Sports Law Ledger - Monday 20 April 2020

‪Catchup on the latest news, updates, and alerts in our wonderful wide world of sports law:


Governance - NRL eyeing new rapid blood-testing for players

The NRL is exploring a new blood test for players that would allow them to know within minutes whether they could have been exposed to COVID-19 under a method unveiled by airline giant Emirates.

Read report

NRL faces several challenges before 2020 season can restart after coronavirus shutdown

Imagine the logistics of organising a major sporting event like a World Cup. It takes several years of planning to get it right. Now imagine doing it in just seven weeks during a viral pandemic.

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Governance, Player Relations - Rugby Australia’s $12m sigh of relief as players set to agree to whopping pay cut

Australia's Super Rugby and sevens players are poised to agree to a mammoth 60 per cent pay cut across the board for a six-month period, allowing Rugby Australia to slash its wage bill by more than 80 per cent between April and September after the JobKeeper payment is factored in.

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Governance, Player Relations - Basketball: NBL, ABPA and Clubs Reach Agreement for 2020/21 Season

Players have agreed to tiered reductions in salaries ranging from 27.5 per cent for players earning between $80,000 and $99,000 and up to 50 per cent for players earning over $200,000. Salaries for players earning under $79,000 will revert to the minimum salary capped at $58,584. Development Players’ salaries will remain unchanged. Players will be able to opt out of their contract for the 2020-21 season for two weeks from the signing of the agreement with their NBL rights to be held by their respective clubs. Rosters will be reduced to 10 players per team with a maximum of two imports plus a Next Star where applicable

Read NBL Statement

Governance, Media Rights, Disputes - FFA, Fox Sports split looms as $11.5 million instalment goes unpaid

FFA are set to fire off an $11.5 million letter of demand to Fox Sports after the beleaguered A-League broadcaster failed to make its quarterly rights holder payment yesterday.

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Fox Sports, FFA on path to divorce after A-League instalment not paid

The 15-year marriage between Fox Sports and Australian football appears to be coming to an end after the broadcaster did not pay the final instalment of this season's TV deal, which was due on Thursday.

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Governance, Commercial, Employment - Cricket Australia stand down staff on reduced pay

"We have made the decision during this period of isolation, where activity has naturally been reduced, to stand down our people on reduced pay (with the exception of a skeleton staff) effective 27 April for the remainder of the financial year."

Read CA Statement

The big crash: Cricket Australia in firing line amid brewing pay war

Cricket bosses Earl Eddings and Kevin Roberts are set to come under immense pressure over the sport's cash flow crisis as fears mount the game is headed for another pay dispute with Cricket Australia set to explore whether pay deal struck with players can be changed.

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Bank demands force savage Cricket Australia salary cuts

Savage 80% salary cuts and stand-down orders for all but a handful of Cricket Australia staff until the end of the financial year were forced partly by demands from banks, for the governing body to drastically scale back its costs in order to be considered for an A$200 million [US$126.5 million approx.] line of credit.

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Governance, Commercial - How The NRL Managed To Secure A $250Million Loan From A Group Of British Banks

The deal will help the NRL in their tense negotiations with broadcasters Channel Nine and Fox Sports and allow the game to not be strong-armed during discussions. 

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Governance, Commercial - ARLC to consider US investment options and loan proposals for NRL

The NRL has received private equity and loan proposals from American investors that will be on the agenda during one of the most important meetings in the Australian Rugby League Commission’s history on Tuesday.

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Governance, Commercial - Coronavirus pandemic threatens to halt momentum of women's team sport in Australia

Australia's four football codes have made a big show of investing in women's sport in recent years, but as they scramble for survival during the coronavirus-forced shutdown of sport, does that commitment to the cause remain?

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Governance, Disputes, Integrity, Anti-Doping - Cost-free appeals for athletes as coronavirus drives big sports to new tribunal

The National Sports Tribunal is only one month old, but its chief executive has revealed his surprise at the level of interest shown by Australia's biggest sports as part of their efforts to adapt to the realities of COVID-19. John Boultbee, National Sports Tribunal chief executive, has pledged to waive fees until October to assist sports struggling with the shutdown and give the new tribunal a leg up.

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Integrity - AFL: Two AFL players in hot water over car incidents

Only hours after Western Bulldogs vice-captain Lachie Hunter returned a positive breath test after allegedly driving into four parked cars in inner Melbourne, Adelaide announced that forward Tyson Stengle had allegedly been caught drink-driving in an unregistered car.

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Media Rights, Broadcasting - Channel Seven in the frame for broadcast rights as crunch talks with Nine, Fox loom

Channel Seven have reportedly expressed interest in the situation followingNine's recent public bashing of the NRL and reported wish for the 2020 season to be scrapped.

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Commercial, Player Contracts - NBL: Sydney Kings star Andrew Bogut warns NBL must reform Next Stars program

Andrew Bogut believes the NBL’s Next Stars program will be reduced to “second-tier” talent and not draft-bound big names such as LaMelo Ball and RJ Hampton after the NBA’s initiative to offer rising players more cash to remain in the US.

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NBA offers young stars $800,000 to keep them away from NBL

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who admitted last year he was "a little jealous" of the NBL snagging recruits, scored a major victory on Thursday.

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Commercial - Sydney Swans pause plans for a new headquarters and community centre

The $70 million project would have established the Sydney Swans HQ and Community Centre – a new home for the Sydney Swans and a future Swans women’s team, the QBE Sydney Swans Academy, the NSW Swifts, GO Foundation, Clontarf Foundation and an Australian Red Cross Blood Bank donation centre.

Read club statement


Governance - World Rugby investigates convicted killer whose Fijian union is backing Bill Beaumont’s World Rugby bid

Bill Beaumont’s bid to win re-election for another four years as chairman of World Rugby suffered another blow yesterday when his own organisation started an inquiry into Francis Kean, who has been convicted of manslaughter and who is the chairman of the Fiji Rugby Union, which seconded Beaumont’s nomination in the election race.'

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Governance, Integrity - "Sport cannot control itself" says man behind documentary that led to