D.D.A. guide: Joining in


A person with a disability has a right to take part in sporting activities in the same way as people without a disability.

This means a person with a disability must not be excluded from playing a sport if he or she is:

  • Capable of playing the sport, or
  • Selected to play the sport on the basis of his or her skills and abilities.

A person with a disability should also not be excluded from any administrative or coaching activities associated with the sport. For example, if a person with a disability has the necessary skills to play cricket or swim competitively, he or she cannot be excluded because of asthma or a hearing loss.

Clubs and associations

A person with a disability has a right to be a member of a club or association in the same way as a person without a disability. This includes sporting, social and licensed clubs, drama or music groups, political parties, business associations, and self-help groups.

What is expected?

The Disability Discrimination Act (D.D.A.) makes it against the law for clubs and associations to discriminate against a person because of his or her disability. This means clubs and associations cannot:

  • Refuse to accept an application for membership from a person with a disability
  • Provide membership on less favourable terms and conditions. For example, a club may want to offer a person with a disability part membership or charge that person more for membership.
  • Limit a person's access to the benefits and activities offered by the club or association because that person has a disability. For example, restricting the activities a person with a disability can take part in or the hours he or she can use the club.

The Act also means that the premises and facilities of clubs and associations should be accessible to people with a disability. (See the fact sheet The Ins and Outs of Access.) Like other areas of the D.D.A. a defence of  "unjustifiable hardship"  may be available.


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