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Sports Law Ledger - Monday 14 September 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 - Swimming: Grace was a rising swim star, but the pressure to be thin took her off track

Grace Hull was a gifted junior swimmer and as she began to rise through the state ranks, her coaches sought out any edge they thought would help her swim faster. When she was 15, that included the drastic proposal to have a breast reduction.

Read report

Integrity, Member Protection - Cricket: CA reaches out to victims of racism through new series

CA on Wednesday night unveiled the first of a series of panels titled Cricket Connecting Country. Hosted by CA director Mel Jones, the series aims to examine systemic racism in Australian society and CA's goal to redress injustices from cricket's past.

Read report

Integrity, Anti-Doping - Rugby League: Bronson Xerri: Cronulla Sharks centre’s bold call on possible four-year doping ban

The Honourable Ian Callinan AC QC will chair the NRL Anti-Doping Tribunal - the same former High Court judge who imposed a four-year ban on Sandor Earl in 2015 and Jarrod Mullen in 2017 for anti-doping offences.

Read report

Integrity, Anti-Doping - Weightlifter Aaron Kroll receives sanction for presence, use and possession of a prohibited substance

Sport Integrity Australia acknowledges the decision of the Australian Weightlifting Federation to impose a four-year ban on athlete Aaron Kroll for the presence of a metabolite of a prohibited substance, the use of a prohibited substance and the possession of a prohibited substance. 

Read SIA doping violation update

Integrity, Anti-Doping - DFSNZ welcomes findings of review into school rugby anti-doping programme

An independent review commissioned by Drug Free Sport New Zealand (DFSNZ) into its anti-doping programme in school rugby has concluded that DFSNZ’s education programmes in schools should be expanded, and the current limited testing at the 1st XV Top Four tournament should be moved away from schools and into the high performance arena.

Read DFSNZ media release

Read review

Integrity - Australian Rules Football: Sydney Swans player Elijah Taylor charged with aggravated assault of woman in hotel

Sydney Swans rookie Elijah Taylor has been charged with aggravated assault. Police said Taylor assaulted an 18-year-old woman "who is known to him" at a hotel in Perth's CBD over a two-hour period from 6.00am to 8.00am yesterday. He is due to attend a family violence hearing in the Perth Magistrates Court on September 30.

Read report

Integrity - Horse Racing: Jockeys did not cooperate with police, says informant in Weir case

During the second day of the committal hearing into criminal charges of animal abuse and conspiracy to defraud stewards by Darren Weir and his co-accused, Senior Constable Cliff Pickett said whistling and the application of blinkers were cues that were replicated on race day to make horses run faster.

Read report

Integrity - Horse Racing: Court rules RV can use police information in McLean doping case

Disgraced trainer Jarrod McLean faces a life ban from racing for allegedly administering EPO to a racehorse after his attempt to prevent Racing Victoria from using police information was thrown out of the Court Of Appeal.

Read report

Integrity - Horse Racing: Champion New Zealand jockey Chris Johnson fails breathalyser test during race meeting

Champion jockey Chris Johnson could face a suspension after being stood down from riding at Riccarton yesterday for failing a breathalyser test. Johnson is just 10 wins away from becoming New Zealand's most successful jockey for domestic wins but was tested by stewards after riding in the first race and then stood down for the remainder of the meeting.

Read report

Governance - Cycling: Tasmanian Cycling Clubs vote 'Yes' for AusCycling

At the Special General Meeting of the Tasmanian Cycling Federation held on Saturday, all the clubs represented voted unanimously to join AusCycling. This represents a huge show of confidence in the cyclists of Tasmania, who were clearly in support of the model, as the opportunity to unify and grow the sport we all care so deeply about.  

Read CT statement

Governance - Cycling: Crucial time for cycling infrastructure in Australia

The movement to AusCycling could be formalised on September 19, with a General Meeting requested by the five 'yes' votes states to reconsider the resolutions. That could also face opposition, with WestCycle voicing their concerns about the process and stating that the meeting should be cancelled.

Read report

Governance - Australian Rules Football: Inside the bureaucracy of the AFL

In 2003 the AFL employed around 100 staff members. That number then exploded to the point where staff numbers rivalled player numbers. For the first time, see the leaked documents that reveal the inner workings of the AFL empire.

Read report

Governance - Rugby League: Bulldogs premiership winner takes over as women agree to assist fresh Coorey probe

Bulldogs grand final winner Paul Dunn has been installed as president of Canterbury League Club after George Coorey was forced aside and the board decided to commission a new investigation into allegations of his lewd behaviour towards women.

Read report

Governance - Rugby League: Bid to unseat Anderson as Bulldogs boardroom drama heats up

Bulldogs chair Lynne Anderson says she is aware of a plot to unseat her at Belmore as the political turmoil ramps up following the ousting of league club president George Coorey.

Read report

Governance - Taekwondo: Garriock named as new Australian Taekwondo chief executive

Heather Garriock, a former footballer who represented the Matildas at two Olympic Games, has been named as the new chief executive of Australian Taekwondo. The 37-year-old, who was capped 130 times for her country and also had a spell as assistant manager of Australia, says she hopes to bring her international playing and coaching experience to her new role with Australian Taekwondo.

Read report

Governance, Employment - Australian Rules Football: AFL Bullying - 'horror stories' of boys club culture

The ringleader behind an AFL staff uprising has gone public with damning claims of bullying and intimidation, including a leaked email. And Jeff Kennett has backed up the claims from the staffer.

Read report

Governance, Athlete Relations - Football/Soccer: FFA threatens to intervene on A-League wage war

As A-League clubs and the players' union continue their war of words over a reduced pay deal for next season, FFA chief James Johnson has delivered a stark warning to both sides; Sort yourselves out, settle on an agreement - or we will come in and and organise a deal for you, for the good of the game.

Read report

Governance, Athlete Relations - Football/Soccer: A-League ultimatum: Players told to accept pay cuts or be stood down

The threat doesn’t extend to champions Sydney FC, grand finalists Melbourne City and crosstown neighbours Melbourne Victory, who have pledged to keep paying players - no matter what the outcome of increasingly fractious talks between owners and Professional Footballers Australia.

Read report

Governance, Athlete Relations - Rugby League: Players and NRL in pay war

The NRL and its players are more than $10 million apart in negotiations over a revised salary cap for 2021 as the game plans for the long-term impact of COVID-19.

Read report

Governance, Athlete Relations - Rugby League: V'landys takes swipe at legal cost of no-fault stand-down fight

Peter V'landys wants the NRL and players' union to avoid the expensive legal costs of an arbitration hearing over the code's no-fault stand-down rule as the parties haggle over a pay dispute which threatens to drag on throughout the finals.

Read report

Governance, League Management - Rugby League: Equal pay and full-time contracts - NRL's future plans for players mapped out

Ahead of the NRL's women in league round, the NRL's manager of women's elite programs Tiffany Slater has outlined the plans for the women's game despite the impacts of COVID-19.

Read report

Governance, Stakeholder Relations - Australian Rules Football: McKenna criticises treatment by Melbourne AFL media after coronavirus diagnosis

Conor McKenna has called for the AFL to consider penalties for Melbourne media that report in an inaccurate or unethical way after his time in the spotlight after a positive coronavirus test in June. McKenna said there should be "repercussions" and labelled the behaviour of some sections of the football media "disgraceful".

Read report

Governance, Broadcasting - Cricket: How Cricket Australia's $1bn TV mirage has cost the game dear

Seven’s threat to pull out of the much-touted deal exposes its weaknesses as many games risk being consigned to pay-TV this summer.

Read report

Governance, Broadcasting - Cricket: Seven moves towards terminating $450 million Cricket Australia deal

Seven West Media has ramped up its battle with Cricket Australia, issuing the game’s governing body a notice on Wednesday that it is in breach of its contract with the network over its proposed schedule for the summer.

Read report

Commercial - Motor Sport: Repco signs on as Supercars' naming rights partner

Repco has agreed to a landmark five-year deal to become naming rights partner of the Supercars Championship. Starting next season, the series will become known as the Repco Supercars Championship until at least the end of 2025.

Read Supercars' statement

Commercial, Major Events - Football/Soccer: FFA, DFAT report sponsorship boom ahead of 2023 World Cup

The 2023 Women's World Cup is set to provide a huge financial windfall, according to the Australian government's Department of Food, Agriculture and Trade report, noting "a significant increase in interest from local and international companies exploring sponsorship opportunities in football, at all levels."

Read report

Ethics - The sports rorts affair is still not resolved. Australia urgently needs a federal anti-corruption commission

One benefit of the sports rorts saga is that it shows an effective federal anti-corruption commission is urgently needed. Porter’s first effort to create such a body remains a failure. He would not allow such a body to examine corruption that was not a crime, nor would he permit an anti-corruption body to examine past matters. And there would be no public hearings for parliamentarians or their staff, notwithstanding that the courts have public hearings every day on allegations that are judged unproven.

Read opinion piece


Athlete Activism - Global Athlete demand IOC and UWW expel Iran following execution of wrestler Afkari

Global Athlete has demanded the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and United World Wrestling (UWW) expel Iran following the execution of wrestling champion Navid Afkari. Iranian state media reported that Afkari was executed yesterday, despite the case attracting global attention and leading to the likes of United States President Donald Trump pleading for clemency. 

Read report

Concussion - From Boston University School of Medicine: Dr Ann McKee

Welcome to Ministry of Sport Brain Health Week. All this week we will discovery  CTE and Brain Research and uncover startling revelations and new insights in brain health for sports administrators, sport management and their organisations. Watch online with various exclusive vodcast interviews, articles and insights

View video interviews

Integrity - Athletics: Track’s Caster Semenya Loses Appeal to Defend 800-Meter Title

A ruling by the Swiss Supreme Court appears to have nixed any chance for Caster Semenya, the South African track star, to defend her 800-meter title at the Tokyo Olympics next summer.

Read report

Read ruling (French)

Read Swiss Federal Supreme Court press release (English)

Integrity - Athletics: Caster Semenya’s rights have been infringed – but those of her rivals take precedence

On Tuesday, a Swiss federal court had delivered judgment on Semenya’s appeal against the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s (CAS) decision to uphold the WA position. Many were disappointed for Semenya.

Read report

Integrity - Athletics: World Players Association applauds the courage of Caster Semenya’s stand for human rights

Semenya’s legal defeat is yet another example of how the internationally recognized human rights of athletes are ignored by sports bodies by unilaterally adopting globally binding regulations which will be backed up by the stringent use of Swiss arbitration law.

Read statement

Integrity, Governance - Athletics: South African Government pledges to fight "injustice" of Semenya ruling

South African Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa has pledged to fight the "injustice" of the ruling which requires Caster Semenya to take testosterone-reducing medication in order to be eligible to compete.

Read report

Integrity, Member Protection - IOC initiates International Safeguarding Officer in Sport Certificate

The Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) approved the establishment of the “International Safeguarding Officer in Sport Certificate”, set to commence in September 2021. There is currently no certificate or minimum standard of education or training for safeguarding officers in sport on an international level.

Read IOC statement

Integrity, Member Protection - UK Sport chair Katherine Grainger says bullying and abuse will be eradicated

UK Sport has pledged to “identify, confront and eradicate” bullying and abuse in the high-performance system in the wake of the staggering allegations across British gymnastics.

The funding body for Olympic and Paralympic sport also warned it could cut money to individual sports if they continued to misbehave, although that would be as a last resort.

Read report

Integrity, Member Protection - Cricket: 'Racism was so bad that I drove to matches hoping for a car crash'

Azeem Rafiq has experienced pain which no cricketer should ever have to endure. Serious claims of open racism within the dressing room, a bullying culture which appeared to be tolerated for fear of losing your place in the side, or jeopardising any future within the game, and a Yorkshire hierarchy which, despite its pronouncements on racial diversity and inclusivity.

Read report

Integrity, Member Protection - Gymnastics: British Gymnastics faces legal action from group of former Olympians 

More than 20 gymnasts are on the threshold of signing up to sue governing body over their treatment in latest twist of abuse scandal.

Read report

Integrity, Member Protection - Athletics: UK Athletics facing corporate manslaughter charge for death of Para athlete Abdullah Hayayei

British governing body UK Athletics is facing potential charges of corporate manslaughter over the death of an Emirati athlete at the World Para Athletics Championships in London three years ago. The discus thrower Abdullah Hayayei, 36, from the United Arab Emirates, died in July 2017 after a throwing cage collapsed on him during a practice session in high winds.

Read report

Read Ukad public consultation launch

Integrity, Member Protection, Governance - UK Sport chief willing to remove funding if sports do not meet culture standards

Chief executive Sally Munday has warned that UK Sport is prepared to "take money away" from governing bodies if they do not adhere to its standards on athlete well-being. The culture within Olympic and Paralympic sport is coming under increasing scrutiny as athletes continue to speak out about cases of bullying and discrimination, with British Gymnastics the latest body to become embroiled in scandal.

Read report

Integrity, Anti-Doping - Ukad considers changing policy on naming athletes charged with doping breaches

Athletes in all sports could be named when charged with breaking anti-doping rules, under a new proposal. Currently, most athletes are protected by anonymity until an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV) is proven and a sanction issued. But UK Anti-Doping (Ukad) has now opened a six-week public consultation.

Read report

Integrity, Disciplinary Process - Rugby Union: Owen Farrell verdict shines light on rugby's farcical and broken disciplinary process

Decisions should be based on cause and effect - not so-called mitigating factors. Whether a player does charity work or whether they are a raving alcoholic when they get home after a game should have no bearing on the ban they receive for an offence.

Read report

Governance, Athlete Relations - American Football: The Coronavirus Is Revealing Football’s Human Cost

Amid a global pandemic, the NFL’s non-guaranteed contracts force players into a familiar choice: stay safe, or stay on the field.

Read report

Governance, Athlete Relations, Major Events - Tokyo 2020 should be held "at any cost" says Olympic Minister

Japan's Olympic Minister Seiko Hashimoto said Tokyo 2020 should be held next year "at any cost". Hashimoto, appointed in September 2019, said the preparations of athletes was her motivation.

Read report

Contracts - Boxing: Canelo Álvarez sues Dazn and Oscar De La Hoya for breach of $365m contract

Mexican boxing superstar Saul ‘Canelo’ Álvarez is suing longtime promoter Oscar De La Hoya and upstart streaming service Dazn over their alleged failure to deliver as promised on a $365m contract that was touted as the richest in the history of sport when he signed it less than two years ago.

Read report

Read complaint

Contracts - Boxing: Barry McGuigan signed boxer Carl Frampton to ‘slave contract’, court hears

Barry McGuigan allegedly breached his managerial duties to star boxer Carl Frampton by signing him up to a “slave contract”, the High Court in Belfast has heard. Financial arrangements were kept secret from the fighter entrusting his career to someone who persuaded him he was “like a fourth son”, it was claimed.

Read report

Dispute Resolution - What does The Singapore Convention mean for the future of international sports mediation?

The effect of the Singapore Convention, which came into effect on 12 September 2020, to recognise mediated agreements, may be less significant to civil practice in common law countries, where mediations are quickly becoming the rule rather than the exception, and where parties routinely comply with such agreements knowing that they can be easily enforced through the courts as matters of contract.  Elsewhere, however, it may have great effect.

Read article

Commercial, Partnerships - Football/Soccer: Neymar Leaves Nike For Puma After 15 Years

The move comes after Neymar Jr. recently announced he had ended his partnership with Nike two years before the end of the reported $163 million deal, after being signed to Nike since the age of 13. The deal also saw PUMA partner with NR Sports, the company that holds the image rights of the Brazilian international.

Read report

Commercial, Gambling - Football/Soccer: LaLiga agrees Asia deal with bookie M88

LaLiga has signed a new agreement with online betting platform M88 to become the league’s Official Regional Betting Partner in Asia, with a focus on content-driven marketing. Starting with the new season, the partnership will run for an initial four seasons through to the end of the 2023/24 campaign.

Read report

Broadcasting - Chess (Yes, Chess) Is Now a Streaming Obsession

Viewers are flocking to games during the pandemic, entranced by a charismatic grandmaster and his lightning-fast play.

Read report

Venues, Disputes - American Football: Kroenke, Demoff and Goodell among those requested for depositions in relocation lawsuit against Rams

Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke, Rams chief operating officer Kevin Demoff and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell are on the long list of names requested for depositions by the lawyers representing St. Louis in the region's ongoing relocation lawsuit against the Rams and the NFL.

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Esports - David Beckham’s Guild Esports Announces Massive Stock Exchange Plan

An esports company partly owned by one of the world’s most iconic sportsmen is looking to raise £20 million ($25.9 million) by listing its shares on the London Stock Exchange–and with it, it’s hoping to establish dominance in some of the most competitive games out there.

Read report

Ethics - Tennis: Listen Closely, and You Will Hear Coaching During U.S. Open Matches

When an umpire called out Serena Williams over coaching in the 2018 U.S. Open final, it erupted into a scene. This year, with no fans in the seats, there is chatter galore between coaches and players, even though it breaks the rules.

Read report

Women in Sport: Check out the 'Siren Call', brought to you by Game Legal. Game Legal are now proud naming rights partner of Siren Sport's newsletter which each week provides a round-up of the week that was in the women in sport world and promotes the work of women covering women’s sport.

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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