ASCB Directive

The Army Sport Control Board (ASCB) was formed on 18 November 1918 by order of the Army Council (ACI 1299). The Army Reserve Sport Board (ARSB) was formed in February 1948 and was affiliated to the ASCB. On 1 April 2011 the ASCB and TASB merged to form one integrated sports board known as the ASCB. This Charter supersedes all previous charters contained in Games and Sports in the Army (AC61021) and the TASB’s Rules and General Information (AC62467). The policy for sport in the Army is the responsibility of Hd Trg(A), which is contained in AGAI Volume 1 Chapter 5 ‘Sport’. The policy for Armed Forces Sport is the responsibility of the Directorate of Training, Education, Skills, Recruiting and Resettlement (TESRR) and is contained in JSP 660.

Our Army is busy and committed, at the same time ‘transforming’, changing its shape as it implements a ‘whole force’ construct and continues delivery of the A2020 structures within the SDSR 2015 outcome, the Army Command Review and investment in the Army’s core purposes, the shift from downsizing and redundancy to stabilization of manpower and retention, and the enabling activity, including some early unit moves, to set the conditions for our rebasing in the UK (which should be complete by 2019). Throughout all of this the Army’s strategic edge will remain the calibre and commitment of its people: they lie at the heart of the Army and successful transformation will only be achieved through their recruitment, retention, education, training and motivation. Our key role will be to support the Army’s retention and recruiting efforts by offering sporting opportunity both as respite against busy programmes and operations but also to assist in honing the competitive edge of our people, so important in a volunteer organisation and one that is, instinctively, competitive in all that it does.

CGS recognises the important role that sport plays in the Army:

¨I place a huge premium on sport in the Army. My starting point is that it helps our Army win in battle. It plays a vital role in welfare, morale, operational effectiveness and recovery. Sport produces soldiers who build and lead teams by habit and reflex. It generates and maintains cohesion. It nurtures pride and that essential corollary – humility. It encourages leaders to think clearly, confidently and positively when under pressure. And fundamentally it feeds a winning culture and ethos that inspire hunger for success on the battlefield.¨

CGS, Army Sports Awards 2014


The ASCB’s Mission from 1 Apr 2016 is:

‘To promote and deliver sport within the Army ensuring that participation in sport returns to being a significant element of the Army offer for both recruiting and retention and that sport is promoted to link with society in order to enhance the Army’s national reputation.’


  • Increase participation in sport at unit level, for all sport, for both the regular and reserve elements within an integrated force and better publicising the ASCB’s function, role and outputs.
  • As we increase participation we should identify, nurture and develop talent so that Army sportsmen and women are able to compete at the highest levels, achieving their aspirations and enhancing the reputation and standing of Army sport on the national and international stage.
  • Through the Army Elite Sport Programme (AESP) we will develop and manage our elite sportsmen and women to build upon success at national level, whether that is Olympic, Commonwealth or simply enhancing participation in national-level leagues and competitions (the RFU Premiership being an example).
  • We should use sport as a means of engaging with society, and as a vehicle for Defence Engagement.
  • We need to better understand the required assurance mechanism that we need to implement to protect our people and our reputation; part of this is a better appreciation of the ‘duty holder’ responsibilities placed upon our sports architecture. In doing so, review our own governance, the committee structures and our linkages below and up and out (to the United Kingdom Armed Forces Sport Board (UK AFSB) and sport’s national governing bodies and organisations).
  • Early priorities will thus be a focus on the ‘enabling’ activities to deliver this: improve and increase access to world-class facilities; invest appropriately in our coaches and match officials (referees, umpires); develop and improve our infrastructure (with partners such as Aspire and other facilities managers); forging stronger relationships to our national sports associations and bodies; cementing stronger relationships with key sponsors through Mongoose Agency to ensure access to guaranteed and enduring non-public funding.
  • Build and sustain a team within the Army Sports Control Board and amongst those managing sport in the Army that shares this vision and has the same passion to deliver it.

Main Effort

  • The ASCB’s main effort for this FY is to focus on the ‘enabling’ activities to increase participation at unit level:
    • Improve and increase access to world-class facilities
    • Invest appropriately in our coaches and match officials (referees, umpires)
    • Develop and improve our infrastructure (with partners such as Aspire and other facilities managers)
    • Forging stronger relationships to our national sports associations and bodies
    • Cementing stronger relationships with key sponsors through Mongoose agency to ensure access to guaranteed and enduring non-public funding

    HOW WE DELIVER – GOVERNANCE. Governance of sport is complicated and complex. In the first instance, sport is governed by National, Department and Service hierarchical levels with organisational responsibilities falling to the Chain of Command (CoC), Sports Boards, Formation, Brigade and Arm/Corps levels. International and National Governing Bodies (NGBs) and their rules, laws or regulations are the authority for the playing and governance of sport in the United Kingdom. Within Defence, Chief of Defence Personnel (CDP) is responsible for Armed Forces Physical Development Policy and is accountable to the Defence Board. Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff (Personnel Capability) (ACDS (Pers Cap)) is accountable for Defence Policy for Sport and ensuring the continued recognition of the provision of Sport as a condition of Service. The UK AFSB is the regulatory body for Service Sport and is accountable to ACDS (Pers Cap) for promoting, developing and providing policy direction on the conduct of representative sport. Importantly the UK AFSB is responsible for standardising where appropriate, sports policy across the Services. Commander Personnel Support Command (Comd PSC) has responsibility for Army Sport on behalf of the Army Board. He ensures that the development of Army Sport policy takes place within the wider context of the Moral Component of Operational Capability and, as the Army Member of the Service Personnel Board that it is synchronised with Defence Sport policy through the work of Directorate of Army Training (ATrg), the ASCB and the CoC.

    The ASCB. The ASCB is formed by a Board of military members supported by a civilian executive Secretariat (DASCB and his Staff) which is partly funded by a MoD Grant in Aid (GiA). The ASCB has three chains of command/reporting each providing direction or ‘orders’: first to the Chief of the General Staff and Army Board via Commander Personnel Support Command; second to the Secretary of State via the Armed Forces Sport Board; and third to the Cabinet Office via the Charities Commission reflecting the ASCB’s function as a registered charity:

    The United Kingdom Armed Forces Sport Board. The UK AFSB is constituted within Joint Services Publication 660 (JSP 660) – Sport in the UK Armed Forces, Part 1: Directive. The UK AFSB is:

    • The regulatory body for Service Sport.
    • Accountable to ACDS (Pers Cap) for promoting, developing and providing policy direction on the conduct of representative sport within and between the single Services and at UK Armed Forces representative level.
    • Responsible for standardising where appropriate sports’ policy across the Services.
    • Maintaining a liaison with national sports’ bodies.

    The Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force have each established structures within their Services responsible for the policy, governance, development and delivery of sport. Each has constituted Sports Boards chaired at 2 star level. The single Service Directors of Sport (Captain Personal, Family, Community Support & Physical Development, Director Army Sport Control Board and Director RAF Sport respectively) are responsible within their Services for delivery of representational sport. For the three Services, the delivery of unit sport is supported by the Sports Boards, the chain of command and Physical Training/Education staff. Each director represents their Service on the UK AFSB as Board members. The principles underlying sport policy are to:

    • Create an environment which encourages Service personnel, both regular and reserve, to participate in a full range of sporting activity;
    • Provide all Service personnel with time for sport and access to a clearly defined standard of sports facilities and equipment, in order to achieve and maintain fitness, health and well-being;
    • Encourage sporting success at individual, unit and representational level and provide a framework for Service, Inter Service and Armed Forces sports competitions and representational sporting opportunities.

    Recognised Sports. The UK AFSB defines the ‘categories’ of sport in the Services, defining their status, participation and funding. Sports are categorised by their eligibility for public funding, and to qualify for such funding a sport must:

    • Be affiliated to a National Governing Body (NGB) as approved by the Sports Council. The Service Sport Association concerned must have a constitution approved by the relevant Sport Board and acceptable accounting procedures and committee structure.
    • Have known and established grass roots support. It is to be open (and, if it can be determined, with popular appeal) to all ranks.
    • Have guaranteed financial support from non-public funds.
    • If a new sport, have low projected per-capita costs.
    • If a new sport, be subject to a trial/monitoring/review period of 3 years before it can be considered for full recognition. At the end of this period, it is to be assessed by the UK AFSB against the MOD’s capacity both to fund and support it. Automatic ‘recognition’ after 3 years should not be assumed
    • Encourage or develop the following:
      • Good health, personal fitness and physical development.
      • Beneficial physical activity, especially for personnel in ‘sedentary occupations’.
      • Physical fitness for performing operational tasks under stress.
      • Self-discipline.
      • High morale and Esprit de Corps.
      • Co-ordination, determination, confidence and motivation.
      • Courage and character building.
      • Leadership qualities.
      • Competitiveness (i.e. the sport should not be primarily a social or recreational activity).
      • Recruiting and retention.

    The ‘Secretariat’. The ASCB is a ‘virtual’ organisation. Its members are both Board Members and Trustees of the Charity; the Board meets formally twice a year. DASCB manages a small ‘secretariat’ that works to the Board; I call this ‘HQ ASCB’. The HQ is composed entirely of crown servants on contract.

    Who Does What. The division of responsibilities for the governance of sport in the Army are set out in Annex E to AGAI Volume 1, Chapter 5, the key elements being:

    Directorate of Army Training (ATrg). ATrg is responsible for Army Individual Training policy which includes Sport. The Director is the Army Competent Adviser and Inspector (ACA&I) for Sport and is the proponent for Sport in the Army

    ASCB. The ASCB is formed by a Board of senior military members supported by a civilian executive Secretariat. HQ ASCB coordinates the delivery of sport in the Army by the Associations and Unions, helps fund sport through the allocation of grants, supports the chain of command through the provision of advice on sport infrastructure requirements (delivery and maintenance) and supports the delivery of sport policy either through the UK AFSB or, for Army sport, through ATrg as the Proponent for Sport.

    Army Sport Associations and Unions. Army Sport Associations and Unions are a constituent part of the ASCB and are responsible to Director ASCB for the administration and organization of their sport. Their responsibilities are required to be defined (in either a Management Plan or Terms of Reference for their Committee) and include:

    • overseeing the technical conduct, which includes compliance with the Army’s approach to risk to life activities ;
    • ensuring there is a close link and in most cases an affiliation to their sport’s respective National Governing Body(s) (NGB);
    • the selection of representative Army teams;
    • providing a central focus for the advancement of their sport to Formation Sport Boards;
    • the organization of Inter-Corps and Major/Minor unit/individual competitions as appropriate; maintenance of coaches & officials database;
    • and providing guidance, advice and encouragement in promoting the participation in their sport at all levels in the Army.

    Senior Master at Arms (SMAA) Royal Army Physical Training Corps (RAPTC). The SMAA RAPTC is the Army Inspector for Sport (AIS). The AIS reports to the ACA any failures in compliance and monitors progress to address such failures.

    Chain of Command. The Chain of Command is ultimately responsible for the duty of care to their subordinates as defined within the Army’s approach to risk to life activities and therefore is to liaise with the Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) of the ASCB Associations and Unions for regulation and appropriate advice. This should include advice on the standard and condition of sporting infrastructure which should be reported through the Regional Sports Secretaries (SO3 PD for each region) and Garrison Commanders into HQ ASCB. Commanding Officers/Heads of Training Environments will be held to account for ensuring that:

    • People under their command who are engaged in training delivery (which includes sport) are appropriately trained and qualified in accordance with JSP 822, Pt 1, Chap 4, Para 12, issued Dec 15 and any additional competences identified.
    • Appropriately qualified staff monitor the competence of their training delivery staff and that an individual record of monitoring is maintained.
    • Ensure that newly qualified Defence Trainers are supported and mentored in the workplace.
    • People under their command who are engaged in training delivery duties are afforded the opportunity to complete the necessary CPD required to develop both their professional knowledge and training delivery techniques (for sport delivery this includes the completion of the online Sport Delivery Course ).