Sports Law Ledger - Monday 16 March 2020

Hello sports law fans,

After what felt like a massive month or so last week for sports, here's a rundown of the latest news, updates, and alerts in our wonderful wide world of sports law:


Governance - Australian Sporting Organisations react to COVID-19

Australian Olympic Committee (AOC)

Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA)

Australian Football League (AFL)

National Rugby League (NRL)

National Basketball League (NBL)

Rugby Australia

Cricket Australia

Netball Australia

Basketball Australia

Football Federation Australia (FFA - incl A-League)

Tennis Australia

Motorsport Australia

Australian Grand Prix Corp


Golf Australia

Swimming Australia

Governance, Contracts, Player Rights - NRL players could face salary cuts during coronavirus crisis

NRL boss Todd Greenberg says players may be asked to take a pay cut as the league grapples with the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

Read report

Governance - Sport & religious freedom

How does sport fit into the religious freedom debate in Australia? Prof Jack Anderson describes how a coalition of major sports is opposing the Government's draft Religious Discrimination Bill, arguing that they can't be both inclusive and protect religious freedom in the way the Bill defines.

Listen here

Read report

Integrity, Anti-Doping - Swimmer Shayna Jack to appeal 4 year ban

Australian swimmer Shayna Jack is heading to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to appeal a four-year ban recommended by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority's (ASADA) rule violation panel. It is possible a CAS appeal hearing could be held by mid to late April.

Read report

Commercial, Venues - Stadiums are emptying out globally. So why have Australian sports been so slow to act?

For a global industry built on live entertainment and big crowds, the continued spread of COVID-19 could be disastrous for international sports events. Australia’s sports leagues and teams are not immune, though in recent days, it would be hard to tell.

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Integrity, Sports Betting - NSW Police investigating 2019 NRL Dally M Award

Police are investigating suspicious betting on one of the major awards in last year's Dally M Medal ceremony. The Sydney Morning Herald can reveal the NRL had asked police to probe wagering trends on the Dally M Coach of the Year, won by Melbourne's Craig Bellamy.

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Participation - Sports clubs accused of pricing families out of local competitions after charging thousands of dollars in fees

According to Sport Australia, in lower socio-economic areas 60 per cent of families are relying on government assistance to help pay registration costs. A recent Sport Australia survey found the average amount spent nationally was $783.78 per child — a cost some families said they could not afford.

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Governance - Rugby League Coaches Association (RLCA) forms

A new Rugby League Coaches Association (RLCA) has been formed under Chairman, Kangaroos Coach Mal Meninga, and CEO Kelly Egan. The Association aims to give coaches across the game a mechanism for support and professional development, commencing with the NRL fullt-ime coaching and pathways staff and eventually incorporating other levels.

Read release

Disputes - AFL Clubs seek legal advice on membership obligations if coronavirus forces fans out

Although clubs are maintaining the position that games will go ahead as planned at this stage, they are working away in the background to determine their obligations to those who have paid for memberships if they are unable to attend games.

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Integrity, Player Conduct - NRL Canterbury Bulldogs suspend two players over 'serious' code of conduct breach

Bulldogs CEO Andrew Hill said two players brought "two young females" back to their hotel room during a pre-season trip to Port Macquarie, breaching the club's and the NRL's code of conduct.

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The NRL's long-term gender adviser has said some players may well be "education-proof", following a "horror stretch" of off-field incidents.

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Governance, Diversity - Rugby slammed over board make-up

Leading sports and business figures have slammed the lack of diversity on Rugby Australia's board after the most recent round of nominations failed to include a woman. Supercars chairman Peter Wiggs, former Wallaby Daniel Herbert and ex-Virgin Australia boss Brett Godfrey are set to join the board at the end of the month after being put forward by nominations committee members John Sharp, Daryl McDonough and Mark L'Huillier.

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Ethics - Cricket council meeting to hear push for ethics commissioner

The Australian Cricket Council, established after the Longstaff review into the ethics and culture of Australian cricket, will gather on Monday where an ethics commissioner, next summer's fixture and a review of the Big Bash League are expected to discussed, either formally or informally.

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Ethics - Sports rorts: Scott Morrison sidesteps question about late changes to spreadsheet

Scott Morrison has sidestepped a question about whether changes to a spreadsheet of sports grants on 10 and 11 April last year – including a change sought by his own office – were made with proper legal authority.

Read report


Governance - Global Sports react to COVID-19

Super Rugby (SANZAR)

Six Nations Rugby Championship

World Rugby Sevens Series

Global Rapid Rugby

National Basketball Association (NBA)

Major League Baseball (MLB)