Recognition of sports and national governing bodies

Recognition process

It is not the role of the sports councils to establish or appoint national governing bodies. SGBs are typically independent, self-appointed organisations that govern their sports through the common consent of their sport.

The aim of the recognition process is to identify a single lead SGB structure which governs a sport at UK, GB or home country level. Our recognition criteria focus on establishing if an SGB has achieved a position of pre-eminence within its sport and if it has a reasonable level of organisation and governance. Sports council recognition of a national governing body is not a guarantee of funding and neither does it mean we have approved or accredited the quality of its programmes. A sports body’s membership of an International Federation does not automatically mean that the body will become recognised as an SGB by the Sports Councils. Recognition does not bestow any official powers on a national governing body to govern its sport

Recognition is a process shared by all five Sports Councils (UK Sport, sportscotland, Sport England, Sport Wales and Sport Northern Ireland)

Applications for recognition of a sport and a national governing body (SGBs) for that sport are dealt with together. Recognition is subject to application and applications must be approved by all the home country sports councils with the following exceptions:

  • Where an SGB operates in a single home country, recognition of the body requires the approval of that country’s sports council only
  • UK Sport also needs to approve applications where an Olympic or Paralympic sport or SGB is being considered.

Guidance for applicants

If you are considering making an application, you should: 

  1. Read the recognition policy as this contains essential information which will help you when making your application.
  2. Email us ( ) to request a pre-application form and a reference copy of the full application form. When contacting us, please include some brief details about your sport and organisation.
  3. Your pre-application will be considered by the sportscotland Recognition Group and we will aim to contact you with the outcome within 12 weeks from the date we receive it.
  4. If you are successful at the pre-application stage, you will progress to the full application Before submitting your full application, you will be required to meet with a representative(s) from the sportscotland Recognition Group to discuss your application and, following, the meeting you will be provided with the full application form to complete and return.
Date published: 2 August 2023
Date updated: 25 April 2024


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