Starting up a sports club in Serbia
For the purpose of undertaking sports activities, a sports organisation in Serbia may be set up as an association, business entity or entrepreneur. Depending on the manner of organisation and territorial scope, a sports organisation may be:
- A sports association set up by minimum three legally competent natural persons and/or legal persons, associated in order to achieve a common goal. This is the form in which sports clubs are set up.
- A sports society created through association of sports organisations for the purpose of regulating and achieving common goals and interests, and also of having joint performance in the area of sports.
- Professional sports associations created through association of sports professionals, such as associations of instructors, umpires and the like.
- Branch and territorial sports associations created through association of several sports organisations and associations.
Sports association (club) in Serbia
A sports association in Serbia, just like any other association, may be set up by domestic or foreign, natural or legal persons, for the purpose of undertaking a specific sports activity, i.e. achieving sports-related goals. Set-up goals may differ and they most often refer to the popularisation of a specific sports branch. In order to acquire the status of a club, membership in authorized associations and the possibility of participating in competitions, you need to first set up a sports association.
The law specifies that a sports association while being set up cannot use the term “club”, as this term may be entered only subsequently, after the decision of the authorized sports inspector has been obtained. A sports organisation participating in sports competitions should contain the term “club” or “sports club” in its name and also the name of the branch or branches it competes in. Furthermore, in order to participate in competitions, the club needs to be registered with the authorised national branch sports association and meet the conditions in line with the Law.
As a non-profit organisation, a sports association is exempt from payment of taxes, though it has the status of a legal entity, which facilitates development of business relations considerably. It is obliged to keep its business records and submit its financial statements in line with the regulations.
The Sports Law provides for the possibility to acquire financial assets and revenues through membership fees, donations and grants, subsidies, inheritance, sponsorships, dividends, services and other activities. A sports association may use its property solely for the purpose of achieving the goals defined by the Statute. Furthermore, a sports association may set up a business entity or another legal person in order to obtain the assets required for achieving its sports goals.
Procedure for setting up sports associations in Serbia
The first step in the process of setting up a sports club in Serbia is to convene the founding assembly, whether it is a football, volleyball, basketball or any other sports club. The founding assembly is to decide on the name and the seat of the club and its legal form, and also to appoint the persons authorised to represent the club. Furthermore, it should adopt the Statute and sign the Articles of Association. The Statute defines the goals on account of which the association is being set up, and also the key activities for their achievement.
Is it possible to set up a sports school in the form of a sports association?
Legal and natural persons not participating in sports competitions whose core activity is sports training and advancement of third parties (not its members), inclusive of a market fee, or sports exercising, may be founded solely in the form of a business entity (LLC) or an entrepreneur.
This category includes football schools, tennis schools, swimming schools, martial arts schools, dance studios, camps, and also sports academies, fitness and other sports centres. While a business entity may be set up by a natural and/or legal person, an entrepreneur must have appropriate sports knowledge. They are not allowed to include in their title such terms as “club”, “sports club” or “association”, but only “school”, “academy”, “sports centre” or “sports school”.
Although the procedure for setting up a sports organisation in Serbia is relatively simple, in order to follow it through independently, you need to know that the issues such as the legal form, name, core activity, organisational structure and the like are regulated by the law. Furthermore, you should bear in mind the obligations and responsibilities of the founders, members, legal representatives, and also the obligations related to reporting and payment of taxes. All these and many other details are defined by a series of regulations contained in the Law and Rulebooks. We, therefore, recommend that you consult us beforehand to receive guidelines on all available options.