Sports Law Ledger - Monday 25 May 2020

Updated: May 25, 2020

‪Catchup on the latest sports law, integrity, and commercial news, updates, and alerts:


Return to Sport

Sport Australia has developed a Return to Sport Toolkit that includes a suite of resources to help sporting organisations get ready to recommence training, competitions and programs in a safe, responsible and low risk manner.

Download the Toolkit

Return to Sport

A possible return to play is being carefully planned for by members of the Coalition of Major Professional and Participation Sports (COMPPS) in collaboration with many health experts, government bodies, and other stakeholders.

Read COMPPS statement

Return to Sport

Uncertainty facing community sport flagged as a 'big issue' for Australia. A drop in participation rates, club closures and further financial hardship are just some of the challenges facing community sport as millions of Australians prepare to return to the training track with their local clubs.

Read report

Integrity - National Sport Integrity Forum 2020, 26 May 2020, 3:30pm

Join a livestream of the fifth National Sport Integrity Forum to hear sports development leaders discussing the opportunities and challenges in returning to sport after COVID-19.

Register here

Integrity - Rugby League: Cody Walker and South Sydney Rabbitohs issued breach notices by NRL

The NRL issued Cody Walker with a breach notice which alleges he brought the game into disrepute when he intervened in a street fight in Casino, NSW in late 2019.  The NRL also issued the South Sydney Rabbitohs with a breach notice in relation to an alleged failure to promptly disclose the incident involving Walker. 

Read NRL statement

Integrity - Rugby League: The code of conduct clause that could sink Wayne Bennett

Flick through the NRL code of conduct and you quickly arrive at section 16. The section concerns itself with breaches of the rules and it may yet be the undoing of South Sydney and Wayne Bennett as they prepare for a verdict from the NRL over the coach’s handling of an incident involving Cody Walker late last year. Section 16 states that any club or person who reasonably suspects that a breach of the rules has occurred is duty-bound to report the suspected breach to the NRL integrity unit as soon as possible.

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Integrity - Rugby League: Police conduct raids into Dally M sting

Two homes and a business were raided in Sydney on Wednesday as NSW Police continue investigations into an alleged betting sting at the NRL's 2019 Dally M Awards. NSW Police have confirmed documents, electronic devices and computers were seized as part of the investigation by Strike Force Mirrabei.

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Integrity, Sports Betting - Racing: Jockey Ben Melham pleads not guilty to betting charges

Ben Melham will be free to ride for another eight weeks after pleading not guilty to betting-related charges at a Victorian Racing Tribunal directions hearing on Tuesday. The group 1-winning jockey is facing seven charges in total including allegations he bet on horses he was booked to ride, as well as making 20 bets totalling $14,600 on thoroughbred races after initially depositing $3000 into his partner Karlie Dales' betting account at a hotel while he was out injured.

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Governance - Cricket: Cricket Australia moved too early on cuts, say NSW officials

The widening gulf between Cricket Australia and the country’s most powerful state association has been exposed with NSW officials saying they do not believe grants from head office should be slashed unless India do not tour this summer. The news comes as a reduction in the length of the Women's Big Bash League looks set to be avoided after CA confirmed the most likely scenario was for a full season to be played.

Read report

Governance, Athlete Relations - From spit to scrums. How can sports players minimise their coronavirus risk?

As we emerge from lockdown, so does our sport. And many sporting bodies are grappling with the best way to do this while protecting their players, staff and fans from the coronavirus.

Read report

Governance, Athlete Relations - Rugby Union: Izack Rodda, Harry Hockings and Isaac Lucas Released

Rugby Australia and the Queensland Rugby Union (QRU) have released Queensland Reds players Izack Rodda, Harry Hockings, and Isaac Lucas. The decision comes after the three players elected to pursue termination of their contracts after being stood down by the QRU on Monday.

Read Qld Reds Statement

Governance, Disputes - Rugby League: Single referee system to proceed but on a trial basis

The Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) and the Professional Rugby League Match Officials (PRLMO) today reached an agreement to resolve its dispute ahead of the resumption of the 2020 NRL competition on May 28.

Read PRLMO statement

Governance, Commercial - Football/Soccer: Clubs unwilling to sell A-League stake to private equity firm

A-League club owners are unwilling to sell a stake in the competition to a global sports management firm, saying they have not spoken about raising investment through a private third-party ownership model. Football Federation Australia was looking to raise capital by selling off as much as 51 per cent of the A-League to a private company after talks with two international firms, New York-based IMG and Japanese international advertising firm Dentsu.

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Athlete Relations, Migration - Visa green light: AFL's Irish players get approval to jet back in

Six players in Ireland will return to Australia this weekend to resume their AFL careers after winning visa approval to re-enter the country. 

Read report

Commercial - ACCC to 'monitor' sporting teams as AFL clubs begin to offer refunds to fans

Australia's consumer watchdog says it will be watching closely as AFL clubs start offering to refund their members, who will likely be locked out of live games for the rest of the season. It comes as the Port Adelaide football club confirmed it will offer both full and partial refunds of membership fees to fans.

Read report

Commercial - Coronavirus has cancelled major events and it may be a while before we are ready to return to crowds

As restrictions ease and we make our way back to pubs, restaurants and public spaces, there are still many factors at play before we get back to our regular calendar of big events. One of the biggest hurdles to getting back in a crowd could be psychological.

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Discrimination - Same-sex and gender diverse young people turned away from sport: report

A Western Sydney University study found that young LGBTIQ+ people have had largely negative experiences in sport - but that they still want to be included.

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Major Events - Queensland bid for 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games "on hold" over coronavirus

The Queensland Government has placed its bid to host the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games - headlined by Brisbane - on hold because of the coronavirus crisis, with the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) endorsing the move.

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Major Events - Coronavirus means Australia's major events industry will never be the same again

Industry insiders fear it will be early next year before the multi-billion-dollar industry can start to revive. It's estimated cancellations of both major events and business events will account for a $35 billion loss to the economy in 12 months and more than 92,000 jobs.

Read report