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Office of Sport

Boards or Committees of Management (COM) board secretaries, officers, and committee members of State Sporting Organisations (SSOs) and State Sporting Organisations for people with disability (SSODs) need to be aware their legal obligations and commitment to quality and safety are critical in today’s sporting environment. If you serve on a board or committee, risk management is one of your key responsibilities.

What is risk management?

Risk management is the process of systematically eliminating or minimising the adverse impact of all activities which may give rise to injurious or dangerous situations.  This requires the development of a framework within which risk exposure can be monitored and controlled.  Risk management is a tool by which persons involved in sport can seek to meet their duties and thus avoid liability.
Risks which can be covered by a risk management program include:

  • Legal risks – losses and costs arising from legal actions for breach of a common law or statutory duty of care
  • Physical risks – injuries to participants and the public
  • Financial risks – increased insurance premiums, costs associated with injuries for business reasons, loss of financial stability and asset value, replacement costs and earning capacity and increased external administrative costs

A common mistake SSO’s make is to view risk management as a program in isolation. It is really an ongoing process that should be applied to all SSOs policies and procedures.

  1. Risk responsibility
    The Board or COM of a SSO is responsible for overseeing the establishment and implementation of risk management systems by the SSO.  They are also responsible for reviewing the on-going effectiveness of these systems.  
  2. Risk management policy
    The SSO’s risk management policy provides the framework to manage the risks associated with its core activities, including the Sport.  
  3. Risk management approach
    The Australian Standard on Risk Management (AS/NZ ISO 3100:2018 provides guidelines on managing risk faced by organisations. The application of these guidelines can be customized to any organization and its context.
  4. Risk, crisis management and sport business recovery resources
    Major events and disasters such as bushfires, floods, catastrophic accidents and the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic can strike without little warning. 

More information

NSW Volunteering - Risk Management for Not for Profit Organisations 
NSW Volunteering - Risk Register Template 
Play by the Rules – risk management advice for people in sport 
Our Community – Risk Management 
Clearinghouse for Sport 


As with any legal documents, this does not replace obtaining legal advice on each sport’s specific requirements and it is recommended you do so.

The information provided is for your information only. The authors and the NSW Office of Sport accept no responsibility for the accuracy of the information or your reliance upon it.

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