Club Development Scotland visits Kyleakin FC and football on the Isle of Skye


In the latest of our Club Development Scotland series, we paid a visit to Kyleakin FC, a village football side from the south of Skye and playing in the Skye and Lochalsh amateur league.

To find out how you can build a winning club, check out our website or contact us to see what we can do for you.

Don’t forget, if you’re supportive of our ongoing work, please don’t forget you can help support us by becoming an individual member by contributing whatever you like towards our work via our Patreon platform.


Club Development Scotland visits Big Hearts

We paid a visit to Big Hearts Community Trust, the official charity partner of Heart of Midlothian Football Club.

They use the power of football to change the lives of the most vulnerable in our communities.

Their main focus over 2021 is to support individuals and families at risk of social isolation who need our help most.

As a registered charity Big Hearts works closely with the Club, local partners and charities across Edinburgh to identify needs, to build and deliver targeted programmes of support.

In 2018 Big Hearts engaged with over 2,285 people through 17 projects, with the help from 200 volunteers.

Club Development Scotland Visits AMS

We visited Fife based community and charitable ‘Legacy’ club AM Soccer Club, founded by Austin MacPhee.

Club Development Scotland are delighted to support AMS in a number of areas including membership management, marketing and communications, fundraising and gift aid. Please get in touch if you’d like to find out how we can grow you a winning club.


Behind the Goals: Futsal in Scotland

Real Madrid winger Cristiano Ronaldo: “In Portugal, all we played growing up was Futsal. The smaller court helped my footwork skills, the nature of the game made me feel so free when I played. If it wasn’t for Futsal, I would definitely not be the player I am today.”

We caught up with Martin Myers (@FIFAmatchAgent) about his background organising overseas fundraising trips for football teams and football supporters, his work as a licensed FIFA Match Agent, and his current role as Chair of the Scottish Futsal League (@ScottishFutsal)

Membership, Fees & Gift Aid for your Sports Club

All sports clubs are essentially membership bodies that exist for, and because of, the people at the club; members, players and participants.

Becoming a two-tier charity with a membership is a powerful model for a sports club. By empowering a wide range of people around a specific cause, the model enables clubs to grow stronger, impact society and have a sustainable funding stream.

This article looks at the nuances of structuring a membership for a sports club charity, focusing on managing memberships, membership fees and benefits such as gift aid.


The details of a member’s rights vary depending on the legal structure of the charity and the charity’s membership rules but in general members have the following powers:

  • remove and replace directors/trustees
  • amend constitutional documents
  • approve transactions between company and directors/trustees
  • control any remaining assets when the charity is wound up

It is the trustees who have day-to-day control over the charity’s operation so the membership power with the most impact is the election of charity trustees.

Sports clubs with a two-tier membership (as opposed to a single tier of just Trustees) are likely to also have a separate document governing the terms of membership. The terms of membership should include reference to the following items, some of which are discussed more in the remainder of this post.

  • Who can join?
  • Are there any membership criteria?
  • What fees are payable?
  • What benefits come with membership?
  • How long does membership last and how is it renewed?
  • In what situation can members be barred or removed?
  • How are membership terms reviewed and amended?

Membership Fees

By their nature, charities’ memberships need to be open to a sufficient section of the public and their structures ought to be for the public benefit.

When deciding whether a club has fees/costs that represent a ‘significant obstacle’ you must check:

  • whether the club charges membership fees over £1,612 a year
  • if the costs associated with being a member of the club are more than £520 a year
  • where costs associated with being a member are more than £520 a year, whether the club makes a satisfactory provision for those that cannot afford to pay more than this amount

If a club charges any member more than £1,612 a year for membership fees then it would not be considered open to the whole community – therefore you may wish to consider breaking down aspects of this fee, i.e. what is membership and what is for services?

In order to be a more inclusive organisation, you may wish to set membership fees at different levels. For example, you could have concessionary rates (for young people, senior citizens, etc) and gold membership for more affluent members. For special members you could provide extra benefits such as discounts on training or events where they can get to mingle with important people.


Membership Fees and Gift Aid

One of the main advantages of a sports club becoming a charity is the ability to claim Gift Aid on membership fees, something unavailable to Community Amateur Sports Clubs. Gift Aid is a scheme enabling registered charities to reclaim tax on a donation made by a UK taxpayer, effectively increasing the amount of the donation by 25%.

There’s a statutory requirement, under Gift Aid, for payments to be gifts. This means that payments that are made to acquire goods or services are not eligible for Gift Aid. However, there are rules within the Gift Aid legislation that allow charities to provide donors with token benefits, within specified limits, in recognition of their gifts.

Most membership subscriptions are not gifts, they’re made to gain access to the facilities and services provided by the charity. However, membership subscriptions paid to charities that secure voting rights and the right to attend a charity’s AGM are gifts provided they do not secure any right to the personal use of any facilities or services provided by the charity.

Membership subscriptions that secure the right to personal use of facilities or services are not gifts. So, for example, subscriptions to a sports charity are not acceptable if they secured for members the free or discounted use of, say, a golf course or a swimming pool or the viewing of films that are not available on similar terms to non-members.

Where a charity separates that part of the membership subscription that simply gives the basic rights of membership and does no more than cover the basic administration costs of the charity from any part that relates to the provision of services or facilities the membership element can be a gift. So, for example, a sports charity that charges a basic membership subscription, with additional, variable, training or playing charges depending on the member’s standard, could regard the basic membership as a gift. The additional training or playing charges could not be treated as gifts. A charity that charges a standard membership fee that covers membership and participation could not treat any part of the subscription as a gift if participation in the activities involved personal use of services or facilities.

Be sure to speak to us about incorporating as a charity, registering and claiming Gift Aid, our preferred membership management systems and/or general advice around structuring and improving your membership. 

CDS Visits Clyde Powerchair FC

We paid a visit to Clyde’s Powerchair FC to find out more about the powerchair club. Clyde PFC were officially rebranded and launched in September 2012 through a partnership between Clyde Football Club and the Glasgow City Powerchair Club. Powerchair football has been going on in Glasgow since April 2010 following a pilot programme organised by Active Schools Glasgow and Renfrewshire and has gone from strength to strength since then allowing the formation of the club you see today. Clyde PFC currently run one session based in North Lanarkshire catering for male and female footballers of all ages and abilities. The club are founding members of the Scottish Powerchair Football League and winners of the inaugural Powerchair Scottish Cup. They have two teams at present within Clyde PFC, Clyde Alba and Clyde Caledonia.

If you’re supportive of our ongoing work, please don’t forget you can help support SD Scotland & fan representation in Scotland by becoming an individual member by contributing whatever you like towards our work via the Patreon platform.

Behind the Goals with Duncan Smillie of Glasgow Rocks

On this week’s episode, we spoke to Duncan Smillie, the owner of Glasgow Rocks, Scotland’s only professional basketball team.

We spoke to him about what attracted him, a passionate football fan, to the sport and about the fan experience at basketball. We also found out a few things that football could learn from the sport.

Behind the Goals – Jesse Cole of Savannah Bananas

The podcast has gone yellow this week for a very special episode of Behind The Goals – or should it be Behind The Home Runs?

Jesse Cole (@YellowTuxJesse), owner of the Savannah Bananas (@TheSavBananas) spoke to us about their unique approach to running a baseball team. Playing in the eighth tier of baseball in the US, the team started from scratch in a city whose previous team folded due to a lack of interest in the sport. By focussing 100% on entertaining the fans (do that, and the results will follow, according to Jesse) they’ve gone from zero interest to sold-out stadiums, winning their league in the process.

If you’re supportive of our work and the content we’re producing, please do consider supporting through a small monthly financial donation via our Patreon channel. We aim to keep all our resources, guidance and documents free of charge to ensure we can help support as many clubs and fans as possible. 

Behind the Goals with Oliver Haltaway of the Big Bath City Bid

On this week’s Behind the Goals, Oliver Holtaway shared the Bath City story with us – they have been in community ownership for a year, following a two-year campaign known as “The Big Bath City Bid”.

Listen to find out about the ups and downs of the bid – and how they enlisted the help of a famous fan to make it a success!

Listen to the interview here: