HAVE YOU EVER WANTED TO OWN A RUGBY LEAGUE CLUB?
At Brighton and Hove Rugby League, we’re not afraid to do things differently. That’s why we’re offering people the chance to be a co-owner of our Rugby League club.
One of our core principles is that a community club is built on the people who are part of that community. But how can someone truly be part of a community if they don’t get a say in how it’s run?
You’re right – they can’t!
Our Ownership model means that people who are part of the club get a say in how it’s run – with a “one share, one vote” model. This means that you get a vote at the AGM – including the ability to vote on and stand for the committee that runs the club, you’ll be given monthly updates on how the business is performing and you’ll be able to see the results of your Ownership all around you.
WHAT DO YOU NEED OWNERS FOR?
Our Vision is to build a sustainable Rugby League club, culture and community in Brighton & Hove and the surrounding area.
A lot of community clubs, in many sports, aren’t run sustainably. They can fall to the mercy of a big investor who spends until they get bored, and then the club fails. Our model ensures that this can never happen. Our constitution prevents any single entity from controlling the club – the committee is empowered to run the club by the Owners. We think it’s a lot more sustainable this way.
The Owners also are a source of funding the club – rather than having one rich backer, we want to have many Owners paying a small amount each – this ensures we remain democratic.
WHAT WILL YOU USE THE MONEY FOR?
In the simplest terms, the money will be used to grow the sport of Rugby League! We’re not-for-profit – this is enshrined in the constitution, so any excess revenue is reinvested back into the sport. Here are some of the ways that you’re money is likely to be used:
- To keep playing fees as low as possible – this will enable us to allow as many people as possible to try out our great sport without being excluded for financial reasons.
- To provide high-quality facilities for players and supporters. We think a welcoming environment will be key to taking people on the journey from “new to Rugby League” all the way through to “life-long fan” and so having access to a high quality playing facility will be important.
- To develop our own people. Building a sustainable club will include making sure we train our coaches and volunteers to the highest possible standards. Good coaches and volunteers will often be a new person’s first gateway into the sport – a good experience will set them up for a long involvement with the sport, a bad experience will turn them off, perhaps forever.
- To develop Women’s Rugby League and help the sport to grow. Currently the closest opponents are in Bristol and Nottingham which means there’s a serious investment of time from the players – we don’t feel they should also be out of pocket financially when representing the club.
- To grow junior rugby league across Sussex using a “satellite club” model. Growing several junior teams will allow teams to find meaningful competition without creating an onerous travel burden.
- To provide social rugby league opportunities – regular (mostly) non-contact playing opportunities for those who can’t or don’t want to play full-contact rugby league.
- To provide opportunities for kids to try rugby league for the first time in their school environments under the guidance of well-trained coaches.
And in the long-run, we want to create our own home-ground – a permanent location primarily for Rugby League in the city to ensure that the sport continues in Brighton & Hove for years to come.
I DON’T KNOW, THIS SOUNDS KIND OF RISKY
Legally, we’re a Limited Company (limited by guarantee) which means that when you become a shareholder, you’re limited to £1 liability. It means that if the club ever goes under (although our plan is that this never happens) that you’d only have to pay £1 towards any debts. Even better – when you first join, we’ll put that £1 aside so that you’ll never be out of pocket.
ADDED BONUS: BECOME A FOUNDER OF THE CLUB
Anyone who signs up as a Supporter or an Owner before the end of May will be considered a “Founder” of the club and their names will be recorded within the constitution. We’re also going to create a “Founders Board” which will be one of the first pieces of decoration we put up when we eventually acquire our own home. When we’re allowed to meet in person (so date to be confirmed), we’ll have our “constituting meeting” – this will be where our club officially comes into existence and we’ll be inviting all of our Founders to celebrate this moment.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
I just want to play Rugby League, do I have to be a Supporter or an Owner?
Short answer: no. If you just want to play for one of the regular teams, you only have to pay a players fee each season. If you want to support what we do, then you’re definitely welcome to become a Supporter or an Owner. There will usually be a discount on the playing fee for current Supporters & Owners.
We’ll also be running social rugby league on a regular basis which isn’t attached to a team. There’s no charge for this, but we would encourage anyone who wants to play regularly to become at least a Supporter to enable us to keep running this and expand our offering. The plan is for social rugby league to run all year round, subject to numbers, meaning that each session is just over £1 for 90 minutes of rugby!
Is this like a supporters club?
Yes, if your supporters club also allows you to be involved in running the club, and gives you a say on key decisions within the club.
Will I get a return on my investment?
No – although each Owner gets a share in the company, any profit is reinvested into the club, as mandated by its not for profit status in the constitution. In time, we’re hoping to change the legal structure to a Community Benefit Society, which will reinforce that model and provide additional tax advantages. However, it’s a significant investment, both financially, and in terms of work required, so this will be something we look to institute later.
What happens if I want to stop being an Owner? Can I sell my share?
If you no longer wish to be an Owner, then just let us know and we will cancel any future payments. You will remain an Owner until any current payment has run out (e.g. if you paid annually and cancel three months into the year, you will remain a member until this expires). Your share is non-transferable so it can’t be sold. It also means that shares can not be listed publicly.
Are there any limits on Ownership?
No – anyone can buy an Ownership. Anyone under 16 won’t be able to vote on club business or stand for committee. If you want to stand for committee, you’ll become a director so you can’t have anything that disqualifies you from the same.
Can I buy an Ownership for someone else?
Yes – you can gift an Ownership – use the options below to sign up and then email us to let us know what name you want the Ownership under.
I didn’t become a Supporter or an Owner before the Founder deadline – can I still join? Will my vote count any less?
Yes – the Founder opportunity is a one-off for the first people to join the club, to recognise the historic even and as a note of thanks for the early adopters. A Founding Owner has no additional voting rights over any other Owner – each person has one vote if they are an Owner.
or £60 per year
Our Supporters help us to grow Rugby League in Brighton & Hove and the wider Sussex area. Your support allows us to provide opportunities for people to play Rugby League as well as ensure that the club stays sustainable.
Being a supporter will get you a discount on Merch (& Playing Fees if you want to play) as well as a regular Supporters Email with everything the club is up to.
or £120 per year
Ownership means that you get a share in BHRL, which means you can vote on Club Business and stand for committee, in addition to the benefits of being a supporter.
We'll also send you a monthly business report so that you can see that we're using your money wisely. It's our way of ensuring that our Owners can hold us to account so that we're doing the best we can for the club.
If you would like to support us in a different way, get in touch with us about a Custom Ownership.
Please note that if you choose to support us for a higher amount, you'll still only be eligible for One Share, One Vote.