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How to join a sports club in France: admin, medical and fees explained

Joining a sports club is a great way to keep fit and make friends - we look at what is involved

There are 307,500 sporting associations in France Pic: Microgen / Rido / LightField Studios / Tunatura

Whether you fancy trying your hand at fencing or want to join a local walking group, there will probably be a local club of interest – but you will have to do some admin to join.

Of 307,500 sporting associations in France, 180,000 are affiliated with one of 107 national federations. 

Joining a club is common in France, with 19% of adults belonging to a sporting association and September is the month when most clubs sign up new recruits.

Read more: Calling all pickleball fans: help grow the US craze in France

Added benefits of membership

This affiliation entitles members to a number of benefits, including taking part in competitions and being covered by insurance.

Certain federations also offer more specific perks. 

For example, members of the French Tennis Federation have priority when booking tickets for the French Open.

This also comes with obligations. 

Fees explained

First of all, to join a club which is part of a federation requires a licence, an official membership which starts at around €20, depending on the sport.

Note that the licence fee goes to the federation. Most clubs will also charge a membership fee to help with running costs.

Health certificate needed

Another condition of obtaining a licence is showing a recent medical certificate which proves you have no health issues which would prevent you practising the sport.

This can be obtained by visiting your GP. You will have to pay €25 for the consultation, since visiting the doctor to ask for a medical certificate is not reimbursed.

Read more: Explainer: Why having a designated GP in France saves you money

In 2016, the system was simplified, meaning it is now possible to use a single certificate for several sports, and the document is valid for three years instead of one. 

Renewing the licence annually now means filling out a questionnaire regarding your health.

Certain physically demanding sports still require yearly visits to the doctor, including rugby, boxing, mountaineering and diving. 

You can find a club near you by using the interactive map.

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