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Codes from other sectors

Governance codes from other sectors, applicable to sports

Governance codes and frameworks

Though the Code for Sports Governance sets the standard for governance in the sector and must be complied with by all bodies funded by Sport England and/or UK Sport, organisations in the sport sector comprise a number of different forms and their activities may also bring them into contact with other sectors’ codes of governance. The corporate and charity sectors are two such areas.

The UK Corporate Governance Code

The UK Corporate Governance Code is the current form of a document which traces its lineage to the Cadbury Code in 1992. In its various iterations, it has formed the backdrop for governance in the UK. In 2018, the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) published the latest edition of the code, which applies across the business and financial services sector. The most recent version places a much greater emphasis on relationships between companies and stakeholders and on establishing an effective corporate culture.

The code operates on a ‘comply or explain’ basis: Premium Listed companies are required to report in their annual report and accounts how they have applied the code or to explain why they consider it appropriate for their circumstances to have deviated from its recommendations.

The code is structured around five sections, each containing the principles to be applied in the governance of a company.

The Charity Governance Code

The Charity Governance Code is currently in its third iteration, with a refreshed fourth edition expected in the autumn of 2020, following a recent consultation. This code is produced by a Steering Group of sector bodies and umbrella bodies, including NCVO, Acevo, The Chartered Governance Institute, the Small Charities Coalition and the Association of Chairs. The Steering Group acknowledges that charitable organisations may have sector-specific codes to which they must adhere, naming the Code for Sports Governance as one such document.

This code is aspirational, aimed at continuous improvement. It operates on an ‘apply or explain’ basis, a slight tweak to the FRC’s ‘comply or explain’.

Its principles are as follows.



A rationale is provided for each principle, as well as a set of key outcomes which are the intended results and examples of recommended practice to meet the principle.


This quick tour through some of the principal governance codes should highlight that many of them contain a number of similarities. In part, this is because many share a common heritage, with the Corporate Governance Code being the document that many look to when writing codes specific to another sector. But it is also because the principles of good governance apply across different sectors of the economy. For sure, different sectors face challenges which are particular to certain activities. However, accommodating these challenges generally requires adherence to the good practice which is by and large universal.

For members of the Sports Governance Academy, the code of primary importance is the Code for Sports Governance. Organisations in receipt of funding from Sport England and/or UK Sport will be compliant with the Code. However, in the interest of continuous improvement and for those organisations who are maybe looking to apply for funding under the Code for the first time, the Related tools section provides additional resources and questions for boards and governance leaders to think about in order to apply good governance practice under each principle of the Code.


The guidance and other information published by the SGA represents good governance practice. It is not intended to replace the requirements which any funded bodies have agreed with Sport England or UK Sport as part of their investment. In all cases, organisations must satisfy those requirements in the first instance as their award will be conditional on meeting them.