The Charities Act 2006 (which applies to English and Welsh charities) introduced the advancement of amateur sport or games which promote health by involving physical or mental skill or exertion as a charitable aim in England and Wales. In February 2011, the Charities Commission for England and Wales opened a public consultation on this charitable aim, focussing on whether it is appropriate for organisations to adopt the advancement of amateur sport as a charitable aim and what can be done by charities to advance that aim for the public benefit. A key reason for the consultation is that the English Charities Act does not clearly define which amateur sports or games would qualify as charitable causes. The consultation paper uses bridge and chess as examples of games which, if played regularly in schools as games, can advance the education of young people by extending and developing their mental capacities, but seeks opinions on what level of mental activity is required to promote health, and over what period of time (would holding pub quizzes meet the test?).
The Scottish Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005 provides for a similar charitable purpose of “the advancement of public participation in sport” and OSCR advises that “sport” means sport which involves physical skill and exertion. So, even though the consultation relates to English legislation, the outcome should still be of interest and relevance to Scottish sporting organisations.