Sports Law Ledger - Monday 15 June 2020




‪Catchup on the latest sports law, integrity, and commercial news, updates, and alerts (copyright remains the property of respective owners):





AUSTRALIA


Integrity, Anti-Doping - Education and athlete welfare the primary focus of new legislation

Incoming Sport Integrity Australia and current ASADA CEO David Sharpe welcomes the passing of anti-doping law reforms which will strengthen Australia’s capabilities to target facilitators. Mr Sharpe says the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority Amendment (Enhancing Australia’s Anti-Doping Capability) Bill 2019 represents “much more than additional powers”.

Read ASADA statement



Integrity, Member Protection, Discrimination - Tayla Harris and her parents speak out about abuse and threats over AFLW photo

AFLW star and professional boxer Tayla Harris and her parents have opened up about the online abuse and physical threats she received over a photo of her kicking a goal. The photo showing Harris kicking the opening goal against the Western Bulldogs in a game last year was swamped by abusive and sexist comments after it was posted on the Seven Network's social media accounts.

Read report



Integrity, Member Protection, Discrimination - 'I want accountability': Lumumba calls out Pies, AFL

Heritier Lumumba has challenged former teammates to publicly support him as he calls for the Pies and AFL to be more accountable and inclusive.

Read report



Governance - Cricket: Cricket Australia to part ways with chief Kevin Roberts

Sources close to the Cricket Australia board say Roberts' departure is to be announced on Wednesday.

Read report



Governance - Cricket: 'Good idea': Eddings to meet with state chairs

Cricket Australia have agreed to a meeting of the game's national cabinet, which will see chairman Earl Eddings front up to unhappy state counterparts.

Read report



Governance - Equestrian: Boardroom havoc sends Equestrian Australia into administration

The Board of Equestrian Australia has taken the difficult decision to place Equestrian Australia Ltd into Voluntary Administration. Craig Shepard and Kate Conneely of KordaMentha have been appointed Voluntary Administrators. Clearly, the current EA model does not work.

Read EA statement



Governance - Rugby League: Women's Rugby League elite competition confirmed for 2020

The Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) has approved the continuation of the women’s elite competition (NRLW) for the 2020 season, commencing in September. The ARLC reiterated its strong support for growing the women’s game at both the grassroots and elite level. The announcement comes after the Commission had already approved a stand-alone Women's State of Origin match on Friday November 13.

Read statement



Governance, Athlete Relations - Football/Soccer: Australian women’s football to be transformed by FFA’s Women’s Football Council 10-year Business Case

In the lead up to the announcement of whether Australia wins its bid to host the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the FFA Women’s Football Council has today shared its highly anticipated 10-year Business Case for women and girls in football. 

Read report



Governance, Athlete Relations - Australian Rules Football: Secretive AFL on new collision course with AFL Players’ Association

Players have already agreed to 70% of their pay this season, a 30% cut, and the AFL is now seeking to renegotiate the final two years of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Players have wrote to the AFL on Tuesday requesting five areas of key financial data, most notably specific information on the AFL’s loan facility.

Read report



Governance, Athlete Relations - Football/Soccer: A-League season extended as FFA strike deal with players

The deal was signed off on Monday and means the season has officially been extended until August 31, with existing player contracts to be extended until that date. While the financial terms of the deal are unknown, FFA chief executive James Johnson confirmed players had agreed to a reduction in their pay for the additional three months of the campaign.

Read report



Governance, Commercial - Rugby Union: Private equity giant, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, in talks with Rugby Australia

The global private equity giant that bought a $4 billion stake in the UFC is in talks with Rugby Australia to make a game-changing investment in the embattled football code

Read report



Governance, Commercial, Sponsorship - Australian Rules Football: 'There needs to be a higher standard': Daniher speaks out over AFL's Rio Tinto, BHP ties

Essendon star Joe Daniher has called on the AFL to hold itself and its sponsors to a "higher standard" amid criticism of the league's partnerships with Rio Tinto and BHP after the destruction of ancient Indigenous heritage sites. As players around the competition join in pre-match gestures in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, the AFL has been accused of not walking the talk on racism by associating with the mining giants, who have been at the centre of a national outcry this week.

Read report



Broadcasting, Commercial - A-League start date set but FFA awaiting Fox Sports commitment

A-League players will resume training this week for a season that still has no broadcast plans in place.

Read report



Broadcasting, Commercial - Fox Sports To Broadcast Vodafone Super Rugby Au From July 3

Rugby Australia and the Foxtel Group have reached agreement on a revised broadcast arrangement for 2020 which has given the go-ahead for the proposed Vodafone Super Rugby AU competition to be broadcast on Fox Sports.

Read RA statement



Broadcasting, Commercial - AFL secures revised broadcast deal with Seven and Foxtel

AFL boss Gillon McLachlan told clubs on Thursday night that he had agreed to a 12 per cent to 13 per cent discount between the parties over three years, in what is considered to be a good result for the league.

Read report



Major Events - Football/Soccer: FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 Bid Evaluation Report published – three bids submitted to FIFA Council

Australia's hopes of co-hosting the 2023 Women's World Cup with New Zealand has received a significant boost with FIFA rating it the best of the bids. The Australia and New Zealand joint bid topped the scoring over the two remaining bidders, Japan and Colombia.

Read FIFA statement

Read Bid Evaluation Report





GLOBAL



Integrity - Fresh Swiss Investigation Targets Ex-FIFA President Blatter

Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter is the target of a criminal investigation in Switzerland for suspected mismanagement of a $1 million payment from soccer funds. Blatter has been notified by Swiss federal prosecutors he is an “accused person” over a loan FIFA gave in 2010 to the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association.

Read report



Integrity, Esports - Valve notifies seven teams to settle conflicts of interest before ESL One Rio

Seven Counter-Strike: Global Offensive organizations received a letter from game developer Valve notifying them that they needed to resolve conflicts of interest prior to the ESL One Rio major in November if their teams want to participate in that event, as first reported by HLTV and confirmed by ESPN.

Read report

Read Valve statement



Integrity, Anti-Doping - U.S. Boxer cleared of doping after sex excuse keeps Olympic dream alive

USADA announced today that Virginia Fuchs, of Kemah, Texas, an athlete in the sport of boxing, has tested positive for a prohibited substance, which was determined to have been ingested by her without fault or negligence. As a result, Fuchs will not face a period of ineligibility for her positive test.

Read USADA statement



Integrity, Anti-Doping - U.S. Softball Athlete Madilyn Nickles Found Not at Fault

Madilyn Nickles, of Van Nuys, Calif., an athlete in the sport of softball, has tested positive for a prohibited substance, which was determined to have been ingested by her without fault or negligence. As a result, Nickles will not face a period of ineligibility for her positive test.

Read USADA statement



Integrity, Anti-Doping - U.S. Weightlifting Athlete Justin Glanville Accepts Sanction for Anti-Doping Rule Violation

Non-analytical information prompted an investigation into Justin Glanville’s case, during which USADA obtained specific and credible evidence that starting on June 11, 2016, Glanville, 29, made seven online purchases of products containing prohibited substances.

Read USADA statement



Integrity, Member Protection - Swimming: Former Athletes File Sex Abuse Lawsuits Against U.S.A. Swimming

Six women have sued U.S.A. Swimming, saying the national governing body for the sport failed to protect them from coaches who were sexual predators when they were preteens and teenagers decades ago, according to multiple civil lawsuits filed in two California courts. Read report



Integrity, Athlete Rights - Global Athletes group calls for IOC to abolish Rule 50, which bans protests at Olympic Games

The International Olympic Committee's ban on protests — including kneeling in support of anti-racism — is a breach of human rights, according to the Global Athlete group. The group has called on Olympic and Paralympic officials to move immediately to abolish the rule, opening up the ability for athletes to make genuine acts of protest without penalty.

Read report



Integrity, Athlete Rights - Athletes will not be punished for activism at Commonwealth Games 2022

Commonwealth Games authorities have promised not to ban or punish any athlete at Birmingham 2022 who takes a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Read report



Integrity, Governance - Boxing: ‘Crime boss’ of boxing gets stars’ backing

Some of boxing’s biggest power brokers have offered support to a “global summit” for the sport in Bahrain this autumn, despite the event being organised by the alleged Irish crime boss Daniel Kinahan.

Read report



Integrity, Governance - Athletes: Former IAAF President Diack brands son as "thug" during corruption trial

Former International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) President Lamine Diack has criticised his son at his corruption trial in Paris, branding him "a thug." Diack, 87, made the remarks about his son Papa Massata under questioning, after claiming he only learned from investigators that his son, who is not present in person at the trial, was involved in doping files.

Read report



Governance - Diversity: UK Government calls for review of governance code

Sports governing bodies could be given diversity targets for their boards, after the sports minister committed to "review" the current system and "set new expectations".

Read report



Governance - Hurling: Law expert praises GAA for 'cautious' coronavirus strategy

Jack Anderson, Professor and Director of Sports Law Studies at the University of Melbourne, told the Irish Independent that it was incumbent upon Croke Park to take necessary precautions in order to protect their members given the burden of responsibility they will inherit during the phased resumption of activity.

Read report



Governance - Football/Soccer: U.S. Soccer Repeals National Anthem Policy

A rule created after Megan Rapinoe took a knee was rescinded as the federation, like the N.F.L. and FIFA, reconsidered its views on athletes who choose to peacefully protest.

Read statement



Governance - American Football: What are the legal ramifications if the NFL comes clean about Colin Kaepernick?

TSN Legal Analyst, Eric Macramalla joins Game Day to chat about What are the legal ramifications if the NFL comes clean about Colin Kaepernick, Marc Bergevin getting a vote of confidence, legal troubles with the NFL when it comes to Kaepernick and more.

Listen here



Governance - Motor Sport: NASCAR has banned the confederate flag from its races and its properties

NASCAR has formally banned the Confederate flag from its races and properties on Wednesday, formally distancing itself from what for many is a symbol of slavery and racism.

Read report



Governance, Athlete Relations - How Sports Leagues Regulate Athletes’ Activism

Some are reconsidering the rules surrounding protests and demonstrations on and off the field. Here’s a look at some sports’ stances on political demonstrations during the anthem.

Read report



Governance, Athlete Relations - Baseball: Playing for free, salary drop, 2022 lockout possible for MLB

Major League Baseball owners are left with the decision of how long a regular season to schedule after players’ union head Tony Clark said Saturday night that “unfortunately it appears that further dialogue with the league would be futile.” Bruce Meyer, the union’s chief negotiator, sent Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem a letter that “we demand that you inform us of your plans by close of business on Monday.”

Read report



Governance, Athlete Relations - Football/Soccer: PFAI issues stark warning to clubs who could opt out

Talks are set to resume between the League of Ireland clubs and the FAI on Monday, with the PFAI warning that measures will be taken to ensure players receive all wages owed if there is no football for the remainder of the year.

Read report



Governance, Athlete Relations - College Sports: Returning Ohio State football players must sign coronavirus risk waiver

The two-page document outlines the health risks involved with workouts and other athletic activities, and calls for the athletes to follow strict health and safety protocols implemented by the school. Referred to as a so-called Buckeye Pledge, it asks players to “pledge to take responsibility for my own health and help stop the spread of the COVID-19.”

Read report

Read 'Buckeye Pledge' waiver



Governance, Athlete Relations - What Happens if Pro Athletes Refuse to Return During the Pandemic?

Aided by their attorneys, leagues and their unions are accustomed to uncovering solutions. They have track records for resolving divisive topics — often, though not always, without resorting to strikes, lockouts or lawsuits. Each side in a labor-management negotiation might need to make concessions and accept policies that aren’t optimal. But that’s the essence of bargaining: it’s a give-and-take.

Read report



Governance, Athlete Relations - Wait continues for hundreds of un-drafted baseball players

Major League Baseball’s amateur draft wrapped up Thursday night, shaved to only five rounds over two days from the usual 40 rounds over three because of the coronavirus pandemic — a move that figures to save teams about $30 million. So, instead of more than 1,200 players celebrating the start of their professional careers, only 160 can do so right now.

Read report



Governance, Disputes - Football in the time of COVID-19: lessons to be learned from the recent decision in South Shields FC v The FA

The decision, which considered The FA’s powers to bring the 2019/20 football season to an end for Steps 3 to 7 of the NLS, in light of the coronavirus pandemic, is one of the first to examine the scope of regulatory decision-making in the field of sport in the wake of the current global health crisis. Nick De Marco QC discusses the case. 

Read case note



Governance, Commercial - Athletics: Dentsu income accounted for more than half of World Athletics revenue in 2018

Fresh details of World Athletics’s hitherto unpublished finances have emerged, revealing that Japanese marketing giant Dentsu accounted for more than half the governing body’s revenue in 2018.

Read more



Governance, Commercial - Mets Fans Beware, Private Equity-Owned Teams Lose on the Field

Data compiled by Bloomberg show that franchises owned by these titans of capitalism have largely been losers on the field, even while becoming winners for their keepers’ investment portfolios.

Read report



Governance, Commercial, Esports - Basketball: FIBA announces launch of first ever international esports competition

The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) has announced the launch of its first ever international esports competition. The FIBA Esports Open is scheduled to run from June 19 to 21 as part of a pilot project in which basketball's global governing body joins the esports movement alongside its national Member Federations.

Read report



Commercial - How Adidas struggled to respond to antiracism protests

Caught flat-footed, German sportswear group decided to retweet arch-rival Nike.

Read report



Commercial - CrossFit gyms around the world are rebranding after the CEO's insensitive comments about George Floyd: 'They don't own the workout'

On June 5, CrossFit gym owner Alyssa Royse of Rocket Fitness emailed corporate headquarters asking for a public statement to affirm its commitment to community members. The response, from CrossFit CEO Greg Glassman, quickly spread among the CrossFit community. In his email reply, he calls Royse “delusional” and “disgusting,” according to a screenshot of the email posted on the Rocket Fitness blog.

Read report



Broadcasting - TV money gives NFL leg up if fans can’t fill teams’ coffers

While NFL owners could lose billions collectively with limited capacities in stadiums or no fans at all, the league is well-positioned financially because of lucrative media contracts approaching $10 billion in a full 2020 season. And so far, the NFL is on pace to play games this fall.

Read report



Broadcasting, Esports - BT Sport COO: “pay-tv not the right platform for esports”

“We’ve got a fantastic ecosystem in the UK with Twitch and YouTube and other capabilities, and best will in the world, I’ve not had many people knocking on my door wanting to pay for something they can get for free." - BT Sport COO, Jamie Hindhaugh

Read report



Gambling, Esports - With Real-Life Games Halted, Betting World Puts Action on E-Sports

Computer-vs.-computer games of FIFA livestream to gamblers on Twitch. Fantasy contests carry League of Legends lineups. In the coronavirus age, video games have grown into a darling for casinos.

Read report



Major Events - "80% of the venues needed" for rescheduled Tokyo Olympics secured

Tokyo 2020 organisers say they've now secured 80% of the venues needed in order to host next year's rescheduled Olympic Games. They've yet to reach an agreement around the Athletes Village, the International Broadcast Centre and the Main Press Centre but negotiations are ongoing.

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 @ wegotgame.com.au



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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