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Sports Law Ledger - Monday 13 July 2020

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 - National Sports Tribunal Legal Assistance Panel

The National Sports Tribunal is establishing a panel of legal practitioners who are willing to provide free or substantially discounted legal assistance to parties who have a current matter, or intend to commence a matter.

Read terms of reference

Integrity - Cycling: Cycling Australia establishes an Ethics and Integrity Committee

Cycling Australia’s (CA) commitment to integrity in cycling has been reconfirmed through the establishment of a renewed Ethics and Integrity Committee with a contemporary mandate and new members. The Committee is Chaired by Anne Gripper, currently a member of the UCI Anti-Doping Commission and a member of the Paddle Australia Ethics and Integrity Committee. 

Read report

Integrity, Discrimination - Rugby League: NRL fines Fonua-Blake $20,000, orders volunteer work in response to slur at referee

Manly Warringah Sea Eagles player Addin Fonua-Blake will be a volunteer referee in wheelchair rugby league and pay a $20,000 fine for use by a wheelchair rugby league club for breaching the National Rugby League’s (NRL) Anti-Vilification Code. The penalty under the Anti-Vilification Code is in addition to the two-match suspension handed down by the Match Review Committee after Sunday’s match against the Newcastle Knights.

Read NRL media release

Integrity, Anti-Doping - Horse Racing: Eighty-one Aquanita horses face disqualification

The owners of 81 Aquanita starters have been asked by Racing Victoria to show cause as to why their horses shouldn't be disqualified from wins in which it was found those horses were doped before races.

Read report

Integrity, Match-Fixing - Horse Racing: 'I can see how it looks like my bet but isn’t': Hyeronimus fights betting charges

Jockey Adam Hyeronimus denied he had an interest in bets placed by his cousin Blake Paine, in spite of stewards' allegations he frequently deposited money, amounting to more than $15,000, into Paine’s bank account and the pair exchanged messages about bets.

Read report

Governance - Netball Australia Launches Independent Review Of Strategy

The review will be chaired by former Australian netball captain, Liz Ellis, and will canvas the views and experiences of the wide range of customer and stakeholder groups across netball in Australia, to help ensure the sustainability, prosperity, and relevance of the sport. Joining Ellis on the review panel is Australian Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Kate Jenkins, experienced non-executive director and former MP, Wendy Machin, and experienced non-executive director, CEO, CMO and media executive, Joe Pollard.

Read report

Governance, Athlete Relations - Football/Soccer: Gill and Busch appointed PFA co-Chief Executives

The Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) Executive Committee today announced the appointment of former Matilda Kathryn Gill and former A-League player Beau Busch as PFA co-Chief Executives.

Read report

Governance, Competition Management - Rugby Union: NZ Rugby Super Rugby review identifies eight-team model as 'optimal' format

Super Rugby could be played as an eight-team competition in 2021 between New Zealand’s five franchises and the Waratahs, Reds and Brumbies under the ‘optimal’ format identified by New Zealand Rugby’s Aratipu review.

Read report

Governance, Competition Management - Rugby Union: Australia-only option on table as NZ Rugby play hard ball in Super Rugby

Australia is contemplating a Big Bash-style domestic rugby competition dotted with international names as New Zealand attitudes appear to harden against a five-team Australian presence next year.

Read report

Sports Law Job Opportunity - PFA Legal Counsel, Player Relations

An exciting and unique opportunity exists for a licensed legal practitioner to join Professional Footballers Australia as Legal Counsel – Player Relations.

Read job description


Integrity, Member Protection - Gymnastics: 'I was terrified to put on weight' - the 'culture of fear' in British gymnastics

British Gymnastics has announced an independent review will take place following allegations of mistreatment from a number of athletes in recent days.

Read report

Read NSO statement

Integrity, Member Protection - Gymnastics: Former U.S.A. Gymnastics Coach Faces 14 Charges of Lewdness With a Minor

A former coach for U.S.A. Gymnastics was arrested in Las Vegas on Friday and faces more than a dozen counts of lewdness with a minor, the authorities said. The former coach, Terry Gray, 52, was a gymnastics coach in Las Vegas from 2009 to 2015.

Read report

Integrity, Member Protection - UK: More than 160 cases of coaches engaging in legal sexual activity with teens, FOI request shows

There were more than 160 cases of sports coaches engaging in sexual activity with a 16- or 17-year-old in their care since 2016, a BBC investigation has found - prompting campaigners to say the law must be changed "urgently".

Read report

Integrity, Member Protection - I work to protect elite athletes, these growing allegations must be properly investigated - Victoria Aggar

"Talk of ‘independent’ reviews makes me sceptical – athletes need a separate complaints organisation they can trust." Victoria Aggar is chair of the British Athletes Commission.

Read report

Integrity, Member Protection, Discrimination - Human Rights Council urges States to prohibit DSD Rules

A report from the Human Rights Council has urged United Nations member States to ‘prohibit the enforcement of regulations that pressure athletes to undergo unnecessary medical interventions as a precondition for participation in sport’. World Athletics’ Eligibility Rules for the Female Classification (Athletes with Differences of Sex Development) require athletes covered by the Rules to medicate themselves in order to compete.

Read report

Integrity, Member Protection, Anti-Doping - British London 2012 Olympians were used as guinea pigs for Special Forces 'wonder drug'

The so-called ‘novel nutritional intervention’ was fed to medal hopefuls during competition despite only being available for use in ‘research’, and there being no guarantees it wouldn’t breach anti-doping rules or that it was free of side-effects.

Read Report

Integrity, Member Protection, Anti-Doping - UK Sport statement on Ketone Ester research and innovation project

UK Sport does not fund research projects aimed at giving our national teams a performance advantage at the expense of athlete welfare.

Read UK Sport statement

Integrity, Anti-Doping - Rugby Union: Welsh rugby player banned for four years blames failed drugs test on STI medication

Ystalyfera RFC player Jesse Patton has been suspended from all sport by UKAD due to a positive test for metendienone, an anabolic steroid, last September. Patton told an independent National Anti-Doping Panel that his positive test was “absolutely unintentional” but failed to establish how the five metabolites of metandienone entered his system.

Read report

Integrity, Match-Fixing - Football/Soccer: Armenia suspends whole second tier, bans 45, disqualifies five clubs

Club owners, players and coaches are all among those kicked out for their role in manipulation of matches, with local media reporting that many of them had Russian passports. Ukrainian, Latvian and Belarusian footballers were also among those banned.

Read report

Integrity, Tribunals - US College Sports: The New NCAA Independent Accountability Resolution Process for Infractions Cases: An Overview

The creation of an independent process to resolve NCAA infractions matters (also known as rules violations), is the focus of a Law In Sport article by Naima Stevenson Starks, Jeffrey Benz, and Hugh Fraser.

Read report

Governance - The impact of Covid-19 on sports federations

Understanding the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on 10 Olympic sports federations.

Read report

Governance, Athlete Relations - American Football: 2 former players file federal lawsuit against NFL, NFLPA

Aveion Cason and Don Majkowski have filed a federal lawsuit against the NFL and NFLPA over the new CBA’s slashing of “total and permanent disability benefits” to previously-vested players.

Read report

Read federal complaint

Governance, Stakeholder Relations, Competition Management - Rugby League: Super League clubs could have grounds to challenge relegation, says top lawyer

Any side relegated from Super League this year could have strong grounds to mount a legal challenge against the decision, a leading sports lawyer has said. The Rugby Football League’s board met on Monday to consider the issue of promotion and relegation but have delayed a decision until later this month, only days before Super League restarts on 2 August.

Read report

Governance, Commercial - Football/Soccer: How Wigan Athletic's fairytale unraveled to leave the club fighting for its existence 

Initial enthusiasm about Au Yeung Wai Kay's takeover drained and became first confusion, then dismay with the true damage still unknown. It was only a week before the Championship club was officially put into administration that the owner was signing off costly transfer deals and new contracts it would appear he actually had little intention of funding.

Read report

Governance, Commercial - Football/Soccer: Secret Contracts Held a Surprise for Fiorentina’s New Owners

Rocco B. Commisso completed his purchase of an Italian team in record time. It was only after the closing that he learned an agent controlled the fate of some of the club’s top players.

Read report

Governance, Commercial, Sponsorships - Football/Soccer: La Liga Facing Betting Sponsorship Ban

Spain’s top-flight football competition, La Liga, and 17 of its 20 clubs, are facing a major sponsorship shake-up, after Spain’s Ministry of Consumer Affairs announced plans to heavily limit marketing opportunities for the gambling industry.

Read report

Governance, Commercial, Athlete Relations - Tennis: AELTC Announces Prize Money in Lieu of Championships 2020 Alongside Initial Decisions for The Championships 2021

Following consultation regarding insurance cover for cancellation, [AELTC] are now in a position to allocate prize money to the 620 players whose world ranking would have enabled them to gain entry into The Championships 2020 by direct acceptance into the Main Draw or Qualifying event.

Read AELTC media release

Athlete Relations, Contracts - American Football: Explaining the Guarantee Mechanisms in Patrick Mahomes's Contract

Patrick Mahomes got a 10-year, $450 million extension that puts him on a path to earn at least $477 million, and potentially over a half billion, between now and the end of the 2031 season, during which he’ll turn 36 years old. The first three years are fully guaranteed, and the first five are injury guaranteed. The flip side: In signing this deal, Mahomes got really, really rich, but also signed away pretty much his entire earning prime to the team.

Read report

Commercial, Disputes - FC Barcelona to pursue Nike for compensation over defective shirts

FC Barcelona is set to pursue Nike for compensation after discovering a defect with new football kits made by the US sportswear maker, resulting in the Spanish club missing out on a crucial shop window at the end of the football season.

Read report

Commercial, Sponsorship - Cricket: India kit deal price down 31% with Nike unwilling to renew existing terms

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is set to slash the base price for its technical partnership as it seeks a new kit deal for the next three years, according to the Times of India (TOI). With the BCCI’s current contract with Nike expiring in September, the governing body is currently drawing up its tender documents.

Read report

Major Events - IOC told only a vaccine can save Tokyo 2021 as 12-month countdown nears

The IOC has already said another postponement would result in a cancellation, while leading Australian-based experts have said the only feasible way for the Games to be held on schedule would be contingent on the development and release of a vaccine.

Read report

Need legal support, but not the ongoing headcount and expense? Check out our range of Outsourced In-house Counsel retainer plans.

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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