The following summary of the judgment in St Marys Rugby League 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 St Marys Rugby League Club Limited v. FC of T.
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The objects in the club's constitution included:
- the management and promotion of rugby league football in the St Marys district
- assisting other rugby league clubs, and
- providing clubhouse and playing facilities for members.
The club had its origins as a rugby league club in 1908. It fielded 32 teams involving 450 players in Junior League, Reserve Grade and Metropolitan Cup competitions and leased several playing fields. Golf, snooker, darts, softball, cricket and fishing sub-clubs existed.
Football grants were between 10% and 20% of total expenditure and roughly 20% of net income. Cash reserves were $2.4 million to be used to construct football fields. A motel was also under consideration.
Membership was 6,500, the majority of whom fell under the following membership categories:
- life members
- football members - existing or past players in the Penrith competition
- supporting members - existing or past players in other rugby league competitions. Persons who have been supporting members for two years were eligible to become football members
- associate members - consistent match attendees and football club volunteers.
Only life members and football members could be on the board.
Clubhouse facilities included:
- two auditoriums, restaurant and bar facilities
- snooker tables, club keno and 90 poker machines
- offices and meeting rooms
- parking area for 200 cars
- golf range leased to an independent operator.
Photographs of life members and players, blazers of champion players and trophies were on display.
The court decided that the club was exempt. It noted:
- Rugby league was the major object in the club's rules.
- The membership categories and control given to football members in the rules pointed to significance of football.
- The intensity of activity directed towards football tipped the balance in favour of exemption.
- The history was of close association with rugby league.
The following differences from Cronulla were also noted:
- Cronulla involved a football club and a leagues club.
- Cronulla's only connection with football was the grants and facilities provided to the football club.
- The membership structure of Cronulla did not give emphasis and importance to footballers or supporters.
- Control of Cronulla was not formalised.
- The sheer size and intensity of the social activities of Cronulla led to the conclusion that the social activity was of such great significance that it was impossible to conclude that the main purpose of the club was the encouragement of rugby league.