Contracts and sport organisations

Administrators of sport organisations, voluntary and paid, need to have some understanding of the law regard contracts. The most common contracts to be entered into by sport organisations are:

What is a contract?

A contract is formed when one party (the promisor) makes a promise to another party which the law will enforce because certain conditions, as described below, have been met. The party to whom the promise is made is called the promisee.

When parties enter into a contract, they do not necessarily have to put their agreement in writing for the contract to be enforceable in law. However, if the agreement is not in writing, it is much harder to prove that promises were made unless witnesses can substantiate. When a contract is put in writing it is must be signed ("executed") by both parties.

There are three broad categories of written contract:

Simple written contracts

A "simple" contract is the usual form of everyday contract that people make. A simple contract can be made verbally or put in writing. A simple contract must contain a number of essential elements for it to be enforceable in a court of law:

See also the special case of Unilateral Contracts which may occur sometimes in sporting situations.


A deed is a special form of contract in which only one party has obligations. This is not the case in a normal simple contract. A deed is used, for example, to transfer ownership of something (often property such real estate) to another person or legal entity. A deed might also be used in cases where one party wants to commit to legally binding obligations to another. In all cases, a very important difference between a deed and a simple contract, is that no consideration is required by the person or entity receiving the real estate or other benefit and rights.

A deed must:

Negotiable instruments

A negotiable instrument is an instrument of credit that has features of negotiability. Negotiable instrument means promissory notes, bills of exchange or cheque, payable either to order or bearer.

A negotiable instrument is an unconditional promise to pay a certain sum of money. The money should be made payable on demand.


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