The following summary of the judgment in Cronulla Sutherland Leagues Club Limited v. FC of T is provided to help you self-assess if your club is a society, association or club established for the encouragement of a game or sport. For a copy of the published case judgment see Cronulla Sutherland Leagues Club Limited v. FC of T.

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The objects in the club's constitution included:

  • to establish, equip, furnish and maintain a club for the benefit of members and to promote social sporting and educational undertakings… of members, and
  • to provide any or all of the facilities necessary to further the aims of the Cronulla-Sutherland District Rugby League Football Club and the Cronulla-Caringbah Junior Rugby League Football Club.

The club conducted its affairs to maximise support to the football club by providing:

  • most of the football club's income
  • a playing field and grandstand for the football club, with advertising rights
  • car parking revenue (2,000 cars) on game days
  • two fully equipped offices and other meeting facilities
  • exclusive use of a part of the clubhouse with a viewing window on game days.

The club ran small internal sub-clubs encouraging several sports.

The club and the football club were associated as follows:

  • Control of the leagues club was by persons interested in promoting the football club. This control was historical and not formalised.
  • The directors of the leagues club become directors of the football club.

The clubhouse was next to the playing field and included:

  • squash courts, gymnasium, training facilities for members and footballers
  • several bars, poker machines, bistro, restaurant, auditorium, function room and games lounge for table tennis, carpet bowls, cards and snooker
  • office accommodation and several viewing areas overlooking the playing field.

Club membership was approximately 13,000.

The court decided that the main purpose of the club was the provision of the social amenities to its members, not the encouragement of rugby league. The following were noted:

  • The encouragement of rugby league and the provision of a social club for members were considered separate purposes.
  • Annual revenue was from poker machines, bar trading and other entertainment; and expenditure was geared in large part to produce this income.
  • The absence of a legal obligation, in its rules or by contract, to support the football club, was not fatal to the club's claim for exemption but the potential to apply surplus funds for purposes other than the encouragement of rugby league was considered significant.
    Last modified: 21 Mar 2011QC 23868