ACNC Revokes AFL-Linked Charity
10 February 2015 at 11:45 am
The national charity regulator has deregistered a charity that was established with the help of the Australian Football League to support prostate cancer research in Australia.
The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) has made the decision to revoke the registration of the Balls 4 Life Foundation following an investigation into the organisation’s operations and activities.
Initiated in 2010, the Balls4Life program, supported by the AFL, saw all winning AFL teams sign the match ball from their game each week. The signed ball was made available for purchase by public auction at www.balls4life.com.au. The funds were intended to go the Prostate Cancer Foundation for research funding.
“Balls4Life aims to change the attitude of Australian men to improve early detection of illness,” former AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou said in media reports at the time the program started.
'''Balls4Life founding director Scott Matthews said at the time: “Men too often put the health of others before themselves. Balls4Life has been created to turn that thinking around.”
Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia CEO Dr Anthony Lowe also said: “The Balls4Life Foundation and the AFL are to be congratulated for recognising prostate cancer as an important men’s health issue, and for creating this initiative.”
However, the AFL has confirmed to Pro Bono Australia News that it discontinued the relationship with Balls4Life in February 2014 in a letter to its founding director Scott Matthews.
The ACNC said the Foundation was a Discretionary Investment Trust and public ancillary fund which benefitted from deductible gift recipient status as well as tax concessions for GST, income tax and fringe benefit tax since it was established in 2010.
“It had its charity status revoked by the ACNC on 5 February 2015 and this decision is effective from 3 December 2012, the date it was transferred from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to the ACNC,” an ANC statement said.
“The charity has 60 days to apply for an internal review of this decision.”
ACNC Assistant Commissioner of Charity Services, David Locke, explained that the ACNC takes a proportional approach to compliance activity.
“The ACNC has a range of regulatory powers at its disposal,” Locke said.
“This can include guidance and support, warnings, directions and enforceable undertakings. Where appropriate the ACNC can also revoke an organisation’s status as a registered charity.
“As an Assistant Commissioner of the ACNC I have made a decision to revoke Balls 4 Life Foundation’s registration as a charity under section 35-10 (1)(a) and (1)(c)(i) and (1)(c)(ii) of the ACNC Act.”
Section 35-10 (1)(a) and (c)(i) and (ii) of the ACNC Act applies where:
(1)(a) at any time after the date of effect of the registration, the entity is or was not entitled to registration;
(1)(c)(i) the registered entity has contravened a provision of this Act, or it is more likely than not that the registered entity will contravene a provision of this Act;
(1)(c)(ii) the registered entity has not complied with a governance standard… or it is more likely than not that the registered entity will not comply with such a standard.
The ACNC has received over 1 000 complaints against charities since it was established over two years ago. Members of the public can lodge complaints and concerns by visiting acnc.gov.au/charityconcern.