Can sport and leisure venues be used for meetings?

  • 22.1

    ​​22.1 Companies must not provide hospitality to members of the health professions and other relevant decision makers except in association with scientific meetings, promotional meetings, scientific congresses and other such meetings, and training. Meetings must be held in appropriate venues conducive to the main purpose of the event. Hospitality must be strictly limited to the main purpose of the event and must be secondary to the purpose of the meeting ie subsistence only. The level of subsistence offered must be appropriate and not out of proportion to the occasion. The costs involved must not exceed that level which the recipients would normally adopt when paying for themselves. It must not extend beyond members of the health professions or other relevant decision makers.

​​​The supplementary information to Clause 22.1 Meetings and Hospitality, states, inter alia, that companies must not sponsor or organise entertainment (such as sporting or leisure events) and companies should avoid using venues that are renowned for entertainment facilities. The impression created by the arrangements for any meeting must always be kept in mind. Meetings organised for groups of doctors, other health professionals and/or other relevant​ decision makers which are wholly or mainly of a social or sporting nature are unacceptable.

When large numbers of delegates are to be invited to a meeting it may be impossible to hold it at a business style hotel. A conference centre within a football stadium or the like may have to be used instead. Companies organising, or sponsoring, meetings at such high profile venues should be satisfied that no other venue is large enough to accommodate the meeting and that the overall impression given by the proposed arrangements would not be unacceptable. Gratuitous use of sporting or leisure venues is unacceptable. It must be the programme that attracts delegates to a meeting, not the venue. Further, companies must ensure that no sporting events take place at the venue immediately before, during or immediately after the meeting. Venues must not be used so as to knowingly take advantage of any entertainment/sport that has been organised/subsidised by a third party.