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Legal update

Disciplinary matters, club finances and email scams

Disciplinary matters:

Clubs and Class Associations as communities of individuals sometimes find themselves having to address disagreements within their organisations. Failing to handle such issues in a timely and appropriate manner can result in simple disagreements escalating which may cause club rules to contravened, resulting in the need to conduct disciplinary proceedings.

We know that conducting disciplinary proceedings is likely to be stressful for all involved and we have therefore produced Guidance to assist you. We have updated our Conduct of Members Guidance (renamed Disputes and Disciplinary Procedure) to include a sample Disciplinary Procedure and Code of Conduct, all of which may be adapted to suit your club’s circumstances.

Please note that the suggested Disciplinary Procedure is not intended to deal with Racing Rules disputes which should be handled in accordance with the provisions laid down in the Racing Rules of Sailing. It is also worth bearing in mind that the RYA is not able to adjudicate on internal disputes or disciplinary actions.

Club Finances:

Sport England has partnered with Grant Thornton to provide guidance on club finances. Covering payroll and tax - including how to identify a person’s employment status at your club and an overview of the tax issues your club could encounter such as Corporation Tax and VAT; and future fitting your finances – including how to simplify day-to-day financials and future financial status of your club.

We have also produced detailed Guidance on employment status, including a suite of contracts as well as Guidance on VAT and Corporation Tax.

Email scams - warning for clubs and class associations

We are aware of a number of RYA Affiliated Clubs that have recently been defrauded by email scams.

In one case, the Treasurer received emails purportedly from the Commodore and Vice Commodore, requesting an urgent bank transfer for maintenance work. The names of the General Committee and the email address for the Club Treasurer (a generic address as opposed to a personal one) were publicly available on the Club’s website, which the fraudsters could easily obtain and clearly used to their advantage.

In another case, a Club received an invoice by email for roof repairs purportedly from the company that had recently carried out the repair on its behalf. It paid the invoice, which later turned out to be fraudulent.

Understandably the Clubs looked to their bank for assistance, but unfortunately a bank is unlikely to carry a liability in such circumstances.

Interestingly banks are increasingly asking for confirmation of payee bank details when using telephone banking, citing the rise of email scams as the reason. This highlights the fact that this type of scam is on the increase. We therefore suggest that if you receive a request by email to make a payment, you check the payee bank details with the third party over the telephone.

What should you do if you’ve received a scam email?

  • Do not click on any links in the scam email
  • Do not reply to the email or contact the senders in any way
  • If you have clicked on a link in the email, do not supply any information on the website that may open
  • Do not open any attachments that arrive with the email
  • If you require further guidance, please do not hesitate to contact the RYA Legal Team on 023 8060 4223 or

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