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Setting Up A New Club

Community Owned Club Formation Process

A short point by point run through of the Community Owned Club formation process to give you an idea of the requirements and important points of consideration.

If you are looking at forming a new Community Owned Club or converting an existing club into community ownership please contact FSA Network Manager [email protected]


  1. Working Party
  2. Legal Structure
  3. Where Will You Play?
  4. What Level Will You Play At?
  5. Open Meeting
  6. Rules & Registration
  7. Bank Account
  8. Legal
  9. Planning
  10. FA
  11. Website & Social Media
  12. Membership
  13. Launch Party
  14. First AGM

Working Party

Before you begin to tackle the process of setting up a Community Owned Club you need to form a working party of at least four or five individuals to help see the process through and spread the workload.

Your Club can only be successful with enough people interested in coming together to make it work.

You have a number of important points to consider before you embark on this journey so an efficient and passionate working party in place to help you make these key decisions will be vital.

Legal Structure

It is important you explore the available legal structures for your Community Owned Club and select one which is appropriate.

Download our guidance on incorporation and the various possible legal structures for your club HERE

Where Will You Play?

Securing a home ground to play your matches at is an important step in the process. You need to explore available local options and make a decision whether you wish to lease or purchase an existing facility or develop something new.

What Level Will You Play At?

If you are starting a new club from scratch (perhaps a phoenix club situation) be mindful that you will have to make an application to join the pyramid.

Have conversations with your local FA and leagues to familiarise yourself with this process, giving you the ability to adequately manage the expectations of your supporters and members.

Open Meeting

Once you have met with the FSA Network Manager and decided that you want to go ahead and start the process of setting up a Community Owned Club, the next course of action to take is to hold a public open meeting for supporters to attend, hear about the proposals and vote via show of hands to go ahead with the registration.

Usually a public meeting would be attended by a speaker from the FSA and if possible, a representative of an already established local Community Owned Club who can discuss the work they do.

Some of the important points to cover include:

  • Introduce concept of community ownership and potential benefits it may have
  • Explain the work Community Benefit Societies and the FSA do
  • Allow questions to be answered of the supporter base
  • Invite local established Community Owned Club along to talk about their experiences
  • Establish democratic mandate to proceed with Club set up
  • Introduce “working party” who will take the process forwards and form first board until AGM and elections have been held

Rules & Registration

Your FSA Network Manager will supply you with a template copy of the rules to be registered with the FCA along with a selection of side policies.

Your Network Manager will assist you with the registration process and populate the rules with the information specific to your society.


These are important roles which need to be appointed ASAP.

In the long term these roles must be performed by two different people. The legislation requires the Secretary to be responsible for all performance by the Society.

The Society may have a Treasurer who carried out financial work but must be overseen by the Society Secretary.

You can use the launch party to appeal for volunteers with the skills that you need behind the scenes.

As the elections and AGM will likely not be held for around a year these would be interim positions, as all volunteers at the Trust are until the first proper election.

Bank Account

Without a bank account you cannot accept new members. Bank account details need to be included on any membership application forms.

Once you have received confirmation from the FCA that your society has been registered, select an appropriate bank account and send off completed forms to the bank ASAP.

After submitting the forms make sure to chase the bank for the date of account activation. It is imperative for the account to be open before you launch the Trust.

Bank accounts generally take a minimum of 3 to 4 weeks to open due to the requirements of the Money Laundering Act identity checks for signatories but can take up to 8 weeks.


Our legal helpline in partnership with Gateley PLC is available to members who need specialist legal advice. Affiliate FSA members receive 30 minutes free consultation and advice. To utilise this service, contact your FSA Network Manager.


When it comes to issues surrounding a club’s ground, planning consent etc, we have a planning consultant, Frank Whittle and Partners who can advise and assist where required. To utilise this service, contact your FSA Network Manager.


Clubs invariably make contact with the FA themselves but we’re happy to assist or communicate on their behalf, informing that a transfer to ownership by a Community Benefit Society is forthcoming/happening.

The checklist used by the FA is available to download HERE.

Website & Social Media

Create and populate website with relevant content and launch social media channels on Twitter and Facebook.

Feel free to take any content direct from the FSA website.


The first members of the society are those in the working party who signed the rules. To take on further members you will need a membership form and a database to store membership information. This can be as simple as a spreadsheet depending on your society’s needs.

Your membership form will need to contain:

  • Society’s registered name
  • Society’s trading name
  • The line “A Community Benefit Society under the Cooperative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014”
  • Society’s registration number
  • T’s & C’s of membership
  • Bank account details
  • Members name
  • Members email
  • Mobile number
  • Members DOB
  • “I agree to abide by the rules and policies of the society” next to members signature.
  • Date of signing

Make the form simple and easy to complete and include electronic payment methods.

Launch Party

The best way to promote the launch of your Club would be to hold an event where you can introduce the Club’s aims and sign up members.

Make sure you find a suitable venue for launch party. The venue should be local to supporters, accessible with parking.

You need to start promoting your launch to ensure a good attendance. Social media is key for getting the word out. Encourage your followers to share and retweet to encourage as big an attendance as possible at the launch.

Most Community Owned Clubs are registered as community benefit societies. Try to forge links with like-minded groups and key figures in the community from the start. Reach out and invite community groups, politicians (MP’s and Council), council officers, local businesses, Co-operative and trade union people, club representatives, supporters of other clubs plus any other supporters clubs or
supporter groups for the club.

You need to put in place a timetable for the event itself to ensure it stays on topic and on time. Decide how long the event will last.

Ideally guests need to be invited and confirmed well in advance of the event and a running order locked down, so everyone knows what they are doing and when.

Confirm the speaker’s content, do they know what they are going to discuss? Do they need any help with content?

If equipment like microphones and projectors are required, confirm these are available at the venue or arrange hire of required equipment.

First AGM

The first AGM has to be within 18 months of the registration of the society and has to be within 6 months of the financial year-end.

It might follow the anniversary of the registration of the society, or it may be at the point in the year you want to have future AGMs like just at the start of the new season.

At your first AGM all of the working party board should stand down. All retiring members are eligible for re-election.

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