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Sports Law Ledger - Monday 29 June 2020

‪Catchup on the latest sports law, integrity, and commercial news, updates, and alerts from Australia, New Zealand & around the world (copyright remains the property of respective owners):


Integrity - Sport Integrity Australia: your questions answered

What is Sport Integrity Australia? Prior to the commence of SIA on Wednesday 1 July 2020, ASADA has compiled some answers to key questions.

Read FAQ

Integrity, Member Protection - Australian Rules Football: Eddie Betts questions why he plays AFL after being subjected to racial abuse

During an interview on Fox Footy's 'AFL 360', Eddie Betts opened up about the impact of racial abuse that he has endured during his years playing AFL.

View video

Integrity, Member Protection - Australian Rules Football: Macaffer, Dawes back Lumumba over Collingwood nickname

Former Collingwood player Brent Macaffer says premiership teammate Heritier Lumumba was called "chimp" during his time at the Magpies and that the playing group was aware of the nickname.

Read report

Integrity, Match Fixing - Tennis: Victoria Police cracks alleged international tennis fixing syndicate

The group allegedly responsible is headquartered in India, where operatives have worked to convince low-ranked players from Europe and South America to throw matches while associates placed bets with bookies on the other side of the world. Two men, Rajesh Kumar and Harsimrat Singh, of Point Cook, faced the Melbourne Magistrates Court this week charged with attempting to corruptly win up to $320,000 betting on fixed games.

Read report

Integrity, Anti-Doping - Swimming: Olympic swimming champion says rampant doping in his sport means he 'can't trust' half of his opponents

Olympic swimming champion Kyle Chalmers has said widespread doping in the sport means he can't trust half of his competitors, and said he was inspired by teammate Mack Horton's stance against Sun Yang.

Read report

Governance - How to succeed as the chief executive of an Australian sport

There’s a secret to succeeding as the chief executive of an Australian sport — a secret that may still be a mystery to at least three people. The sports bosses who have got it right, however, are the ones who have nurtured the relationships that are vital to their code’s success.

Read article

Governance - Australian Rules Football: What the AFL can learn from Conor McKenna and Essendon's averted coronavirus crisis

The news that sent the AFL into a tailspin on Saturday afternoon has rather fizzled out, to everyone's great relief. There will be no league-wide shutdown, no forfeiture of Essendon matches, no mass breakout at the Hangar.

Read report

Governance - Australian Rules Football: AFL in fixture scramble with Tigers refused entry to Queensland

The round five fixture is set to be flipped on its head with West Coast's clash with Richmond on Thursday night expected to be postponed due to a hardline stance from the Queensland government. 

Read AFL article

Governance - Horse Racing: TAB NZ comes into power from August but doesn't have chief executive

Horse racing has finally got the laws it needs to grow - now the search starts for the boss to implement them. The Racing Industry Bill has breezed through its second and third readings in Parliament and will become the law the industry is governed by on August 1.

Read report

Governance - Cricket: 'Lost control of cricket': Heat rising on Cricket Australia board

State associations now agitating for major change to the role of governing body and the make-up of the board and it faces the possibility of being thrown out by its shareholders: the six states.

Read report

Governance - Cricket: Leave it alone: Carter backs Cricket Australia board structure

The man who helped revolutionise Cricket Australia and drag it into a modern governance era has warned diversity and trust could be under threat should it turn back the clock and shed its independence. Governance expert Colin Carter, along with David Crawford, completed an extensive report in 2011 that prompted CA to end its century-old, state-based board of 14 directors and introduce a system of nine independent directors, although states are still able to nominate a candidate.

Read report

Governance, Member Protection - Legal liability and your COVID-19 Safety Coordinator

In the case of COVID-19 Safety Coordinators, a lot of potential volunteers are not prepared to offer their services because of the complexity of the role and which in turn brings with it perceived potential legal liability issues.

Read report

Governance, Disputes - Rugby League: Former player launches legal case against NSWRL after horrific injury

Kurt Drysdale, a promising footballer rendered a quadriplegic after a horrific spinal injury five years ago, has started legal action against NSW Rugby League. Drysdale was a rising hooker for Cronulla with ambitions of playing in the NRL until a catastrophic injury left him paralysed from the neck down.

Read report

View online case

Governance, Athlete Relations - Netball: Players demand consultation after "unacceptable" two-point announcement

Suncorp Super Netball players were shocked and disappointed to learn of the SSN Commission’s decision to trial a two-point “super shot” during the 2020 season, and are demanding to be consulted about any proposed rule changes. The Australian Netball Players' Association (ANPA) has been gathering feedback from board members and players since yesterday’s announcement.

Read ANPA media release

Governance, Athlete Relations - Speaking freely in special clothing

Sport and politics don’t mix. Except when they do, which is often. With sport so integrated into society, it would be strange if political or religious speech didn’t seep into elite sport and seek amplification. It can be provocative and polemical, or humdrum and hokey. It can be actual speech or symbolic communication. But from anthems and military bands to gestures like “taking a knee” or kissing a crucifix, sporting events are suffused with sociopolitical expression.

Read article

Governance, Athlete Relations - Rugby Union: Costs hit rugby broadcast deal as players threaten pay revolt

As Victoria's COVID-19 case spike forced Rugby Australia and Melbourne to move the Rebels to Canberra with less than 48 hours' notice, a week out from next week's Super Rugby opener, the country's players were up in arms about being asked to take ongoing pay cuts.

Read report

Governance, Commercial - Cricket: No cash lost on stocks, says CA boss

Cricket Australia chairman Earl Eddings says the organisation has not lost any money on its investment in the stock market.

Read report

Commercial - New Zealand and Australia in talks over lucrative cross-code rugby match

Currently, the All Blacks are scheduled to play the Wallabies in a four match Bledisloe Cup series in rugby union later this year, although there is doubt over whether the series will take place, with borders between the two countries currently closed.

Read report

Commercial, Disputes - 'False public circus': Legal threat to proposed Roos-All Blacks clash

The obstacle is Phil Franks. A 74-year-old former footballer at five Sydney clubs, Franks has taken out a patent on the hybrid rugby game and will not allow it to proceed without his permission. He has fired off a letter to Mark Robinson, chief executive of the New Zealand Rugby Union, threatening to injunct the match.

Read report

M&A - Is the future of NZ's professional sports teams in 'mega-franchises'?

Documents obtained under the Official Information Act reveal the idea was put forward during a recent industry-wide consultation on the challenges facing professional sport led by former NZ Rugby boss Steve Tew.

Read report

M&A - Rugby League: Storm powerbroker behind $600m bid to buy 20 per cent of NRL

Melbourne Storm powerbroker Bart Campbell is behind a plot for private investors to buy a 20 per cent stake in the NRL that could be worth a staggering $600 million. Campbell gave a presentation to the ARL Commission in mid-April and since then has been meeting with clubs, garnering support for the private-equity model favoured by several sports around the world.

Read report

Venues, M&A - SCG Trust powers expanded to include all stadiums

The powerful Sydney Cricket & Sports Ground Trust will have control of all the state's stadiums as part of a new super agency to run NSW's sporting and entertainment venues. Businessman and the chair of the SCG Trust Tony Shepherd will lead the body, to be created through a merger with Venues NSW, the government agency responsible for all stadiums including ANZ.

Read report

Major Events - Australia and New Zealand selected as hosts of FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023

The FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™ will be staged in Australia and New Zealand, following a vote taken by the FIFA Council during its meeting held via videoconference, the result of which was announced by FIFA President Gianni Infantino. The joint bid submitted by Football Federation Australia and New Zealand Football received 22 of the 35 valid votes cast by the FIFA Council members in the first ballot.

Read FIFA media release

Read FFA article

Read NZ Football article

Major Events, Media Rights - Cricket: Channel 9 stumped if T20 World Cup is moved

Cricket’s plans to move the T20 World Cup could cost them a free-to-air broadcaster as Channel 9 may reportedly explore options to get out of its broadcasting deal and save $15-20 million under the force majeure clause.

Read report


Integrity, Member Protection - Racism should be treated as seriously as match-fixing and doping

Players found guilty of racism should face the same penalties as match-fixers and dopers, says West Indies captain Jason Holder. While International Cricket Council (ICC) rules allow for a life ban for on-pitch racist abuse, culprits are rarely punished to that extent.

Read report

Integrity, Member Protection - Motor Sport: ‘The noose was real’ - NASCAR releases photo from Talladega

Declaring “the noose was real,” NASCAR officials on Thursday released a photo of the rope found in the speedway garage stall of Black driver Bubba Wallace that prompted a federal investigation into whether he had been the target of a hate crime.

Read report

Integrity, Member Protection, Child Safe Sport - Child abuse victims to sue Celtic FC in landmark case

Victims of a number of paedophiles are to sue Celtic football club in a ground-breaking civil action amidst claims it failed to protect them from sex abusers working around Celtic Boys’ Club.

Read report

Integrity, Match Fixing - Cricket: 'Match-fixing law will be a game-changer in India'

Making match-fixing a criminal offence will be a "game-changer" and the "single-most-effective thing" for sport in India. That is the strong belief of Steve Richardson, the coordinator of investigations at the ICC's anti-corruption unit (ACU). Ajit Singh, the head of the BCCI's ACU, concurs with that viewpoint, adding that India also needs a "very strong law" against betting, which is believes is the source of corruption in cricket in India.

Read report

Integrity, Anti-Doping - U.S. threatens to pull WADA funding as war of words escalates

If WADA does not “change its way of doing business” the agency could soon find itself out of funding and out of business, warned Travis Tygart, the head of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

Read report

Integrity, Anti-Doping - Boxing: American heavyweight tests positive for a banned substance

The American heavyweight Jarrell Miller has reportedly tested positive for a banned substance and will not make his planned comeback on July 9. He will be placed on temporary suspension by the Nevada State Athletic Commission on Monday morning.

Read report

Integrity, Anti-Doping - Athletics: Luke Traynor banned for cocaine use

Briton Luke Traynor has been suspended from sport for two years for cocaine use, having served 13 months to date. The Scot failed a UK Anti-Doping (Ukad) test after the stimulant was found in his urine at the Vitality London 10km race in May 2019.

Read report

Integrity, Anti-Doping - Wrestling: Olympic wrestling bronze medallist Fransson given four-year doping ban

Jenny Fransson, a former world champion who claimed bronze in the 69 kilograms division at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, tested positive for methyltestosterone, an anabolic steroid. The 32-year-old, provisionally suspended since January 28, will not be able to return until January 27 2024.

Read report

Integrity, Corruption - Football/Soccer: TTFA bosses guaranteed marketing man Miller $600K as corruption schemes unravel

The comedy of corruption and financial malpractice that has been, with few exceptions, the Trinidad and Tobago FA’s overriding contribution to Caribbean and world football, has continued with more information of yet another monster contract paid by the TTFA to yet another associate of disgraced former Concacaf president Jack Warner.

Read report

Integrity, Corruption - Football/Soccer: Former UEFA President Platini now formal suspect in Swiss case

Former UEFA President Michel Platini has been formally placed under investigation in Switzerland in relation to a $2 million (£1.62 million/€1.78 million) payment he received from FIFA in 2011. It comes as part of a wider corruption case against former FIFA President Sepp Blatter, with Swiss prosecutors extending its criminal proceedings to include Blatter's role in the payment to Platini.

Read report

Governance - India: IOA President Batra warns medal chances will be hindered by High Court ruling

A Delhi High Court ruled this week that the Sports Ministry must de-recognise 54 NSFs. Indian Olympic Association (IOA) President Narinder Batra has warned that the withdrawal of Government recognition for all national sport federations (NSFs) may seriously impede India's preparations for Tokyo 2020.

Read report

Governance - Hurling: FAI to hand independent Mazars review over to An Garda Síochána and ODCE

Last year, in the aftermath of a turbulent period for the Association arising from the emergence of John Delaney's bridging loan to his employer, Mazars were commissioned by the FAI to "conduct an independent and in-depth external review of all matters" at the association.

Read report

Governance - Weightlifting "on path to recovery" as IWF agrees on election date

The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) will have a new constitution and a new permanent leader within seven months. An Electoral Congress and a Constitutional Congress will both be held in Lausanne in Switzerland, in January.

Read report

Governance, Athlete Relations - Athletics: Isinbayeva writes letter urging IOC and World Athletics to "protect" Russian athletes as deadline for RusAF payment looms

Russia's two-time Olympic pole vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva published the letter, signed by her and other "clean" Russian athletes, on Instagram. The letter comes after a number of Russian athletes also wrote to the country's President Vladimir Putin, urging him to intervene in the dispute between World Athletics and RusAF.  They warned Putin that Russian athletics is "on the verge of disaster", with a July 1 deadline for RusAF to pay half of a $10 million (£8 million/€9 million) fine looming. 

Read report

Governance, Athlete Relations - Athlete activism demands systemic change - not just words and applause

An opinion piece by Brendan Schwab, LL.B MBA, a Swiss-based Australian lawyer who is the Executive Director of the World Players Association: It is now time for sport’s leaders to demonstrate the same courage as athletes and deliver long overdue reformation of sports governance and law.

Read opinion piece

Governance, Athlete Relations - USOPC Athletes' Advisory Council and John Carlos call for abolition of Rule 50

The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee Athletes' Advisory Council (USOPC AAC), working in partnership with John Carlos, has called on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to scrap the controversial rule banning political protests at the Games.

Read report

Governance, Athlete Relations - Tennis: IPC "pleased" with decision to hold wheelchair tournament at US Open

International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Andrew Parsons has welcomed the decision to hold a wheelchair competition at this year's US Open. A week after announcing there would be no wheelchair competitions at the tournament, organisers of the Grand Slam made a u-turn following fierce criticism from players.

Read report

Governance, Athlete Relations - The Implications of the Recent Jurisprudence of the Court of Justice of the European Union for the Protection of the Fundamental Rights of Athletes and the Regulatory Autonomy of Sporting Federations

The rules regulating sporting activity, if this activity falls within the scope of the law of the EU, may be subject to assessment of conformity with fundamental rights of the EU thanks to direct horizontal applicability of the Charter, which explicitly results from the recent Court’s rulings.

Read article

Governance, Athlete Relations - Baseball: MLB announces 60-game season for 2020; Opening Day will be July 23 or 24

Major League Baseball is set to return. The MLB Players Association (MLBPA) informed the league Tuesday that players will comply with commissioner Rob Manfred's imposed outline for a 60-game 2020 season. Players are set report for another version of "spring" training on July 1, and the regular season will start either July 23 or 24, the league announced. 

Read report

Governance, Athlete Relations - College Sports: As athletes return to campus, what are they signing up for?

Across the country, universities have begun the process of getting ready to play through a public health crisis. As athletes return to campus, what are they signing up for? Missouri also has a pledge and Ohio State’s athletic director said the school got the idea for its document from Big Ten rival Indiana. Baylor’a AD said athletes there are being given a waiver and awareness form to sign. How much legal protection any of these forms provide schools is up for debate, along with the ethics of requiring unpaid students to sign them.

Read report

Governance, Athlete Relations, Disputes - Football/Soccer: Judge denies American women’s soccer immediate appeal

A federal judge has denied a request by American women’s soccer players to allow an immediate appeal of his decision to throw out their claim of unequal pay against the U.S. Soccer Federation. U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner in Los Angeles has scheduled a trial for Sept. 15 on the players’ remaining claim of discriminatory work conditions. New USSF President Cindy Parlow Cone — a former national team player — has said she hopes a settlement can be reached. The current collective bargaining agreement expires on Dec. 31, 2021.

Read report

Governance, Stakeholder Management - Football/Soccer: Burnley promise lifetime bans for supporters responsible for 'White Lives Matter' plane banner

Burnley will issue lifetime bans to supporters responsible for a 'White Lives Matter' banner flown over the Etihad Stadium, with captain Ben Mee describing the club as “ashamed and embarrassed” by the stunt. 

Read report

Governance, Commercial - Football/Soccer: Change to Uefa rules will restore Manchester City’s might in transfer market

When Uefa published an addendum to its Financial Fair Play regulations this month, the European competition rules that have been the bane of Manchester City’s existence for more than a year now were temporarily transformed into a boon, although the Abu Dhabi-owned club must wait for next month’s Court of Arbitration for Sport hearing.

Read report

Governance, Commercial, Media Rights, IP - Football/Soccer: Newcastle takeover: Saudi Arabia announces crackdown on piracy

Saudi Arabia has announced a crackdown on websites illegally streaming sporting events, amid suggestions that piracy was a key issue holding up the Newcastle takeover from being completed. Last week, Newcastle received a new £350m takeover bid from the CEO of US TV company Clear TV, Henry Mauriss.

Read report

Commercial - LeBron James' SpringHill Draws $100M From Investors, Elisabeth Murdoch Joins Board

NBA star LeBron James' newly formed entertainment and consumer products firm The SpringHill Company has received investments from Elisabeth Murdoch, Jane Featherstone and Stacey Snider's production company Sister (Chernobyl), Guggenheim Investments, The University of California's UC Investments and private equity firm SC.Holdings.

Read report

Commercial - Football/Soccer: Barcelona generates $1.3 million with virtual ‘fan tokens’

The virtual tokens earned buyers exclusive voting rights in club-specific polls and the chance of winning rewards that could include watching Barcelona games as VIP guests or meeting with team players. The tokens generate additional revenue and are expected to boost fan engagement for the Catalan club.

Read report

Commercial, Sponsorship - Under Armour Looking to Terminate 15-Year, $280 Million Apparel Deal With UCLA

Under Armour has informed UCLA that it is looking to terminate its 15-year, $280 million apparel and footwear contract with the university, the sports apparel brand confirmed in a statement Saturday. 

Read report

View contract

Read UA statement

Commercial, Media Rights - Football/Soccer: Serie A gets third VC hunting $bn stake

A third private equity firm has expressed an interest in bidding for a stake in Serie A, ironically at a time when the league looks on the verge of losing its  biggest international rights buyers.

Read report

Commercial, Insurance - Tennis: No virus cover for Wimbledon

Wimbledon organisers have admitted that they will not be able to secure pandemic insurance cover for next year’s event after making a claim for potentially more than £100 million to cover the losses arising from this year’s cancellation. The tournament, which had been due to start today, was the only top sports event in Britain that had pandemic insurance.

Read report

Commercial, Disputes - Motor Sport: McLaren take legal action to try to secure 'urgent' refinancing

McLaren has taken legal action to allow it to secure "urgent" refinancing to address what it says is "severe and unexpected financial difficulty". The claims are made in documents from a court case launched to stop a group of creditors blocking its plans. McLaren is seeking loans secured on its factory and historic car collection.

Read report

Commercial, IP, Disputes - Nike prevails in shoe patent dispute with Adidas

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on Thursday upheld two Nike Inc patents against a challenge by rival Adidas AG, leaving Adidas open to a potential infringement lawsuit over its Primeknit shoes.

Read report

Read opinion

M&A, Esports - David Beckham bets on $1bn esports market

David Beckham is backing a new esports business that is aiming to raise £25m as online gaming leagues and players hope to build on the huge interest they have captured during coronavirus lockdowns.

Read report

Esports - International Esports Federation to launch World Super League in 2021

The IESF has entered into a partnership with Japanese firm TechnoBlood, which will operate and host WSL. It is hoped the WSL will be staged for the first time in 2021, with the IESF stating it aims for it to become the "one of the biggest tournaments in the world". Participating countries will stage national leagues in popular titles to determine national champions.

Read report

Sports Agents - Football/Soccer: Agents cash in on Premier League with £263m in commissions, Liverpool paid £30m

The English FA have released data on player agent commissions showing that in the period 1 February 2019 to 31 January 2020, agents earned a combined £263 million. Table topping Liverpool headed the spending on agents with £31.3 million, followed by Manchester City with a £29 million and Manchester United with £27 million.

Read report

Gambling - Football’s back. If only gambling firms weren’t

Cheerful, affable Willie Thorne, snooker star admired by millions. Broken, bankrupt Willie Thorne, gambling addict. They are — or rather were — the same person, who died destitute at the age of 66 last week.

Read opinion piece

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 @

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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