Sports Law Ledger - Monday 27 July 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 - 'Deep scars': Gymnastics Australia promises action after athletes allege abuse

Former Australian gymnasts detailing mental and physical abuse allegations have been applauded by the sport’s governing body. Gymnastics Australia is promising action after a group of gymnasts, including Olympians and Commonwealth Games medal winners, told of the sport’s toxic culture. Read report

Integrity, Member Protection - Australian Rules Football: Treatment of Conor McKenna was ‘absolutely outrageous’

Irish AFL star and former Laois footballer Zach Tuohy has described the Australian official and media treatment of fellow countryman Conor McKenna’s false positive test for Covid-19 as “absolutely outrageous” and “a total farce” – the former Tyrone player initially reported to be positive last month, only three days later be given the all-clear.

Read report

Integrity, Wagering - Netball: Illegal offshore betting hits New Zealand sport

Alongside the genuine fans, a number of people working for illegal offshore bookmakers, or 'courtsiders', have also made their way into stadiums in Auckland. Netball New Zealand's head of events and international Kate Agnew said this was the first time that this type of activity had been identified at a netball game in New Zealand.

Read report

Integrity, Anti-Doping - Horse racing: Alligator Blood stripped of Magic Millions win, Vandyke cops big fine

David Vandyke has been fined $20,000 and Alligator Blood stripped of his win in the $2 million Magic Millions Guineas after an inquiry in Queensland on Thursday. Connections of the cult hero lost one of the most lucrative cheques in Australian racing after the horse was found with altrenogest in its system.

Read report

Integrity, Anti-Doping - Horse racing: Police should have kept EPO syringes to themselves

The Victorian Court of Appeal is being asked if the Magistrate in the first instance made an error in law when she determined that Racing Victoria was within its rights to use information (EPO syringes) passed on by police that was gained as a result of a search warrant.

Read report

Integrity - Rugby League: Decision on Appeals brought by Latrell Mitchell & Josh Addo-Carr

The NRL Appeals Committee issued its decision in respect of applications for leave to appeal brought by South Sydney Player Latrell Mitchell and Melbourne Storm Player Josh Addo-Carr following penalties for bringing the Game into disrepute following incidents relating to COVID-19 restrictions.  The Appeals Committee refused the application for leave to appeal brought by each Player.

Read NRL Statement

Ethics - Sports grants: tennis club launches legal challenge to Bridget McKenzie's handling of scheme

Lawyers for a tennis club denied a grant under the $100m community sport infrastructure program have launched a legal challenge against Sport Australia and Bridget McKenzie’s administration of the scheme. In an application, filed on Thursday, Maurice Blackburn acting for the Beechworth Lawn Tennis Club asks the federal court to quash Sport Australia’s rejection and order it to reconsider giving the club a grant.

Read report

Ethics - $150 million Female Facilities and Water Safety Stream grants program implemented before guidelines in place

A major national sporting code keen for a slice of $150 million earmarked for female changing rooms was assured the program would not be used in an election cash splash, only to see most of it splurged on swimming pools in Coalition-held seats.

Read report

Ethics - Sports rorts: Coalition approved at least six grants without an application form, documents reveal

Fresh details have emerged about the government’s so-called “sports rorts” affair after new documents revealed at least six grants were approved by the minister despite no application form for the money being received for them.

Read report

Ethics - NSW Liberal seats win big in latest sports grants funding round

The Berejiklian government has splashed the lion's share of its $40 million sports grants program on its own Sydney seats, with Liberal electorates receiving 17 of the 22 grants. This amounts to 67 per cent of the total funding pool for the 2019-20 funding round, despite the fact Liberal MPs hold just over half of all Sydney-based seats, representing 29 of the 54 seats.

Read report

Governance - Cricket: Jacquie Hey, Michael Kasprowicz to exit CA Board

Jacquie Hey, Cricket Australia's first female director, is expected exit the board this year in the wake of Michael Kasprowicz's resignation. CA's nominations committee will now have to search for fresh talent, including possible candidates to become the next chairperson after Earl Eddings.

Read report

Governance - Cricket: Michael Kasprowicz quits Cricket Australia over lack of leadership

Former Test fast bowler Michael Kasprowicz has resigned from the Cricket Australia board after becoming frustrated with the direction of its leadership. It is understood Kasprowicz had become frustrated with the direction the board had taken in recent times and was particularly upset at the lack of trust between the board and its stakeholders.

Read report

Governance, Broadcasting - 'Serious questions' over $10 million for Fox Sports

Foxtel will get $10 million to support the broadcast of women’s sports and “niche” competitions. Communications minister Paul Fletcher and sports minister Richard Colbeck announced on Wednesday that the federal government had allocated the sum to Fox Sports, ” to continue its support of coverage of women’s, niche and other under-represented sports”. Labor and the Greens have separately slammed the funding for Fox Sports, saying "serious questions remain"

Read report

Governance, League Management - Rugby Union: Expression of no interest: Australia to rebuff New Zealand competition invitation

Australia will rebuff New Zealand Rugby's Super Rugby proposal and look to negotiate on an equal footing after sounding out Argentina and Japan on their interest in alternative models.

Read report

Commercial, Sponsorship - Rugby League: Bulldogs finally land major sponsor as Harawira-Naera joins Raiders

The Bulldogs were poised to partner with Rashays restaurants as their major backer, but the Port Macquarie pre-season scandal scuppered the deal. Laundy Hotels, an established pub and hotel group with over 20 venues across NSW, has stepped into the breach after months of negotiations.

Read report

Intellectual Property - Crocmedia tries (and fails) to stop radio station from using 'football'

Crocmedia’s attempt to bar a Melbourne soccer internet radio station from using the term ‘football’ has proven unsuccessful. Hearing officer Robert Wilson did not agree with Crocmedia’s argument, allowing Football Nation Radio to trademark its name. “In my view, the term ‘football’ is not equivalent to AFL”, the judgement said, pointing to the likes of rugby league and union, Gaelic football and American football.

Read report

Media Rights - Motor Sport: Network 10 Leaves Supercars

Network 10 has announced it will not televise Supercars past 2020, leaving the broadcast deal open to Seven, who is reportedly negotiating for more live rights than Ten currently has. A Network 10 spokesperson confirmed the free-to-air broadcaster will not extend its contract past this year, citing financial losses as a result of COVID-19.

Read report

Sports Tech - Australian sports tech firm Catapults over virus

ASX-listed sports technology outfit Catapult has narrowly avoided becoming a casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic. A feat the company’s relatively new CEO Will Lopes says seemed unlikely a couple of months ago as the virus knocked its entire customer base off its feet.