.

2. Cancelling the Membership

The governing body attempted to cancel the “membership” of the Ipswich entity who then took the matter to the Supreme Court of Queensland. The Court found in favour of the Ipswich Association who ordered Netball Queensland to reinstate the Ipswich membership all the rights and privileges of such membership.

3. Legal Costs

Legal costs will be decided later but I suspect Netball Queensland will be told to pay all such costs for both parties, a substantial amount.

4. Check your Constitution

I will not go in to all the legal arguments or reasons for the Court decision, but it is enough to say that if you are on the Board of a governing body, I suggest you check your Constitution and the facts before deciding to cancel membership or affiliation of any member entity.

That is not to say you will not be able to do so if the member is causing problems for the sport you manage, but you do need to get good legal advice to be sure the reasons you do that are legally enforceable.

5. Know Your Rights and Obligations

It also means that the Board or Committee of any member association, like Ipswich Netball Inc, know what your rights and obligations are under the rules of the governing body.
Cases like these result in bad publicity for the whole sport and often large legal costs for both parties, which they can ill afford.

4. Get Legal Advice

The message for all sports club Directors is to get legal advice if you are not sure before taking any action like this case.

You are welcome to contact Geoff or Warren at to discuss any such matters. We will not give you legal advice but guide you on the rights steps to take in any problem.

There is training on risk management in our online learning platform at  to assist you and your Board.

Who Needs Club Governance Training?

In our opinion every club and Association across Australia need Club Governance Training.

Governing a Club, Charity or any Not-for-profit is a big responsibility, and it cannot be done by well-meaning volunteers who do not understand their role.

Club Governance Training will;

  1. Board Members will know their responsibilities.
  2. You’ll have more productive Board Meetings.
  3. Help improve your Club’s growth and sustainability.
  4. Your Club will be more legally compliant.

Club Governance has developed an online training program for all Board and Committee members to ensure they know how to do their job.

It is available in 15 modules of about 15 minutes each and covers all the necessary knowledge they must have, based on our 30+ years of assisting organisations like yours around Australia.