Sports Law Ledger - Monday 10 August 2020

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Catchup on some of the latest sports law and integrity updates from Australia, New Zealand & around the world (copyright remains the property of respective owners):


Integrity, Member Protection - Gymnastics: Gymnastics NZ Independent Review

Gymnastics NZ have put in place a review in to the sport of gymnastics in NZ. This review will be conducted by respected sport integrity expert, David Howman.

Read Gymnastics NZ media release

Integrity, Member Protection - Australian Rules Football: Recent post-game behaviour by a number of players

The actions of players touching several team-mates inappropriately during post game celebrations and / or during club theme songs is not in keeping with either club, community or AFL expectations.  

Read AFL media release

Integrity, Anti-Doping - New Zealand researchers hail 'breakthrough' with non-targeted test

Researchers at New Zealand's Otago University are hailing a "breakthrough" in the fight against drug cheats with a non-targeted test for designer steroids which they hope can be deployed in time for the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Read report

Integrity, Anti-Doping - Powerlifting: Powerlifting Australia sanctions athlete for breaching his Period of Ineligibility

As a result of Matthew Middleton breaching the Period of Ineligibility (from 12 August 2016 to 11 August 2018), a new Period of Ineligibility equal in length to the original period has been added to the end of the Period of Ineligibility under Article 10.12.3 of the Powerlifting Australia Anti-Doping Policy 2015.

Read SIA Media Release

Integrity - Rugby League: Date set for decision in Jack de Belin's pre-trial legal argument

Sidelined Illawarra Dragons star Jack de Belin will learn the result of his pre-trial legal argument in four weeks. Judge Andrew Haesler announced on Friday afternoon he would hand down his decision in the pre-trial case on August 28, after hearing more than three weeks worth of evidence and submissions.

Read report

Governance - Sport Australia release updated governance principles

The Sport Governance Principles were co-designed through a whole-of-sector engagement. These principles can be used throughout the Australian sport sector, from small local clubs to large national organisations, but the details and explanations tend to be most applicable to national sporting organisations and state/territory sporting organisations.

View governance resources

Governance - Australian Rules Football: Calls grow for Port and Crows members to get a greater say in how the clubs are run

AFL clubs the Adelaide Crows and Port Power should be denied any taxpayer cash until their boards are democratically elected by members, a South Australian senator says.

Read report

Governance - Cricket: Cricket Victoria vote will have Cricket Australia implications

State-based calls for governance reform at Cricket Australia may gain or lose impetus depending on the outcome of the Cricket Victoria board elections, set to be contested by four candidates for two spots in Melbourne at the end of this month. The successful election of Premier Club-aligned duo of Simon Tobin (ex-Essendon president) and Amanda Bond (a KPMG partner backed by Northcote Cricket Club) would potentially result in the replacement of the current Cricket Victoria chair Paul Barker with the former WACA delegate Peter Williams, a long-time adversary of CA's independent board and its chairman Earl Eddings.

Read report

Governance, Biosecurity - NRL issue breach notices

issued breach notices proposing fines for a player and club coaching staff who have breached biosecurity protocols; South Sydney Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett; St George Illawarra Dragons player Paul Vaughan; three members of the Brisbane Broncos coaching staff.

Read NRL media release

Governance, Major Events - Football/Soccer: Fernandez to head Australia's 2023 Women’s World Cup office

Football Federation Australia (FFA) has confirmed Jane Fernandez will serve as its head of the 2023 Women’s World Cup office. Fernandez served as general manager for the bid and has now been confirmed as the head of Australia’s office as it prepares to co-host the tournament.

Read report

Governance, League Management - Cricket: Woodhill to advise Cricket Australia on the BBL's future

Cricketing radical Trent Woodhill has quit as Melbourne Stars list manager to help Cricket Australia chart a way forward for the Big Bash League, in a mirror of his role advising the ECB on the launch of The Hundred. In a role assisting the head of the BBL, Alistair Dobson, with "global player acquisition" and the broader shape of the league, Woodhill will bring his outspokenness and 'livewire' ideas to a competition that is desperately grasping to trend up again after losing crowds and broadcast ratings.

Read report

Commercial, Sponsorship - Australian Rules Football: Combined AFL and AFLW rights key driver of Google Australia sponsorship

Google Australia made its third deal with the Australian Football League (AFL) in three years when it signed as an Official Partner of the AFL, including new rights to the AFLW women’s league, last month. Google had signed separate one-year deals in 2018 and 2019 for IP rights attached to the AFL men’s league only. The new deal is for three years from 2020 to 2022.

Read report

Commercial, IP - Basketball: A new $50,000 licensing fee was too much for the Sydney Kings who now need a new logo

NBL Commissioner Jeremy Loeliger says a massive increase to an old licensing fee was behind the Sydney Kings and NBL parting ways with the iconic Opera House logo.

Read report

M&A - Football/Soccer: Asia has plenty of ownership models for Mariners to study

Owners in football come and go but it is always a concern when one says they can’t continue any more, as Central Coast Mariners fans are finding out.

Read report

Broadcasting - News Corp reveals sports rights savings offset Covid-19 impact

News Corporation chief executive Robert Thomson revealed that for the first time the combined number of Foxtel OTT subscriptions had passed 1m. Thomson said that as of August 4 Kayo subscriptions had grown again to 590,000 while the new entertainment streaming service Binge was on 217,000 (both numbers include trial subs). Thomson also noted the company had made significant savings in recent sport rights renegotiations – some $70m this year and as much as $180m over three years.

Read report

Broadcasting - $10 million Foxtel handout came from COVID recovery funds

A controversial $10 million given to Foxtel to broadcast women’s and under-represented sports has been revealed as being funded under a federal coronavirus response package, a decision derided as a “mockery”. Labor has slammed the government for providing “absolutely no accountability” around the decision to award the funding.

Read report

Venues - Australian Institute of Sport to be partly sold off

The Australian Sports Commission plans to sell off part of the Australian Institute of Sport and turn the facility into a centre of excellence for Paralympic and women's sports, as well as a sports technology hub. The idea has received recognition from the nation's independent infrastructure adviser including it as a "priority initiative" in a $64 billion suite of projects listed in Infrastructure Australia's mid-year report, released on Wednesday.

Read report

Major Events - Cricket: 2021 Women’s Cricket World Cup In New Zealand Postponed To 2022

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has announced the 2021 Women’s Cricket World Cup in New Zealand has been postponed to 2022 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on international cricket. Alongside this announcement, the ICC also confirmed the Men’s T20 World Cup 2020 that was due to be held in Australia and was recently postponed, will now be held in Australia in 2022, with India to still host the 2021 edition.

Read report

Sports Tech - Rugby League: Parramatta Eels partner with Gemba to accelerate data strategy

Following an initial data audit and strategy review with Gemba, the Eels have now appointed Gemba to deliver a Data Acceleration program of work over three months to rapidly progress opportunities to leverage fan and member data.

Read Gemba media release


Integrity, Anti-Doping - Canoeing: Ukrainian Senkevych handed four-year doping ban

After a test by the National Anti-Doping Agency of Ukraine during a competition on June 15, 2019, Ukraine's canoe sprint paddler Oleksandr Senkevych sample returned with a positive showing for heart attack drug meldonium.

Read report

Integrity, Anti-Doping - Cycling: Ibai Salas Zorrozua guilty of an anti-doping rule violation

The CAS Panel found that Ibai Sala Zorrozua committed an anti-doping rule violation further to abnormalities in his Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) and sanctioned him with a four-year period of ineligibility starting on 4 August 2020.

Read CAS Media Release

Integrity, Anti-Doping - WADA "extremely concerned" after RUSADA Supervisory Board recommends removal of director general

The Supervisory Board voted in favour of recommending director general Yuri Ganus be removed from the role after an audit revealed a "number of significant irregularities in the financial and economic activities" of the organisation. The final decision on Ganus' position rests with the founders of RUSADA - the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) and the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC).

Read report

Integrity, Member Protection - Baseball: Los Angeles Angels employee charged over Skaggs' death

The Angels’ former communications director Eric Prescott Kay faces 20 years in prison if found guilty of conspiracy to distribute fentanyl, a powerful opiod. Ex-Angels player Skaggs died aged 27 last year after overdosing on what medical examiners determined was a mixture of fentanyl, alcohol and oxycodone.

Read report

Integrity - How are organised crime groups involved in sports corruption?

Europol has published its report, 'The involvement of organised crime groups in sports corruption'. The report highlights the link between sports corruption and organised crime: the characteristics of criminal networks, their structure and their modus operandi. In addition, the report analyses the different types of match-fixing as the most prominent form of sports corruption monitored by Europol. 

Read Europol media release

Read Europol report

Integrity - The human cost of GB's Olympic gold rush is revealed in flood of accusations

It was Britain’s most triumphant Olympic homecoming. Team GB had just delivered the country’s most successful away Games, winning its most medals for more than a century, finishing second in the Rio 2016 table, and making it the first nation to beat its tally from a home Olympics at the next attempt...

Read report

Governance - Surfing: International Surfing Federation to govern Stand-Up Paddleboard at Olympic level

CAS decides that the International Surfing Association shall be the International Federation governing and administrating the sport of Stand-Up Paddleboard at Olympic level.

Read report

Governance, Biosecurity - Baseball: Cleveland Indians send pitcher home for violating COVID-19 protocols

Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Zach Plesac was sent home by the team for breaking COVID-19 protocols while on the road. According to multiple reports, Plesac left the team hotel to go out with friends Saturday night in Chicago following his start against the White Sox.  

Read report

Governance, Athlete Rights - Cricket: Players reject four-day Tests and call for better pay protection

The world's best male cricketers have largely snubbed the idea of official four-day Tests and have even described the inaugural Test championship as a "sticking plaster solution". The findings of the bi-annual survey from global players' union FICA provide intriguing reading.

Read report

Read the FICA Men's Professional Cricket Global Employment Report 2020

Governance, Athlete Rights - US College Sports: Pac-12 Players Say Commissioner Was Dismissive of Their Virus Concerns

The players, who have pushed for more-frequent virus testing and stronger protection of their status with the team, said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott offered no concrete mandates for the league’s universities.

Read report

Athlete Rights, Privacy - Football/Soccer: Premier League stars suing betting companies over use of personal data

‘More than 400’ current and former players plan to take legal action against companies such as computer game manufacturers and betting firms who have used their performance and tracking data without consent or compensation. The players hope to recover six years’ worth of lost income.

Read report

Commercial, IP - Gaming: NFLPA And 2K Sign Players Likeness Partnership

This deal allows 2K the rights to feature the names, numbers, images, and likeness of more than 2,000 current NFL players in multiple games and comes after 2K finalised a deal with the NFL in March allowing them to produce non-simulation football games.

Read report

Commercial, IP, Tax - Football/Soccer: UK Tax affairs of 246 footballers being investigated by HMRC in 2019-20

The number of footballers investigated by HMRC rose dramatically in the tax year 2019-20, going up from 87 to 246 individuals, according to research by the accountancy firm UHY Hacker Young. The figures show footballers and their image rights are coming under increasing scrutiny as the UK tax authorities look to clamp down on loopholes in the way players are paid.

Read report

M&A - American Football: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Dany Garcia, buy XFL for $15 million with Redbird Capital as partner

The XFL has been sold to a group that includes former WWE star Dwayne “The Rock’’ Johnson, giving the bankrupt football league the kind of star power that may draw even non-sports fans. Johnson, an actor and producer who played college football at the University of Miami, teamed up with Gerry Cardinale’s RedBird Capital to buy the league just hours before a planned auction was scheduled to begin.

Read report

M&A - Rugby League: Toronto confirm takeover talks

Toronto Wolfpack have confirmed they are in talks with potential ownership groups in the US and the UK regarding a takeover of the club, the proposed New York franchise, as well as an unnamed UK rugby union club. After Super League terminated their participation agreement, the Wolfpack appear to be on the market.

Read report

Broadcasting - Sport must weather media industry turbulence

SportBusiness tuned in across the three-day APOS 2020 Virtual Series conference last week to draw out the most important takeaways for the sports industry. This is the second of two reports from the conference.

Read reports

Media, Defamation - American Football: Washington N.F.L. Owner Dan Snyder Sues Media Company for Defamation

Dan Snyder claimed in a lawsuit that an Indian website’s posts were “malicious criminal allegations.” It is his first public strike after a wave of attacks on his operation of the team.

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.






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