The recognition process
Recognition is a process shared by all five Sports Councils (Sport England, sports Scotland, Sport Wales, Sport Northern Ireland and UK Sport) which determines which National Governing Bodies (NGBs) are responsible for governing the sporting activities the Sports Councils are willing to consider supporting and working with. It acknowledges the status of NGBs as private organisations that govern particular sports through the common consent of the sport itself.
Applications for recognition can only be made by NGBs. If you are a club, association or individual and would like to see your sport recognised, you must contact your sport’s NGB and raise the matter of recognition with them. They may already have applied or are in the process of doing so.
Recognition applications for a sport and the NGB for that sport are dealt with together as part of a single application. Recognition is subject to application and applications must be approved by all the home country sports councils with the following exceptions:
- Where an NGB 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 applications where an Olympic or Paralympic sport or NGB is being considered.
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. NGBs 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 NGB structure which governs a sport at UK, GB or home country level. Our recognition criteria focus on establishing if a NGB 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.
Guidance for applicants
If you are considering making an application, you should:
- Read the recognition policy as this contains essential information which will help you when making your application.
- Email us to request a pre-application form and a reference copy of the full application form. When contacting us, please include some brief details about your sport and organisation.
- 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.
- 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. You can download copy of the full application form for information only below.
But we work alongside UK Sport, Sport Northern Ireland, Sport Scotland and Sport Wales to determine what we officially recognise as a sport.
You can read more about this process, and find out which sports we recognise, below.
Sports and governing bodies that we recognise
Sports marked with an asterisk (*) are considered to be 'higher risk' for the purposes of Sport England funding.
Current list of recognised sports
You can download a current (April 2017) list of the UK-recognised national governing bodies and sports here.
A list of recognised sports and links to their national governing body's website can be found below.
|Recognised sports||National governing bodies|
|Aikido*||British Aikido Board|
|Air sports*||The Royal Aero Club of Great Britain
British Aerobatic Association
British Balloon and Airship Club
British Gliding Association
British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association
British Microlight Aircraft Association
British Model Flying Association
British Parachute Association
Light Aircraft Association
|American football||British American Football Association|
|Angling||The Angling Trust|
|Arm wrestling||No recognised governing body in England|
|Artistic skating (roller)||See roller sports|
|Australian rules football||No recognised governing body in England|
|Ballooning*||See air sports|
|Ballroom dancing||See exercise, movement and dance|
|Baseball||British Baseball Federation|
|Baton twirling||No recognised governing body in England|
|Biathlon*||British Biathlon Union|
|Bicycle polo||See cycling|
|Billiards and snooker||English Association of Snooker and Billiards|
|Bobsleigh*||British Bobsleigh Association|
British Crown Green Bowling Association
|Boxing*||British Boxing Board of Control
|Camogie||No recognised governing body in England|
|Caving*||British Caving Association|
|Chinese martial arts*||British Council for Chinese Martial Arts|
|Clay pigeon shooting*||See shooting|
|Cricket||England and Wales Cricket Board|
|Croquet||The Croquet Association|
|Curling||English Curling Association|
|Dance sport||See exercise, movement and dance|
|Darts||No recognised governing body in England|
|Disability sport||British Blind Sport
British Paralympic Association
British Wheelchair Sports Foundation
Cerebral Palsy Sport
English Federation of Disability Sport
UK Deaf Sport
|Dragon boat racing||British Dragon Boat Racing Association|
|Equestrian*||British Equestrian Federation|
|Exercise, movement and dance|
|Fives||Eton Fives Association
Rugby Fives Association
|Floorball||No recognised governing body in England|
|Folk dancing||See exercise, movement and dance|
|Football||The Football Assocation|
|Gaelic football||No recognised governing body in England|
|Gliding*||See air sports|
|Hang gliding and paragliding*||See air sports|
|Harness racing*||See equestrian|
|Health and beauty exercise||See exercise, movement and dance|
|Highland games||No recognised governing body in England|
|Horse Racing*||British Horse Racing Authority|
|Horse Riding*||See equestrian|
|Hovering||Hovercraft Club of Great Britain Ltd|
|Hurling||No recognised governing body in England|
|Ice skating||National Ice Skating Association of GB and NI|
|Jet skiing*||Royal Yachting Association|
|Judo*||British Judo Association|
|Ju jitsu*||British Ju-Jitsu Association Governing Body|
|Kabaddi||No recognised governing body in England|
|Karate*||No recognised governing body in England|
|Keep fit||See exercise, movement and dance|
|Kendo*||British Kendo Association|
|Kite Surfing*||British Kitesports Association|
|Kneeboarding*||See water skiing|
|Lacrosse||English Lacrosse Association|
|Land-sailing/yachting||See sand and land yachting|
|Life saving*||Royal Life Saving Society|
|Luge*||Great Britain Luge Association|
|Model aircraft flying||See air sports|
|Modern pentathlon*||Pentathlon GB|
|Motor cycling*||Auto-Cycle Union|
|Motor sports*||Motor Sports Association|
|Motor cruising||See sailing and yachting|
|Mountain biking||See cycling|
|Mountaineering*||British Mountaineering Council|
|Movement and dance||See exercise, movement and dance|
|Octopush*||See sub aqua|
|Parachuting*||See air sports|
|Petanque||English Petanque Association|
|Polo*||Hurlingham Polo Association|
|Pool||English Pool Association|
|Powerboating*||See sailing and yachting|
|Puck hockey (roller)||See roller sports|
|Quoits||No recognised governing body in England|
|Rafting*||White Water and Wild Water
|Rackets||Tennis and Rackets Association|
Long Distance Walkers Association
|Real tennis||Tennis and Rackets Association|
|Roller derby||See Roller sports|
|Roller sports||British Roller Sports Federation|
|Rugby league||Rugby Football League|
|Rugby union||The Rugby Football Union|
|Sailing and yachting*||Royal Yachting Association|
|Sand and land yachting||British Federation of Sand & Land Yacht Clubs|
|Shinty||No recognised governing body in England|
(air, clay target, crossbow,
muzzle loading, pistol,
rifle and target)
|Clay Pigeon Shooting Association
English Target Shooting Federation
Great Britain Target Shooting Federation
National Rifle Association
National Smallbore Rifle Association
|Show jumping*||See equestrian|
|Skateboarding||No recognised governing body in England|
|Skater hockey (roller)||See roller sports|
|Skipping||No recognised governing body in England|
|Snooker||See billiards and snooker|
|Softball||British Softball Federation|
|Sombo*||British Sombo Federation|
|Speedway*||See motor cycling|
|Speed skating (roller)||See roller sports|
|Sub aqua*||British Sub-Aqua Club|
|Surf life saving*||Surf Life Saving Association GB|
|Swimming and diving||Swim England|
|Table tennis||Table Tennis England|
Both the British Taekwondo Council and British Taekwondo are funded to deliver participation programmes for taekwondo.
Sport England funds GB Taekwondo to deliver the talent programme for the Olympic discipline of taekwondo.
|Tang Soo Do*||United Kingdom Tang Soo Do (Soo Bahk) Federation|
|Tennis||Lawn Tennis Association|
|Tenpin bowling||British Tenpin Bowling Association|
|Tug of war||Tug of War Association|
|Ultimate (frisbee)||UK Ultimate|
|Wakeboarding*||See water skiing|
|Water polo||See swimming and diving|
|Water skiing*||British Water Ski|
|Weightlifting||British Weightlifters Association|
|Wheelchair basketball||British Wheelchair Basketball|
|Wheelchair rugby||Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby|
|Windsurfing*||See sailing and yachting|
|Wrestling*||British Wrestling Association|
|Yoga||British Wheel of Yoga|