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Sports Law Ledger - Monday 1 June 2020

‪Catchup on the latest sports law, integrity, and commercial news, updates, and alerts:


Integrity, Anti-Doping - Rugby League: Cronulla Sharks player Bronson Xerri provisionally suspended

The National Rugby League (NRL) has provisionally suspended Cronulla Sharks player Bronson Xerri under the NRL’s Anti-Doping Policy. The Provisional Suspension Notice asserts that Mr Xerri returned a positive A-sample.

Read report

What's next for the player?

Integrity, Anti-Doping - ASADA under fire for six-month delay on Bronson Xerri's drugs test result

The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority has come under fire for taking six months to notify Bronson Xerri he had tested positive to performance-enhancing drugs.

Read report

Integrity, Gambling - Police charge two men over Dally M betting sting

Detectives attached to 'Strike Force Mirrabei' have charged Joshua Wilson, 29, and Ben Trevisiol, 31, with using inside information to bet on an event and possessing inside information to communicate to others to bet on an event. It was Wilson's sports technology company, StatEdge, that ran the 'Dally M' voting for the NRL as part of a contract with the game.

Read report

Integrity - Latrell’s NRL battle intensifies as star fights $50k

The saga surrounding Latrell Mitchell’s battle with the NRL is set to flare up again, with the South Sydney star and his club ready to appeal hefty fines for allegedly breaking COVID-19 restrictions. Mitchell's club, the South Sydney Rabbitohs, have also launched their own appeal of a $20,000 fine by the NRL.

Read report

Integrity - The danger for sport post-COVID-19 with Sport Integrity Australia CEO David Sharpe

With Sport Integrity Australia opening to the public on July 1, new Chief Executive Officer David Sharpe talks about the dangers sports will face in the future in the latest episode of OnSide. Sharpe admits there are a “lot of challenges ahead”, particularly in the current COVID-19 climate.

Listen here

Governance - Rugby union: Rennie calls for end to infighting as he prepares to take on Wallabies role

Much has changed since Dave Rennie accepted the job, with Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle having resigned in April amid accusations that the first woman to hold the post had been bullied by "dark forces" on social media.

Read report

Governance - Netball: 2020 Season Set To Start August 1

The 2020 Suncorp Super Netball season will begin on Saturday 1 August with the league committed to completing a full 60-match season.

Read report

Governance - Netball NSW release open letter to NSW government

Netball NSW has released an open letter to NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, calling for a pathway to return to sport as the state continues to loosen COVID-19 restrictions.

Read letter

Governance - NSWRL has not yet received permission from the Government to Return to Play for the 2020 Season

The NSWRL is hopeful that this will be received prior to 1 June 2020 at which time they will be able to advise when training can resume. 

Read statement

Governance - FFA boss Johnson says A-League hub will be in NSW

A day after it was confirmed the competition was seeking to wrap up the season with 32 games in 36 days, FFA chief executive James Johnson said the majority of the matches will be played in NSW in an isolation hub.

Read report

Governance - Basketball: NBL Season Update

“It is our intention to start our season after the AFL and NRL have completed theirs. The lifeblood of the NBL is its fans and basketball is a product for live fan entertainment and we will be doing everything possible to start our season in front of our much loved fans. We will continue to monitor the situation and work closely with the clubs and the Australian Basketball Players' Association (ABPA)."

Read statement

Governance - Rugby Union: Western Force confirm they're back, but only if RA competition gets green light

The boss of the Western Force believes an olive branch statement from Rugby Australia will help fix the fractured relationship between the game’s governing body and fans in the west but is not sure the domestic competition his side has been invited into will get the green light from broadcasters.

Read report

Governance, Athlete Relations, Immigration - Netball: International stars cleared to return

Five Suncorp Super Netball international athletes have been granted government permission to return to Australia from South Africa and England.

Read report

Governance, Athlete Relations, Commercial - Rugby Union: Up to 16 Rebels poised to quit

The future of the Melbourne Rebels is under a cloud with 16 players set to take up foreign contracts or considering their options as Rugby Australia has had to freeze all contract negotiations for next year with its major revenue stream ending this season.

Read report

Governance, Commercial - Cricket Australia's response to coronavirus pandemic creates concern for game's future

Cricket Australia's insistence that state associations accept 25 per cent cuts to their grants has already resulted in more than 100 job losses around the country. This is on top of the 200 staff members stood down by CA. Retired Australian Test player and experienced sports administrator, Stuart Clark, said those cuts would be felt at the highest level of the men's and women's game.

Read report

Governance, Commercial - NRL’s goal to have crowds in July is ‘absurd and dangerous’

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) released a statement, with president Tony Bartone calling on the NRL to abandon its goal of having crowds in stadiums as soon as July, labelling it as ‘absurd and dangerous’.

Read report

Governance, Commercial - NRL: Brisbane expansion team Bombers could be ready to join in 2022

The NRL is eyeing expansion as early as 2022 with ARLC chairman Peter V’landys revealing plans to fast-track the birth of a second Brisbane team to “dominate” the Queensland market.

Read report

Governance, Media Rights - Basketball: WNBL locks in season, broadcast deal is next

Basketball Australia announce the next WNBL season will begin on November 20 — about six weeks later than usual — and that its eight teams will play each other three times before finals commence on March 12 and a grand final series between March 25-31.

Read report

Governance, Media Rights - Soccer legends propose FFA dump Foxtel for Netflix-style service

Some of the biggest names in soccer have urged the FFA to dump its cash-strapped broadcast partner Fox Sports and create its own production division that would see Australian fans watch the game on a Netflix-style streaming service. The proposal is part of a road map for broadcasting and revenue generation drawn up by the 'golden generation', a lobby group headed by stars from the Socceroos' most successful era including former captains Mark Viduka, Craig Moore and Lucas Neill.

Read report

Governance, Media Rights - A-League stands firm against Fox Sports with restart on hold

FFA, A-League clubs and the PFA are heading for a showdown with the broadcaster over the future of the professional game.

Read report

Governance, Media Rights - Broadcast rights expert Smith on financial impact of coronavirus, marketability of football

Lucy Zelic and Craig Foster sat down with Global Media and Sports Managing Director Colin Smith to discuss the impact coronavirus has had on existing and future broadcasting arrangements, as well as the future of Australian football.

View interview

Commercial - Rugby Australia strikes series of deals to keep it solvent and lodge accounts

While the accounts confirm the $9.4m million loss RA had announced at the end of April for the 2019 year, they also contain details about loans, cashflow projections and other financial measures put in place during May. The accounts also show Rugby Australia receiving written confirmation from World Rugby on May 14 that it would receive a £7.5m ($14.2m) advance from World Rugby, with $4.7m being received during May and the remaining amount being sent by the end of 2020.

Read report

Commercial, Media Rights - How COVID-19 created sustainable rugby league for NRL, Nine and Foxtel

In late April, interim NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo and chief digital officer Alex Alderson were in a meeting with Nine managing director of commercial Alexi Baker at Rugby League Central on Driver Avenue in Sydney's Moore Park when the room began to shake.

Read report

Media Rights - Nine, Fox Sports announces a new deal with the NRL

Nine Entertainment Co. has announced a revised contract with the NRL for season 2020, as well as seasons 2021 and 2022. Fox Sports also announced an extended broadcast deal until the end of 2027.

Read ASX statement

Read NRL statement

Read Fox report

Venues - NSW Premier pulls the plug on stadium refurb

The Berejiklian government has dumped its controversial plan to redevelop ANZ Stadium and will redirect the $800 million saving to a new $3 billion Infrastructure and Job Acceleration Fund for "shovel-ready" projects to reboot the state's shattered economy.

Read report


Integrity - Trial of former IAAF President Lamine Diack set to start

The trial of former IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) President Lamine Diack, who has been accused of corruption, influence-trafficking and money laundering, has been moved back five days to June 8. It was originally due to start in January, before being moved back to June 3.

Read report

Integrity, Anti-Doping - Paul Kimmage on Lance Armstrong documentary - how do you get the truth from a liar?

Lance Armstrong, the most despicable cheater in sports history, is not a changed man. The first five seconds of a new documentary on ESPN reveal that hardly-shocking truth. The documentary begins with these words from Armstrong: "When my life took the turn that it took... "

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Integrity, Anti-Doping - WADA Reinstates Salt Lake City Doping Lab after Secret Suspension

The World Anti-Doping Agency has fully reinstated the anti-doping laboratory in Salt Lake City, Utah, almost 9 months after it was partially, and secretly, suspended. The lab, which is called the Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory (SMRTL), is one of two WADA-accredited laboratories in the United States, along with one in Los Angeles, and is the only one approved to analyse blood samples.

Read report

Integrity, Anti-Doping - WADA postpone global education conference to 2021 due to coronavirus

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has postponed its Global Education Conference (GEC) to 2021 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Originally scheduled for October 13 and 14 in Sydney, the GEC will gather anti-doping practitioners and researchers from around the world, sharing emerging trends.

Read report

Integrity, Anti-Doping - Russian Olympic Committee President describes WADA as "investigator, prosecutor and publisher" as RUSADA dispute intensifies

Russian Olympic Committee President Stanislav Pozdynakov accused WADA of attempting to punish RUSADA in connection with the Russian doping case.

Read report

Integrity, Anti-Doping - RUSADA chief claims Lysenko facing ban of up to eight years

Danil Lysenko could be banned for up to eight years after several former Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF) officials obstructed an investigation into the world indoor high jump champion, according to Russian Anti-Doping Agency director general Yury Ganus.

Read report

Integrity, Anti-Doping - Athletics Integrity Unit bans three athletes for breaches of anti-doping rules

The banned athletes are Belarusian pole vaulter Stanislau Tsivonchyk, Kenyan marathon runner Mikel Kiprotich Mutai and Indian long-distance runner Kiranjeet Kaur.

Read report

Integrity, Anti-Doping - Japan Anti-Doping Agency signs Memorandum of Understanding with Sportradar

The agreement allows JADA and Sportradar to work together on breaches of the World Anti-Doping Code.  There will also be an exchange of knowledge and expertise between the two organisations and the opportunity to collaborate on joint projects to boost efforts against doping. 

Read report

Integrity, Member Protection - Athletics: Mary Cain treated 'as a product, not a person' by Nike Oregon Project

Mary Cain, 24, said in 2019 that she was body-shamed and suffered mental abuse by coach Alberto Salazar. Salazar has since been given a four-year ban for doping violations, while Nike launched an investigation into claims made by Cain and other athletes.

Read report

Integrity, Governance - IWF asks 84-year-old Coffa to be "honorary advisor" as McLaren report looms

Sam Coffa, the 84-year-old Australian who lost his seat on the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) Executive Board three years ago, has been asked to become "honorary advisor" to the Board a week before the publication of the McLaren Report into alleged corruption in the sport.

Read report

Governance - World Athletics signs Pinsent Masons as official supplier of legal services

World Athletics has struck a deal with Pinsent Masons which sees the international law firm become its first official supplier of legal services. Both parties have made a "declaration of confidence" with the four-year agreement reached during the uncertain times of the coronavirus pandemic.

Read report

Governance - Cricket: ICC defer decision on T20 World Cup after postponement proposal leaked

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has shelved a decision on this year's T20 World Cup after a proposal to postpone the tournament in Australia was leaked to the media. In a letter to the ICC, leaked to the Times of India, Australia chairman Earl Eddings suggested pushing back the T20 World Cup to 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Read report

Governance - Relations between Olympic hosts China and West still in freefall

Tensions between the United States and China, the next Winter Olympic host, ratcheted steadily upwards this week, as provocative legislation edged closer to enactment in both countries.

Read report

Governance, Disputes - Football/Soccer: Right to a fair trial: FFP faces up to the threat of legal challenge

With last week’s announcement that Manchester City FC appeal against the Adjudicatory Chamber of the UEFA Club Financial Control Body’s (CFCB) finding that City committed “serious breaches” UEFA’s Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations (FFP) before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) will be held in June, Linklaters turn to the procedural questions surrounding the case.

Read report

Governance, Disputes - Football/Soccer: Rebel Belgian clubs file complaints against KBVB’s ‘culture of dark affairs’

Relegated Waasland-Beveren, Virton, Antwerp and former Charlton owner Roland Duchâtelet have all filed complaints with Belgium’s competition authorities (BMA) claiming abuse of power and a conflict of interest at the Belgian FA (KBVB) and the Pro League.

Read report

Governance, Athlete Relations, IP - College Sports: Power Five leagues ask Congress for athlete compensation law

The commissioners of the Atlantic Coast Conference, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and Southeastern Conference sent a letter dated May 23 to congressional leaders. They encouraged federal lawmakers to not wait for the NCAA process to play out before passing a national law that would set parameters for college athletes to be compensated for use of their names, images and likenesses.

Read report

Read letter

Governance, Athlete Relations - Basketball: NBPA's Michele Roberts says players really want to play, need level of certainty

National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts said the "overwhelming" sentiment has been that "they really want to play" and resume the 2019-20 NBA season, most likely in late July at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Florida.

Read report

Governance, Athlete Relations - Baseball: MLB teams are releasing hundreds of minor leaguers; here are three factors that led to massive cuts

Major League Baseball's rosters may be frozen due to the novel coronavirus delaying the season, but that isn't stopping organizations from trimming their ranks on the minor-league side. Beginning this week and extending through next week, teams are collectively expected to release hundreds of minor leaguers, with most organizations cutting somewhere between 30 and 50 players.

Read report

Governance, Athlete Relations - Hurling: Ryan's policy of safety first will guide GAA's restart roadmap

The GAA is developing a roadmap for a return to activity which director-general Tom Ryan has said will become clear in the coming weeks. Ryan reiterated that safety will be prioritised as the Association's Covid-19 advisory group met for the third time earlier this week.

Read report

Governance, Athlete Relations - Football/Soccer: Sporting Lisbon ex-chief acquitted of inciting attack on players

The ex-president of Sporting Lisbon was acquitted on Thursday of inciting a violent attack by fans on the soccer team’s players two years ago, as the Portuguese court sentenced nine of the attackers to five years behind bars each.

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Governance, Athlete Relations, Duty of Care - Football/Soccer: Premier League clubs to vote on five substitutes rule amid fears of increased injury risk

Depending on the depth of quality in their squads, clubs have mixed views on a more extensive deployment of reserves. There is also the concern of its impact on the spectacle, although Fifa insists that managers are allowed only three opportunities to bring the five on.

In the Bundesliga, Borussia Dortmund’s coach, Lucien Favre, has been a devoted disciple of the increased substitutes’ rule, using four from the bench against

Read report

Governance, Commercial - Basketball: FIBA seeking COVID-19 financial support offered by IOC

The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) has confirmed it will be seeking financial support offered by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to help governing bodies navigate the financial crisis sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.

Read report

Governance, Immigration - UK: Boost for Silverstone and Champions League teams with government to relax quarantine rules for elite sport

Sport in Britain is to receive a significant boost from the government with quarantine rules set to be relaxed for football clubs involved in European competitions, and Formula One teams. Formula One is to announce tomorrow that it will hold two grands prix at Silverstone in August after receiving the necessary assurances from Whitehall, ending uncertainty over whether the races could take place in Britain because of coronavirus restrictions.

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Governance, Diversity - Female membership of IOC Commissions rises to 47.7%

The number of positions held by women has risen from 45.5% in 2019 to 47.7%. Two new female Commission chairs have been appointed, with Khunying Patama Leeswadtrakul set to take on the role of Culture and Olympic Heritage Commission chair and Zhang Hong given the top role in the newly-formed IOC Coordination Commission for the Gangwon 2024 Winter Youth Olympic Games.

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Governance, Discrimination - Policy allowing transgender athletes to compete as girls found to violate US law

Connecticut’s policy allowing transgender girls to compete as girls in high school sports violates the civil rights of athletes who have always identified as female, the US Education Department has determined in a decision that could force the state to change course to keep federal funding and influence others to do the same.

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Governance, Media Rights - Football/Soccer: Liverpool among clubs to argue against paying £330m rebate to broadcasters

A group of clubs, led by Liverpool, will argue against paying a £330m rebate to Sky and other broadcasters at a meeting to discuss the matter on Thursday, despite the Premier League’s recommendation that it should be accepted. The finance directors of all 20 clubs were informed on Wednesday of the sum by the Premier League, whose head of broadcasting, Paul Molnar, is leading negotiations.

Read report

Governance, Gambling - Virus could lead more states to OK sports, online betting

The coronavirus pandemic could lead to a quicker expansion of sports betting and internet gambling in the U.S. as states deal with huge budget deficits and look for new tax revenue wherever they can find it.

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Concussion - Concussion affects 1 in 10 youth athletes every year

One in 10 Canadians ages 13 to 18 will seek medical attention every year for a sport-related concussion. Forty per cent of these youth have experienced a previous concussion, and 20 per cent will have a variety of persistent symptoms for longer than one month.

Read report

Intellectual Property, Gaming - NFL renews Madden exclusive deal with Electronic Arts through 2026

The NFL, NFL Players Association and EA Sports reached a multi-year agreement to keep Madden as the league’s only football simulation game, continuing its iconic decades-long partnership. Sources say the deal is worth about $1.6 billion, split $1b to league, $600M to the players via the NFLPA.

Read report

Corporate, Commercial - Motor Sport: Williams considers sale of struggling F1 team

“Options being considered include, but are not limited to, raising new capital for the business, a divestment of a minority stake in WGPH or a divestment of a majority stake in WGPH including a potential sale of the whole company.” The board has appointed Allen&Co and Lazard as joint financial advisers to assist with the strategic review and formal sale process.

Read report

Commercial, Apparel, Sustainability - Adidas and Allbirds join forces to design the world’s most sustainable shoe

Six-year-old sneaker startup Allbirds is collaborating with the 70-year-old sporting giant Adidas to design a performance sports shoe with what the brands believe will be the world’s lowest carbon footprint.

Read report

Esports - Mexican wins FISU's first-ever international esports competition

Moisés Uziel Canales Vargas, representing National Council Sports Education of Mexico, defeated Brazilian Ulisses Selles in the final of the virutal football competition, played on the FIFA20 game title. 

Read report

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Contact us to discuss these issues further and how they may apply to your sport, or email Mat Jessep at: mat @

Many thanks, as always, to Prof. Jack Anderson for continually bringing important sports law topics, from near and far, and brilliant insights and analysis to our attention.

(Copyright remains the property of respective owners.)






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