If joining a pre-existing club, the new member should ensure he or she recieves a copy of the rules of the club. These rules should clearly state all the information on the workings of the club from costs, to benefits to an exit clause amongst other things.
Setting up a club from scratch yourself means you will need to produce these rules yourself. As with any large group of people, many of whom have no personal relationship with each other, having clear rules and guidelines avoids any misunderstandings or disappointments. Below are a few guidelines from Horse Racing Ireland:
While the club members might be involved in the nominated horse for racing purposes, are members actual owners of the horse as an asset outside of racing? This must be made clear to all involved.
A club name must be chosen by the members and accepted by Horse Racing Ireland. There is a limit of 40 characters including spaces and the word "Club".
How many members are allowed in the club and are new members allowed into the club during the lifetime of the club?
Can shares within the club be transferred? – how can such a transfer be effected?
Horse Racing Ireland requires two nominated trustees (agents) to be appointed by the club members - these trustees are the people that will manage all the paperwork, sign on behalf of the club and generally manage the day to day workings of the club. This role and the tasks should clearly be defined.
How are the trustees elected/appointed? Can they be removed?
Who makes the decisions in a club? Is it by majority vote or does one particular person have full control in the decision making process e.g. the trustees?
Your trainer is the expert, ensure all members realise he or she will be making most of the decisions in relation to the horse’s running plans.
What are the costs of being a member? Outline the fixed costs as well as the provision for any unexpected costs?Mode of payment – weekly, monthly, in advance, in arrears?Publishing of the account – a monthly statement can be issued from the online Horse Racing Ireland RÁS system.Are all members entitled to view accounts?
State the specific date for payment of member’s fees.In cases of late or non-payment, what notice must be given and to whom?Trustee to have discretion with regard to second warning?Expulsion of non-paying members?Should the expulsion depend on majority vote, agent decision?
Does the club allow members to transfer or sell shares? Are such shares then sub-divided or are they offered externally?Are members excluded from offering shares to third parties? Do all benefits/liabilities transfer with each share sold?Does a new member have to be elected in by existing members?
How is the notice to be given by resigning member to the agent and how much notice is required?Are fees due back to a resigning or will there be no refund/payment made?Such notice in writing/email?
What are the grounds for the removal of a member? How much notice or warning is given?
What are the grounds for ending a club – end of horse racing career?When a club is closed and finished, all outstanding fees must be paid to Horse Racing Ireland, trainer etc.
What are the circumstances in which horse may be sold.By public auction (is there a minimum reserve) or by private treaty?Are members entitled to some of the proceeds of the sale? If so how much?
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