Sports Law Ledger - Monday 13 April 2020

‪Easter / Passover edition of the latest news, updates, and alerts in our wonderful wide world of sports law:


Governance, Government Relations - NRL: 'I think it's a bit ambitious': sports minister hoses down NRL return

The NRL is under mounting pressure from governments to delay its season return after federal sports minister Richard Colbeck described a May resumption as "ambitious".

A day after Australia's chief medical officer Professor Brendan Murphy labelled the NRL's proposed May 28 relaunch as "premature", Senator Colbeck also cast doubt on rugby league's plan amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Read report

Governance, Player Relations - Rugby Union: Pay stalemate continues as rumours swirl of huge World Rugby loan

Rugby Australia insists it has heard nothing about loans set to be handed out by World Rugby.

Read report

Governance, Integrity - NRL: Bulldogs duo appeal NRL deregistration over schoolgirl sex scandal

Bulldogs players Jayden Okunbor and Corey Harawira-Naera have lodged appeals with the NRL after their sacking over the schoolgirl sex incident in Port Macquarie. The Canterbury pair were deregistered by the NRL for bringing schoolgirls back to the team hotel during the club's pre-season trip to the mid-north coast in February.

Read report

Governance, Integrity - Sport Australia releases Whistleblower policy template

Sport Australia has released a 'Whistleblower policy template' and recommendations on how sporting organisations can comply with the recently updated whistleblower obligations under Part 9.4 AAA of theCorporations Act

See policy and template documents

Governance, Commercial - AFL: Clubs borrowing from AFL will have to report to league weekly

AFL and club sources have confirmed that those "assisted" clubs – of the 18, at least 10 are expected to need to borrow from the AFL during the COVID 19 crisis – would need to have their budgets approved by the league on a weekly basis.

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Governance, Commercial - Professional sports clubs are counting on the JobKeeper package to save their jobs

The JobKeeper scheme may keep thousands employed in the sport sector. But not all players and administrators will qualify. Sports clubs are trying to find alternative work for employees. For A-League football club Central Coast Mariners, the crisis means transforming itself into a charity with the help of the Government's $130 billion JobKeeper package.

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Governance, Commercial - NRL: NRL for sale? League would consider private investment, says V’landys

V’landys said he would never relinquish a controlling interest in the NRL, although a minority stake could be up for grabs. "It brings a lot of up-front capital, it brings in a lot of money you wouldn't have," he said. "We need to look at all aspects to financially assist the game. We would need to sit down and analyse any proposal. It’s a hypothetical at the moment.

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Governance, Broadcasting - NRL has mismanaged game for years, says Nine in stunning broadside

Rugby league’s long-time broadcast partner Channel Nine has launched a stunning takedown of the NRL, seething about being left out of the planning for the restart of the competition and accusing the governing body of years of mismanagement and wastefulness.

Read report

Governance - Rugby Union: What really killed Super Rugby

Super Rugby as it is now structured is already dead and the weapon that killed it might be the last one that followers of the code might suspect — the cost of international air travel.

Read opinion piece

Governance, Olympic Selection - Shooting: 'We were misled': Shooters take aim at officials over Games selection

An Australian Olympic selection furore has broken out with leading shooters claiming they were misled by the sport’s governing body and their health was put at risk by competing in the final leg of Tokyo qualifying in Sydney last month as the coronavirus crisis deepened.

Read report

Integrity, Anti-Doping, Disputes - National Sports Tribunal application process outlined

NST website update clarifies the application procedure, Tribunal Members, and staff.

See website update

Integrity, Anti-Doping - Australian Rules Football: Sam Gilbert cops two-year ban after doping violation at Sandringham

Former St Kilda player Sam Gilbert has accepted a two-year suspension for an anti-doping violation that occurred in 2019, when he was off St Kilda's list and playing for Sandringham in the VFL. The 33-year-old tested positive for cocaine metabolite benzoylecgonine on match day after playing for Sandringham in May last year and has been serving a provisional suspension since June 6, 2019.

Read report

Integrity - The Psychology of Cheating at Sport 

Insights into the motivations behind cheating in sports, presented by Professor Jack Anderson at the 38th Asian Racing Conference, South Africa, 2020.

View video

Broadcasting - Foxtel cuts 200 jobs, stands down 140 more

Government shutdowns amid the coronavirus pandemic in Australia have forced Foxtel to cut 200 jobs and stand down a further 140 until June 30. Sporting codes, including the AFL, NRL and rugby union have suspended their season, and the advertising market across media has dived. The government restrictions on public gatherings force the sports to suspend their season, with sport being a major driver of subscriber and advertising revenue.

Read report

Major Events, Fan Engagement - TEG Live to refund over $5 million to consumers for USA basketball games

TEG Live Pty Limited (TEG Live) has committed to refunding over $5 million to about 5000 consumers who bought approximately 20,000 tickets to watch basketball games featuring the USA men’s national basketball team in August 2019, after providing a court-enforceable undertaking to the ACCC.

Read ACCC statement

Major Events, Commercial - What does coronavirus mean for upcoming international sports events in Australia?

Even if government funding remains in place there are question marks over sponsorship dollars.

Read report

Commercial - Israel Folau payout at risk as Rugby Australia reels from Covid-19

Should RA be forced to declare itself insolvent, Folau would become an unsecured creditor and depending on its assets, he would likely be paid out only a few cents in the dollar.

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Commercial - How sports and sponsorship can rebound after Coronavirus

With global sport more or less grinding to a halt in the last month, brands have been forced to reassess the role of sponsorships. In this opinion piece, 'BenchVote' founder Adam Mussa shares his thoughts on how the outbreak will change sports sponsorships.

Read opinion piece

Commercial, Gaming, Esports - Supercars: McLaughlin takes 1st Eseries win

The inaugural round of the Supercars All-Stars Eseries has been run and won, with the Shell V-Power Racing Team having a very successful run at both the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit and Monza Eni Circuit. 

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Sports Betting - Tabcorp stands down 700 staff as sport hiatus bites into betting

Australia's largest gambling company Tabcorp (ASX: TAH) has taken a battering from the cancellation of major sporting events and the shutdown of licensed venues and TAB agencies where so many of its clients like to take a punt.

Read report