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Sports Club Liquor Licencing; Your Legal Obligations as a Committee Member

Sports Club Liquor Licencing; Your Legal Obligations as a Committee Member

Licensed clubs make a significant contribution to the social and economic life of Victorians. Alcohol and gaming are closely linked to many clubs’ sporting and social activities. A large number of clubs depend on alcohol sales and fundraising activities involving minor gaming to maintain financial viability. Having a liquor licence provides clubs with numerous challenges. In addition to managing issues such as excessive drinking, antisocial and unsafe behaviour, a club also needs to ensure that all committee members are aware of their roles and responsibilities and are able to enforce the club’s legal and social obligations at all times. It is imperative that each committee member has a thorough understanding of the legal obligations attached to that position. This includes new committee members and those who have acted on the committee for many years.

Understanding Your Legal Obligation as a Committee Member

A person who takes office in a club that holds a liquor licence takes on a number of responsibilities. These responsibilities can involve legal obligations. All people involved in the management of the club have an obligation to ensure that the club meets their responsibilities as specified under the Liquor Control Reform Act (The Act). This includes any person who may assist with the management and decision-making process within the club.

Liability of Committee Members

A club committee member does not have to be formally appointed as a director of a club to be liable under the Act for offences committed by a licensee.

A club committee member can be held liable for:

  • their own breaches of the Act
  • breaches of the Act committed by the licensee.

If breaches occur, a club committee member may:

  • face charges under the Act
  • be convicted of an offence
  • face whatever sanction the offence carries.

Consequences of Breaching Your Club's Liquor Licence

Should a club breach the conditions of its liquor licence, committee members can find themselves involved by the virtue of their position in the club.

Depending on the severity of the breach detected, as a committee member, you may be disqualified from:

  • holding a liquor licence
  • being a director in any body-corporate that holds a licence or BYO permit
  • being a partner in any partnership that holds a licence or BYO permit
  • having a beneficial interest (whether directly or indirectly) in the shares of any body-corporate that holds a licence or BYO permit
  • whether directly or indirectly, taking part in, or being concerned in, the management of any licensed premises or any body-corporate that holds a licence or BYO permit or any licensed club
  • being employed by any licensed club or any person that holds a licence or BYO permit.

It is important for club committee members to understand that holding a liquor licence is a privilege, not a right, and that you are acting under the same legislation as your local pub or nightclub. Please contact us if you have concerns regarding how your club is operating; we are able to assist you in preparing detailed in house management plans and policies in order to assist with your clubs day to day management. We also have a range of affordable compliance management packages to help!