Sports that we recognise

There is a vast range of activities that people might class as sports

Boxing 63

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 a National Governing Body and are considering making a recognition application, you should:

  1. Read the recognition policy as this contains essential information which will help you when making your recognition application.
  2. Email us to request a recognition pre-application form and a reference copy of the recognition full application form. When contacting us, please include some brief details about your sport and organisation. (Please don't use this email address to ask about funding applications. If you are looking for funding, you can use the list below to check if your sport is recognised but please go to our Fundraising pages here for details of our funding programmes and our funding application forms.)
  3. Your recognition 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.
  4. 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 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 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
Aquathlon See triathlon
Archery* Archery GB
Arm wrestling No recognised governing body in England
Artistic skating (roller) See roller sports
Athletics UK Athletics
England Athletics
Australian rules football No recognised governing body in England
Badminton Badminton England
Ballooning* See air sports
Ballroom dancing See exercise, movement and dance
Basketball Basketball England
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
BMX See cycling
Bobsleigh* British Bobsleigh Association
Boccia Boccia England

British Crown Green Bowling Association
Bowls England
English Bowling Federation
English Indoor Bowling Association
English Women's Bowling Federation
British Isles Bowls Council
British Isles Indoor Bowls Council
English Short Mat Bowling Association


England Boxing
GB Boxing

Camogie No recognised governing body in England
Canoeing* British Canoeing
Caving* British Caving Association
Chinese martial arts* British Council for Chinese Martial Arts
Clay pigeon shooting* See shooting
Climbing See mountaineering
Cricket England and Wales Cricket Board
Croquet The Croquet Association
Curling English Curling Association
Cycling British Cycling
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
Diving Swim England
Dodgeball No recognised governing body in England
Dragon boat racing British Dragon Boat Racing Association
Duathlon See triathlon
Equestrian* British Equestrian Federation
Exercise, movement and dance

English Amateur Dancesport Association 
English Folk Dance and Song Society
Keep Fit Association
Margaret Morris Movement 

Fencing* British Fencing
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
Futsal See football
Gaelic football No recognised governing body in England
Gliding* See air sports
Goalball Goalball UK
Golf England Golf
Gymnastics* British Gymnastics
Handball England Handball
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
Hockey England Hockey
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 hockey

English Ice Hockey Association
Ice Hockey UK

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
Korfball England Korfball
Lacrosse England Lacrosse
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* Motorsport UK
Motor cruising See sailing and yachting
Mountain biking See cycling
Mountaineering* British Mountaineering Council
Movement and dance See exercise, movement and dance
Netball England Netball
Octopush* See sub aqua
Orienteering British Orienteering
Parachuting* See air sports  
Parkour Parkour UK
Petanque Petanque England
Polo* Hurlingham Polo Association
Polocrosse* See equestrian
Pool English Pool Association
Powerboating* See sailing and yachting
Powerlifting See weightlifting
Puck hockey (roller) See roller sports
Quoits No recognised governing body in England
Rafting* White Water and Wild Water
See canoeing
Rackets Tennis and Rackets Association
Racketball See squash
Rambling Ramblers Association
Long Distance Walkers Association
Real tennis Tennis and Rackets Association
Roller derby See Roller sports
Roller sports British Roller Sports Federation
Rounders Rounders England
Rowing British Rowing
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
Skiing* Snowsport England
Skipping No recognised governing body in England
Snooker See billiards and snooker
Snowboarding* Snowsport England
Softball British Softball Federation
Sombo* British Sombo Federation
Speedway* See motor cycling
Speed skating (roller) See roller sports
Squash England Squash
Stoolball Stoolball England
Sub aqua* British Sub-Aqua Club
Surf life saving* Surf Life Saving Association GB
Surfing* Surfing England
Swimming and diving Swim England
Table tennis Table Tennis England

British Taekwondo Council

British Taekwondo

Both the British Taekwondo Council and British Taekwondo are funded to deliver participation programmes for taekwondo.


GB 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
Trampolining* British Gymnastics
Triathlon British Triathlon
Tug of war Tug of War Association
Ultimate (frisbee) UK Ultimate
Volleyball Volleyball England
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