Club Handbook> Affiliation Structure and Benefits to Clubs

Affiliation Structure and Benefits to Clubs

The administration structure of bridge in Australia is shown in the diagram below:

National body ABF
| | | | | | | |
State bodies
(members of the ABF)
Affiliated clubs* 333 142 67 53 37 5 8 18 3
Total members 31,476 11,611 4,966 6,652 4,017 964 867 2,259 140
(31 October 2022)

*Excluding clubs with no registered members.

Source: ABF Masterpoint Centre Newsletter October, 2022.

The ABF is structured on a Federal basis. Clubs affiliate primarily to their State Body (NSWBA). Through the NSWBA's membership of the ABF, a club is also affiliated to the ABF (it is therefore not possible for a club to affiliate just to the NSWBA and not the ABF, or vice-versa).

Affiliated clubs pay affiliation fees to the State body and capitation fees to the ABF.

Affiliation Fees Details



  • Selects and coaches National teams
  • Produces ABF Newsletter
  • Runs ABF masterpoint scheme
  • Provides subscription to Australian bridge magazine for every affiliated club
  • Runs Summer festival of bridge (Canberra) and GNOT finals
  • Provides teaching and promotion grants to States
  • Administers James O'Sullivan trust fund (clubs can apply for assistance with premises funding)
  • Arranges various insurance covers for all clubs (cost is passed to the States) ABF Insurances


  • Selects and coaches State teams
  • Produces NSWBA Insight publication for club administrators
  • Produces eCongress News publication for tournament players
  • Runs all NSW State championships:
    • Those held as single events
    • Those held via club heats and regional/State finals (Country Teams, State Open Pairs, State Mixed Pairs)
    • Those held within clubs without a subsequent Sydney final (Statewide pairs, Under 100MP pairs)
  • Runs Spring Nationals (NSW licensed gold point event)
  • Administers GNOT across the whole of NSW
  • Manages a network of Regional representatives across NSW
  • Administers all Congresses and the Congress calendar
  • Arranges directing workshops
  • Arranges teaching tours and workshops
  • Provides assistance with funding to organise and attend all of the above


  • Being part of the State and National "bridge family"
  • Ability to issue masterpoints
  • Ability to run congresses
  • Ability to participate in State events (and players can receive grants to attend State finals)
  • Ability to participate in National events (all ABF events, and GNOT heats)
  • Ability to access a variety of funding assistance
  • Free insurance cover for your club (Management liability, Public liability, Voluntary workers)
  • Access to discounted personal travel insurance for members
  • Access to director training and teacher training workshops (sometimes with subsidies to attend)
  • Part of the NSWBA and ABF mailing list, receiving regular newsletters and the NSWBA calendar
  • Helping to support State and National teams competing at National and International level

For more information please contact the office on 02 9264 8111 or via email


An article about the benefits of being a member of the ABF was included in the October 2011 edition of the ABF Masterpoint Centre Newsletter. It is reproduced here for your convenience:

The following is an extract from an email by the ABF treasurer:

"There is a lot of misunderstanding at club level about the benefits of being an ABF member through an affiliated bridge club but I want to make one important point first - the choice about joining the ABF is exercised both by individuals and by clubs but while individuals may choose to join a nonaffiliated bridge club, once a club chooses ABF affiliation there is a 100% rule that ALL of its members must pay the relevant capitation to the ABF and its relevant state body...

...let me explain a few benefits of being affiliated to the ABF for both individuals and clubs. First, it is not simply about earning masterpoints. The ABF spends a significant amount of money each year providing blanket insurance cover for all its clubs to cover public liability and more recently management and professional indemnity insurance. This insurance cover provides great comfort for players and club committees that they can seek compensation in many common situations plus protection from litigation where their decisions and actions may adversely impact another person in some material way (e.g. denial of membership rights). Some clubs/state bodies already had insurance to cover these potential claims but were able to cancel them saving in some cases thousands of dollars and at the same time getting often improved coverage.

The ABF also spends money to provide its clubs with a high quality newsletter six times a year. The feedback we get from this publication is unerringly positive. The ABF also subsidises the provision of a copy of Australian Bridge to every affiliated club in Australia. The ABF gives generous grants to all state and territory bodies for the promotion of bridge in its clubs. All of this money finds its way to clubs who put in proposals for assistance and quite commonly clubs have used these funds to buy things like electronic table top scorers, library books, have bridge teachers come and give lessons - these all enrich the bridge playing experience of players at club level.

Another ABF service often overlooked is the activity of the James O'Sullivan Trust which makes available loans at low interest to affiliated clubs and state bodies of up to $30,000 over 30 years to assist with major capital works such as purchase or building of premises, upgrade of existing premises etc. Many clubs have availed themselves of this service.In 2011 appointed national coordinators to cover marketing and teaching. Funds have been provided to assist clubs improve their own marketing efforts to get more members in. For teaching, the ABF has funded teacher training events in four different states which should improve the overall quality of bridge teaching at club level which as you know is usually where new players first enter the world of competitive bridge.

Finally, the ABF as the national body affiliated to the World Bridge Federation and as such selects national teams to play in international events. This inevitably takes up a major part of the ABF budget and would not be possible without a small contribution from all our members through the annual capitation fee. I recognise that bridge at this elite level is far removed from the experience of the majority of club players but a significant proportion of our players do like to follow the fortunes of our national teams overseas and to share in their success when we have some. Our website is a terrific service in helping our members follow our national teams and to track results of all our major domestic events.

...I hope this has improved your understanding of what the ABF does."