SF Based Leagues- Approved Public Benefit Rules

For a league to be eligible for Approved Public Benefit Status, it must meet the following criteria:

  1. Residency-Participating Teams: Only teams that meet the San Francisco residency requirement (no more than 2 nonresidents on a team for ages up to 8th grade and 3 nonresidents for older teams) may participate on any team playing in the league
    1. Start-Up Youth Sports Leagues Exception: When interest develops in a new sport in San Francisco, it is often necessary to play teams outside of San Francisco. These leagues are run by volunteers but schedules are often administered by an entity that does not qualify as an Approved Public Benefit Organization.  Start-up Youth Sports leagues meeting all other conditions of APBO leagues will be eligible for APBO status as follows:
      1. Game fields will be provided on the basis on one field for every two teams per week and will not be provided to meet the outside league’s schedule.
      2. Once there are more than five San Francisco teams in any age group/gender, the teams must play in a SF only schedule and apply for APBO status to continue to receive fields at no charge.
      3. Consistent with longstanding Department policy, start-up leagues will only be eligible for fields if they are serving unmet needs.
    2. Small Youth Leagues Exception: Occasionally there may not be enough teams from San Francisco to form a viable league in a particular age and division. An APBO may allow teams from outside San Francisco to play in the league if they provide their own home fields and they are located within 20 miles of the boundaries of San Francisco.
    3. School Based Recreational Teams Exception: A school based recreational team may have additional nonresidents children if all players on the team attend the same school
  2. League Schedules: Schedules must be run by the APBO and the APBO must be headquartered in San Francisco.
  3. Open to All: The league must be open to all SF teams and may not require teams to be affiliated with a club or other organization
  4. Minimum Playing Time Rules Youth: For youth teams the league must ensure minimum participation time for each player on the roster and must impose limitations on guest players to only those situations where there are not enough players to have a full team on the field.
  5. Scholarships: The league must have a scholarship program that ensures players are not denied participation because of ability to pay.
    1. The league must offer a 100% scholarship to any player eligible for a 100% scholarship under RPD scholarship rules provided that a payment of up to 10% of fees may be required to show commitment;
      1. In the event that a league receives 100% scholarship requests exceeding 10% of its total registered players, it may restrict the number of scholarships by a lottery or other unbiased mechanism
    2. The league must offer a 50% reduction in all fees for any player that is eligible for a 50% scholarship under RPD scholarship rule
  6. Independent Board of Directors; No Compensation to Board Members or Their Family Members.
    1. For youth leagues, Board members must be elected by a vote of parents and guardians of youth league players. Coaches and administrators may not vote on behalf of players or parents/guardians of youth players. The Department will consider applications by leagues for modifications to this requirement provided that such modifications ensure that league operations are governed by volunteers and not paid professionals. [1]
    2. For youth leagues, a majority of board members must be parents/guardians of current players or players.
    3. For all leagues, all Board members must be volunteers and cannot receive compensation from the applying league or from any team or club participating in the league and cannot be family members of any such compensated person.
      1. Family Members: Includes parents, children, grandparents, grandchildren, spouses or domestic partners (regardless of residence) and any person residing in the same home with the board member.
      2. Exceptions:
        1. Compensation paid to a board member or family member as a licensed or trained referee provided it is the same compensation paid to all similar referee/umpires and that the aggregate paid to any family is not more than 10% of the total compensation paid to referees
        2. Compensation paid to a youth family member for summer or part-time work (office work or camp counselor) where the aggregate compensation paid in any 12 month period does not exceed $750
      3. Each Board Member will be required to submit a Board Certification Form
    4. Exception: The Board of Directors requirement shall not apply to any league that is formed to administer play between school teams and is overseen by those schools or any league that receives specific funding from the DCYF children’s fund for its league operations
  7. Not for Profit: The league must be a non-profit (501c) with an IRS determination letter or be completely volunteer administered and serve fewer than 125 participants.
  8. Disclosure: The league must provide transparent, detailed information regarding fees, costs, programs, tryouts, playing time rules and guest polices. Such information must be provided to any interested parent, posted on a website and submitted to RPD prior to opening registration.
  9. Registration and Team Formation Services: League must provide the following services:
    • Assisting players in finding teams and teams finding players
    • Assisting teams to sign up in the correct division
    • Verifying player sign ups and rosters meet minimums
    • Providing or verifying insurance
    • Ensuring players are not on more than one team
    • Ensuring teams are formed by RPD deadlines and roster information is provided to RPD
    • Ensuring SF Residency
  10. League Coordination: League must provide the following services:
    • Scheduling games and divisions
    • Providing and coordinating referees
    • Providing field monitors at RPD sites as requested
    • Maintaining league insurance
    • Providing coaches, referees and parent training
    • Providing end of season playoffs and trophies for youth teams 4th grade and up.
  11. No Financial Benefit: The league must provide detailed financial information including compensation information to demonstrate that it meets the fundamental APBO requirement that it is not be running for the financial profit of any individual or to fund other operations or programs.
  12. Multiple Leagues Offering Same Sports: To ensure efficient and equitable field space for all sports, the Department will continue its current policy that the Department will only offer APBO status to one comparable league per sport per season.
  13. Field Allocations
    1. APBO Game Fields: One game slot per week will be provided for every two registered teams. Rainout make slots are not provided
    2. APBO games fields are only available on weekends except for SF softball (grandfathered program) and limited number of spring youth baseball fields
    3. Practices: Youth teams will be allocated practice fields during after school hours based on age and availability pursuant to the Department’s Field Allocation Policy.

LEAGUE APPLICATIONS:  League applications must be submitted 60 days in advance of commencing registration or announcing fees for each season of play (fall, winter, spring, summer).   Applications must demonstrate that leagues meet the eligibility criteria set forth above and also include the following information:

  • Season of Play
  • Dates of player registration
  • Dates of league operation
  • Size of fields and lengths of games for each age and division
  • All fees, expenses and services
  • Method for allocating scholarships
  • Method for scheduling
  • Filing Fee of $308

To apply to go: SF League APBO Application

For a preview of the application, go to: Sample Application

ROSTER SUBMISSIONS: Once team formation and registration is complete, please submit rosters using the below format: Roster Submission Form

Return to the Main Approved Public Benefit Page

[1] The Department will consider applications to provide a grace period to implement changes to bylaws needed to meet these voting requirements