Recognition of sports and National Governing Bodies

This page provides guidance on the policy and process by which Sports Councils recognise sports and National Governing Bodies of Sport.

This information will be of use to National Governing Bodies who wish to apply for Sports Council recognition or for anyone with an interest in the way the recognition process works.

Recognition is a joint policy, operated by the four Home Country Sports Councils (Sport Wales, Sport England, Sport Northern Ireland and Sport Scotland) and UK Sport. Under a new process introduced in 2010, applications for recognition of a sport and a National Governing Body for that sport are dealt with together.

Recognition of sports and National Governing Bodies is subject to application. Applications must be approved by all the Home Country Sports Councils, with the following exceptions:

  • Where a National Governing Body 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 the recognition of Great Britain and UK National Governing Bodies.

What is a sport?

The Sports Councils do not decide what is and what is not a sport.

There are many different opinions as to what constitutes a sporting activity and the Sports Councils do not have their own definition of sport. However, we operate a recognition process to establish which sports we may consider working with.

When deciding whether to recognise a sport, the Sports Councils look to see if it meets the Council of Europe's European Sports Charter 1993 definition of sport and if the sport is well established and organised within our jurisdiction.

What is a National Governing Body?

It is not the role of the Sports Councils to establish or appoint National Governing Bodies. National Governing Bodies 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 National Governing Body structure which governs a sport at UK, GB or Home Country level. Our recognition criteria focus on establishing if a National Governing Body 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.

Recognition does not bestow any official powers on a National Governing Body to govern its sport.

Sports Councils Recognition Policy

Full details of the recognition policy, process and the criteria used to assess applications can be downloaded here.

Sports Councils' Recognition Application Process

The recognition application process is divided into two stages:

  • Pre-application: assessing sporting activity and governance
  • Full application: assessing wider issues such as competition structure, sporting and NGB development and sporting injury

Guidance for applicants

If you are considering making an application, you should:

  1. Read the recognition policy as this contains essential information. For further details or to access an application form, please contact or call 02920 338281. For bodies based in Scotland, England and Northern Ireland you should refer to the Recognition sections on the relevant Home Country Sports Council websites.
  2. Your pre-application will be considered by the UK Recognition Panel and we will aim to contact you with the outcome within 12 weeks from the date we receive it.
  3. If you are successful at the pre-application stage, you will progress to the full application stage. Before submitting your full application, you will be required to meet with a representative from the UK Recognition Panel to discuss your application and, following the meeting you will be provided with the full application form to complete and return.

Which sports and governing bodies do we currently recognise?

To see which sports and governing bodies are currently recognised by Sport Wales visit the 'Recognised sports/governing bodies' document on the right hand side of this page.