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):





AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND



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.

Read report





GLOBAL



Integrity, Member Protection - Japan: athletes suffered abuse, says Human Rights Watch report

Young athletes in Japan have suffered physical, verbal and sexual abuse during training, a report by Human Rights Watch says. The report, recording the experiences of more than 800 athletes in 50 sports, comes in the week that would have marked the start of the Tokyo Olympics.

Read report

View HRW report



Integrity, Member Protection - Figure Skating: 'It was dehumanising': Jessica Shuran Yu condemns training abuse in China

A world championship figure skater has urged the International Olympic Committee to do more to protect vulnerable young girls after detailing how she and others suffered abuse inside the Chinese system.

Read report



Integrity, Member Protection - US College Sports: NCAA argues in court filing that it has no legal obligation to protect athletes from sexual abuse

Former Arizona and Texas athlete Erin Aldrich and former Texas athletes Londa Bevins and Jessica Johnson say that John Rembao sexually abused and harassed them during their college careers. They’ve sued the NCAA, saying the collegiate governing body has failed to establish rules that punish coaches for sexual misconduct.

Read report



Integrity, Corruption - Switzerland: Swiss Legal Chief Quits Amid FIFA Controversy

Switzerland's top prosecutor, Attorney General Michael Lauber, suspected of collusion with FIFA chief Gianni Infantino following a series of secret meetings in 2016 and 2017, said in a statement he was resigning "in the interest of the institution".

Read report



Integrity, Corruption - UK: The cyber threat to sports organisations

The UK's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) report highlights the cyber threats faced by the sports sector and suggests how to stop or lessen their impact on organisations, highlighting that a Premier League club came close to losing £1m during a transfer deal because of cyber hackers.

Read report



Integrity, Anti-Doping - 'I masterminded the greatest cheating scandal in sporting history'

Moscow lab boss turned whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov reveals how he falsified Russian Olympic athletes' drug tests aided by Putin's FSB.

Read report



Integrity, Anti-Doping - WADA launches new e-learning course for athletes and coaches heading to Tokyo 2020 Games

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has launched a new interactive education course on its Anti-Doping eLearning Platform (ADeL) for athletes and coaches aiming to attend the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The new course, entitled ‘ADeL for Tokyo 2020 Olympics’, was developed in collaboration with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Testing Agency (ITA).

View course details



Concussion - Football/Soccer: Club doctor says medics are under pressure with potentially concussed players

Team medics have allowed potentially concussed players to stay on the pitch because they fear being confronted by a coach, according to a Championship club doctor.

Read report



Athlete's Rights - Athlete groups call on WADA to implement "stronger" reforms promoting independence and accountability

Global Athlete, the Athletics Association, Canadian body AthletesCAN, Athleten Deutschland, the Danish Olympic Committee Athlete Commission and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee Athlete Advisory Council have all signed an open letter requesting action is taken. The letter claims "WADA can no longer self-regulate".

Read report



Athlete's Rights - Team GB head backs British athletes’ right to protest at Olympic Games

Team GB’s chef de mission for the Tokyo Olympics, Mark England, is diplomatic in his stance to support athletes in the ongoing battle to change the IOC’s rules which ban protest.

Read report



Governance - COVID-19’s Lasting Impact on the Sports Industry: Financial, Legal, and Innovation

To survive, sport must put safety first, anticipate and plan for this and future crises, innovate, and find common ground, despite technical force majeure rights that could pose a disparate impact on one party, to preserve industry and the very sports we adore. The challenges and lessons that can be learned from this crisis will have a lasting impact on and throughout the sport industry.

Read article



Governance, League Management - Football/Soccer: Wigan looking to lawyers after Fulham equaliser sends them towards drop

Wigan’s administrator revealed that a potential buyer has been found and awarded preferred bidder status, though whether the club will be in the Championship or League One when any sale goes through will be subject to the appeal verdict due at the end of next week.

Read report



Governance, Commercial - Football/Soccer: Private equity groups in pitch battle to win Serie A deal

CVC, Bain and Advent among those to submit offers with eyes on Italian football’s growing TV revenues Read report



Commercial - Football/Soccer: Big brands stick with club sponsorships as digital media drives the value up

A report by the KPMG Football Benchmark examines the marketplace for top-tier club sponsorship and found that while sponsors may have examined the cost saving opportunity of pulling out of football, very few have done it.

Read report

View the Football Benchmark report



Broadcasting - Twitch introduces sports as a standalone category

Twitch has announced that beginning Wednesday it will be introducing sports as a standalone category, which will also include the return of twitch.tv/twitchsports in an effort to allow users to find sporting events on the platform more easily. As part of the launch, twitch.tv/twitchsports will be brought back to serve as a channel featuring different sports events being streamed on Twitch.

Read report



Major Events - Rescheduled Tokyo Olympics must be simple and safe, says Games official

Senior Olympic official John Coates has reiterated that Tokyo must stage a simplified summer Games next year with the health and safety of athletes the most important consideration in the planning.

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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