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Sports Law Ledger - Monday 31 August 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 - Ex-NZOC vice-president Castle new Drug Free Sport New Zealand chair

Former New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) Board member and first vice-president Tim Castle has been appointed the new chair of Drug Free Sport New Zealand. His new role was announced by Manatū Taonga, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage. A member of the Drug Free Sport New Zealand Board for five years, Castle is an experienced barrister specialising in international sports advocacy and arbitration, as well as alternative dispute resolution and mediation.

Read report

Integrity, Member Protection - Boxing: The 'disgraceful' actions of Jeff Horn's trainer Glenn Rushton

Boxing is brutal and dangerous. The bravery required to jump into the ring – at any level – is often forgotten amid the carry-on to drive pay-for-view subscriptions. At the core of its safety is the trust between trainer and fighter. It's a special relationship, perhaps like no other in sport.

Read opinion piece

Integrity, Member Protection - Rugby League: Seibold takes names to NRL

Anthony Seibold’s legal team have named and shamed the parties responsible for attacking the coach on social media.

Read report

Integrity, Member Protection - Anthony Seibold saga breaks new ground with ferocity of attacks in digital age

Sport in Australia has crossed the Rubicon with the extraordinarily dramatic Anthony Seibold saga. His fall at Brisbane, less than two years into what was essentially a six-year deal, was marked by viciousness and a pointed personal attack not seen before in Australian sport.

Read opinion piece

Integrity, Member Protection - Australian Rules Football: Man arrested for allegedly making online threats to Dylan Grimes

Victoria Police have arrested a Frankston man for allegedly making vile threats on social media towards Richmond premiership defender Dylan Grimes. The arrest was made on Monday after the alleged abuse towards Grimes – who is with the Tigers in a hub in Queensland – escalated to the point where he made a complaint to the police as he was concerned about the wellbeing of his family.

Read report

Integrity, Member Protection - Rugby League: Junior League teams booted after wild brawl

Two Sydney teams have been suspended from a new junior rugby league tournament after a brawl that spilt over the field of play and into the crowd forced the game to be abandoned.

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Governance - Cricket: Inside Cricket Victoria's boardroom battle

The nine-member board - six are elected - has undergone change in recent years since former chairman Russell Thomas and chief executive Tony Dodemaide stepped aside, having failed in their bid to reduce the influence of Premier clubs on voting. While the "new six" ticket - driven by Footscray Cricket Club president Geoff Collinson - failed to sweep to power en masse, two members - Jane Nathan and Phil Hyde - joined the board, with the experienced Peter Williams following.

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Governance, Diversity - Australian Rules Football: Sam Mostyn on becoming the first female AFL commissioner

When Sam Mostyn became the first female AFL commissioner in 2005, she was prepared for resistance from certain parts of the footy community — what she didn't expect was blowback from women involved in the game. Throughout her 11-year stint on the AFL Commission, Mostyn served as a trailblazer for women in the game. She was a key part of the push to create the AFLW competition and helped develop the AFL's Respect and Responsibility policies.

Read report

View interview

Governance, Media Rights - NZ: Some solutions to school sport broadcasting mess

There has been much recent concern expressed about the growing professionalisation of youth and school sport environments in New Zealand. The CEO of the NZ Cricket Players' Association and former secondary school teacher Heath Mills has been a consistent voice against the widespread televising of youth sport but has been criticised for identifying problems.

Read report

Governance, Media Rights - Cricket: Cricket Australia sticks with interim boss, despite growing broadcast war with Seven

Cricket Australia is refusing to bow to Channel 7’s withering attack on its leadership, and won’t begin the hunt for a new full-time chief executive until next year. Channel 7 boss James Warburton labelled CA’s current management “the most incompetent administration I’ve ever worked with”

Read report

Media Rights - Cricket: Cricket Australia stands firm as Seven threatens to terminate $450m deal

Cricket Australia is standing its ground in an increasingly ugly stoush with its free-to-air partners, maintaining broadcasters have no legal grounds to terminate the game's $1.2 billion television contract because they are unhappy at the number of Australian internationals in the Big Bash League.

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Media Rights - Cricket: Seven steps up fight as Cricket Australia triggers 'Act of God' clause

Cricket Australia's high-stakes battle with its free-to-air television partner has taken another twist, with Seven West Media believing the game's governing body has nullifed their $450 million broadcast deal by making a force majeure claim on the upcoming season.

Read report

Media Rights - Cricket: Nine chief says T20 World Cup deal off due to postponement

The volatile atmosphere around sports rights during the COVID-19 pandemic has taken another twist, with Nine arguing its deal to televise cricket's Twenty20 World Cup in Australia is no longer valid because of the postponement of the tournament.

Read report

Media Rights - Rugby League: Seven sets its sights on rights to Origin

The Seven Network is eyeing off a serious bid for rugby league and its plans could be strengthened if it parts ways with cricket.

Read report

Athlete Relations, Agents, Contracts - Rugby League: Broncos deny salary cap breach over 'unpaid' third-party deals

While Tevita Pangai jnr has been served a breach of contract notice & is indefinitely suspended by the NRL because of repeated COVID-19 bubble transgressions, the other sub-plot to him taking his grievances to the integrity unit is a split with agent, Isaac Moses

Read report

Contracts - Rugby League: Seibold Steps Down As Broncos Coach

Anthony Seibold has chosen to step down from the Broncos Coaching role. “Anthony approached Chairman Karl Morris late last week to indicate he did not wish to continue as Coach of the Brisbane Broncos. The Board understands Anthony’s situation and has accepted his wishes to step down from the position.”

Read club statement

Commercial - Rugby League: NRL slashes costs by $80m a year

The Australian Rugby League Commission held a landmark planning meeting on Thursday to map out a strategy to ensure the sport survives and thrives through the coronavirus pandemic.

Read report

Gambling - Digital betting shift delivers huge Sportsbet profit

A big increase in online betting on racing and sport by Australian punters during COVID-19 has delivered a huge profit for bookmaker Sportsbet, which will bed down its merger with BetEasy in time for the biggest days of the upcoming spring racing carnival.

Read report


Athlete's Rights - Hope is a dying ember for black people in the US. Athletes have rekindled it

“When I boycotted the 1968 Olympics because of racial inequality I was ostracized. Now white athletes are joining their black teammates in protests” - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Read article

Athlete's Rights - Baseball: After a Long Lull, Protesting Is Taking Hold Across Baseball

Carlos Delgado remembered the difficulty of demonstrating alone 16 years ago. Now, he and current players are encouraged by a growing sense of solidarity with Black athletes.

Read report

Athlete's Rights - Sports stars are held up as role models – until they want to stand up to racism

Despite criticism, US athletes are taking principled action over the shooting of Jacob Blake and embracing their power

Read opinion piece

Athlete Relations - Basketball: N.B.A. ‘Boycott’ or Strike: What’s the Difference?

Professional athletes in several leagues protested racial injustice by refusing to play on Wednesday, leaving fans with some legal questions. We asked the experts.

Read report

Athlete Relations - Tennis: Djokovic and Other Top Men Are Creating a Players’ Association

It is not clear whether the group will operate like a union, although it was billed that way to get players to join. Women are not being included.

Read report

Athlete Relations - Tennis: Nadal And Federer Come Out Against Novak Djokovic's Latest Plan

Novak Djokovic faced opposition from his two greatest on-court rivals, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, as the Serbian pushed for a breakaway tennis players' union.

Read report

Athlete Relations, Governance, Diversity - Ice Hockey: Hockey Diversity Alliance present NHL with eight-point plan of action

A pledge was sent to the NHL on July 14 but is yet to be signed.  The Hockey Diversity Alliance revealed the details of the pledge following player-led boycotts sparked by the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

Read report

Read the HDA Pledge

Athlete Relations, Commercial, M&A - Football/Soccer: Real Salt Lake Owner to sell MLS club after criticising players' protest

Real's game at home to Los Angeles FC was one of five Major League Soccer matches called off on Wednesday. Owner Dell Loy Hansen said he felt "disrespected" by the postponement, adding: "It's like somebody stabbed you." An MLS statement said the league would help "support the sale efforts".

Read report

Read MLS statement

Integrity - UK Anti-Doping hails new integrity body for UK sport

A new cross-sport Integrity Forum is being set up to help tackle a range of issues including safeguarding and athlete welfare. A study by Swansea University found more than half of British sports surveyed dedicated less than £10,000 per year to fund integrity functions.

Read report

Integrity, Tech - Chess: India and Russia declared joint winners of Online Chess Olympiad after players lose internet connection

The first round of the final had ended in a 3-3 deadlock, with the second round also level before Nihal Sarin and Divya Deshmukh lost connection with their server.  Russia were given the victory initially but India lodged an appeal with the International Chess Federation (FIDE).

Read report

Integrity, Governance - Horse Racing: Delia Bushell resigns from post as Jockey Club chief executive after bullying allegations are upheld

Investigation found evidence to support allegations of misconduct, including bullying towards colleagues and racist comments.

Read more

Integrity, Governance - Cricket: Cricket South Africa fire suspended chief executive for committing acts of serious misconduct

Cricket South Africa (CSA) have fired Thabang Moroe, the organisation's former chief executive who was suspended in December 2019, after an independent investigation found him guilty of committing acts of serious misconduct. Moroe is expected to challenge the decision in court.

Read report

Integrity, Governance - iNADO expresses concern over Ganus sacking as RUSADA Supervisory Board hopes for WADA dialogue

The Institute of National Anti-Doping Organisations (iNADO) is "deeply concerned" by the control that the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) and Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) exercise over the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), following their decision to remove Yuri Ganus as the organisation’s director general on Friday. RUSADA’s founders - the ROC and RPC - approved a recommendation from the organisation’s Supervisory Board to dismiss Ganus.

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Governance - Golf: Sophia Popov snub is as extraordinary as it is shameful for women's golf

Golf doesn’t have an equivalent to the own goal, which is just as well for those who administer the second women’s major of the year. If such a straightforward comparison existed, the ANA Inspiration might have been subject to more candid criticism than has already been the case. Matters relating to Sophia Popov, golf’s player of the moment, depict a sport unwilling to help itself.

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Governance, Contracts - Football/Soccer: La Liga rule the £624 million release clause in Lionel Messi's Barcelona contract remains valid 

La Liga have ruled that the £624 million release clause in Lionel Messi's Barcelona contract remains valid after the Argentina striker demonstrated his determination to leave by failing to report to the club’s training ground on Sunday. Messi has been heavily linked with a move to Manchester City.

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Governance, Contracts - Football/Soccer: Who holds the upper hand in Lionel Messi vs Barcelona contract break clause dispute?

Lionel Messi's argument hinges on whether his clause says 'at the end of the season' or on a specific date - he will probably lose

Read report

Esports, Contracts - Tfue settles lawsuit against Faze Clan over ‘oppressive’ gaming contract

Professional 'Fortnite' player Turner "Tfue" Tenney and his former gaming organization have reached a settlement and agreed to amicably part ways.

Read report

Commercial, Sponsorships, Gambling - Football/Soccer: Contracts threatened as Spanish government wants October ban on betting operator shirt branding

Spanish government legislation that would ban betting operators from kit branding on sports teams could be passed as early as October, the Minister in charge of the new law has announced.

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 @

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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