The Australian Sports Commission – Mandatory Governance Principles

The Australian Sports Commission (the ASC) released the Sports Governance Principles in 2002 (revised in 2007 and 2012) as a response to the increased importance of governance practices in the performance of sporting organisations. In 2013, seven highest funded sports were required to comply with the Mandatory Sports Governance Principles (the Principles).

In 2015 the ASC has increased, from seven to fifteen, the number of sports that are subject to compliance with the Principles. Those 15 sports are assessed through the annual sports review process with the review being “a vital part of accountability for sports receiving public funding”. Compliance is assessed on a range from ‘not in place’ through to ‘optimised’ and the assessments are based on evidence provided by NSOs during the review process. Compliance with the Principles is a condition of funding.

The Principles generally come within three functional areas:

  1. Structure of the sport;
  2. Board composition and operation; and
  3. Board transparency, reporting and integrity.

NSO’s as part of the Principles are required to achieve a target of 40% representation by women at senior executive levels and as members of the Board. The targeted date is to be agreed as part of the conditions of funding between the NSO and the ASC.

While the ASC has identified those sports which receive high levels of public funding, the Principles apply equally to sports which are not included in the targeted group. The Principles adopt “better” practise and consequently they should be the base line standards for adoption by all NSO’s and indeed NFP organisations generally.

The Principles are available on the ASC’s home page at

Should you have any questions regarding the application of the Principles in your own sporting environment please contact Peter McGrath, Partner.

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