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The SJA – who is it for?

The SJA represents sports journalists in Britain and those based in Britain but working abroad.

The SJA is an essential service for all sports journalists – writers, sub-editors, photographers, presenters, producers, cameramen and editors – working in national and regional press, magazines, radio and television.

We ask all applicants to sign up online and pay your initial membership fee, and set up your annual subscription.

And we encourage all members to complete their profile, so that you can be included in the members’ area on the website.

What does it do?

The Association represents the British sports media on the British Olympic Association’s press advisory committee and offers advice to members covering other major events. The SJA also acts as a consultant to organisers of major events who need guidance on media requirements.

In addition, we organise two major awards functions each year – the British Sports Awards sponsored by The National Lottery in December and the British Sports Journalism Awards in February or March. The journalism awards are widely regarded as the ‘Oscars’ of the industry.


As the only British sports journalism body affiliated to the Association Internationale de la Press Sportive (AIPS), the SJA are exclusive gate-keepers of the coveted AIPS card and AIPS Europe and is Britain’s voice in international sports journalism affairs.

We are recognised by many prestigious organisations including FIFA, Uefa and the IAAF. Members who intend to work in France, in particular, are recommended to apply for an AIPS card.


Full membership of the Sports Journalists’ Association is open to those working in any branch of the business – reporters, broadcasters, photographers, editors, sub-editors, and cartoonists; in newspapers or magazines, in print or online, on radio or TV.

But it is strictly restricted to professional journalists based in Britain*, a significant proportion of whose work is in sport.

Applicants must demonstrate they predominantly earn their living from sports journalism and are:

  • Staff members
  • Or are commissioned as freelances and have had paid work published
  • Or are regular casuals
  • Or are employed by, or who have work regularly commissioned by, an established photographic agency

NOTE: Setting up a sports media outlet (magazine, personal website or offering services as an unpaid photographer/broadcaster/journalist) does not qualify for membership of the SJA.

* Applicants may work abroad – but they must provide a British postal address


Full membership

All applications for full membership of the SJA should be proposed and seconded by current SJA members, and accompanied by three examples of your work, professionally published within the past three months (with byline or credit clearly shown and publication name and date). Photographers must submit a portfolio of work. Broadcasters may submit three digital audio or video clips by email to

In the case of those sports journalists whose work does not usually appear in a “bylined” format (sub-editors, photo editors, producers etc), we will accept a signed covering note from a current sports editor or relevant department head who commissions or oversees your work.

If you are unable to find a proposer for your application, we cannot guarantee that your application will be accepted, but you may still apply with supporting documentation as outlined above to demonstrate that you qualify for SJA membership.

Applications which do not fulfil the criteria above will not be considered.

To clarify application criteria, please contact SJA Secretary Nick Townsend:

Or Associate?

We have a category for Associate Members which offers reduced membership rights and benefits, but with the prospect of becoming full members in due course (for instance, students upon graduation and entering employment as journalists).

Associate Membership

Associate membership is available to those in allied or related work, such as public relations, sports press officers or sports professionals. It is also extended to those working in sports journalism but not in a full-time capacity. For example, an individual who runs a sporting blog, a sports podcast or who edits/contributes to sports publications on a part-time basis.

Applicants may work abroad – but they must have a British postal address

Associate members qualify for discounted tickets for SJA sports lunches and other member offers. Members’ guest rates for tickets for the SJA’s annual Sports Awards and Sports Journalism Awards events – a significant discount on the prices charged to non-members – are also available to associate members. Associate members can submit pieces of work to certain categories of the annual SJA Sports Journalism Awards.

Associate members have their profile published on the SJA website, as well as receiving regular SJA email bulletins, with details of the Association’s activities, including early notification of our events.

SJA associate members may attend, but they have no voting rights, at the Association’s annual meeting. Nor may associate members vote for the Sportsman, Sportswoman or Team of the Year. Associate members do not qualify for AIPS membership, and nor do they receive the SJA Press Card.

In recognition that many people now have portfolio careers, of which sports journalism may be only one aspect, our Associate Membership now offers a mentoring scheme, which aims to help would-be journalists hone their skills and employability.

Under this scheme, Associate Members will be paired with an established sports journalist who will be on hand at mutually convenient times to offer advice or support. This could include face-to-face meetings, Skype/phone calls to discuss work, offering critical criticism of articles or supporting applications for work within the industry if appropriate.

Associate members will also be eligible to apply for any additional training/mentoring opportunities that may be offered to budding sports journalists through the SJA.

It is understood that it may not be possible for applicants for associate membership to complete the application form with a proposer or seconder. In that case, applicants should obtain a covering letter from their sports editor, employer or university lecturer.

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