Sports Law Ledger - Monday 6 July 2020

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 - A new era for sports integrity in Australia

The launch of Sport Integrity Australia on 1 July heralds a new era for sports integrity in Australia and the world, says Chief Executive Officer David Sharpe. The opening of the new agency completes Stage 1, which draws together the existing Commonwealth Sports Integrity functions of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority, the National Integrity of Sport Unit from the Department of Health and the safeguarding functions of Sport Australia. Stage 2 will see enhanced functions implemented, including an Australian Wagering Scheme and enhanced outreach and education.

Read Ministerial statement

Read SIA CEO statement

Integrity - Sailing: 'Deliberate, sinister' attack on Team New Zealand - Grant Dalton

Team New Zealand's Grant Dalton has spoken out after what he calls a "highly orchestrated" attack on the integrity and credibility of the sailing syndicate. Dalton's comments came as Team New Zealand and America's Cup Events Ltd were granted an interim High Court injunction to prevent the NZ Herald and Newstalk ZB from publishing details of a Crown-commissioned report into the spending of public money.

Read report

Integrity - Rugby League: Bulldogs statement on Adam Elliott

The Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs would like to confirm that they are aware of a video having surfaced involving Adam Elliott. The video relates to something that was filmed at a private gathering five years ago. The club has informed the NRL Integrity Unit of the matter.  

Read club statement

Integrity - Australian Rules Football: Collingwood's Jordan De Goey charged with indecent assault over alleged 2015 incident

Victoria Police said that two men would face court on October 30. "Detectives from the Sexual Crimes Squad have charged two people in relation to a reported sexual assault," a Victoria Police spokesperson said. "Two 24-year-olds, one from Hampton East and one from Clematis, have both been charged with indecent assault and bailed to appear at Melbourne Magistrates' Court."

Read report

Integrity, Member Protection - Australian Rules Football: Collingwood appoints Professor Larissa Behrendt

The Collingwood Football Club has appointed Distinguished Professor Larissa Behrendt AO to head an independent review of the environment at the club between 2005-2014. Professor Behrendt was appointed by the Collingwood Integrity Committee (IC) that has been charged by the Collingwood board with the task of examining the period from which the accounts of racism stem.

Read club statement

Integrity, Governance - Australian Rules Football: Return to Play Protocol breaches - Steele Sidebottom and Lynden Dunn

The AFL confirms that it has completed its investigation of the conduct of Collingwood players Steele Sidebottom and Lynden Dunn on the evening of Saturday 27 June and morning of Sunday 28 June. The investigation concluded that both Sidebottom and Dunn had breached the Return To Play Protocols and there was a further breach of the AFL Rules by Sidebottom. As a result Sidebottom has been suspended for Collingwood’s next 4 matches and Dunn has been suspended for Collingwood’s next match.

Read AFL statement

Racism in Sport - Winmar mediation case resolved but more to be done

The settlement includes a six-figure pay-out which will be donated to an indigenous charity. Mike Sheahan, Sam Newman, and Don Scott also signed an official apology and the two episodes in question about Nicky Winmar on their podcast will be removed. They will also make a formal apology on their next episode, although Sheahan this week apologised on air and quit his role.

Read report

Governance - Football/Soccer: FFA release ‘XI Principles’ discussion paper targeting future of football

The discussion paper, titled XI Principles for the future of Australian football, has been compiled over several months as FFA has navigated the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, and has been published as a ‘living document’ which will continue to be shaped by FFA as it uses it as a basis for engagement and consultation with the Australian football community. 

Read FFA release

Read the XI Principles discussion paper

Governance, Athlete Rights - Survey on Olympic protests sent to every Australian athlete

Generations of Australian Olympians have been sent a questionnaire asking them whether they believe the ban on protesting at the Games should be lifted. While there is major doubt about whether the Tokyo Olympics will go ahead even after being postponed until 2021, there is fresh impetus for the Olympic Charter's controversial Rule 50 to be abolished or amended amid the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Read report

Governance, Athlete Relations, Disputes - Cricket: Australian Cricketers' Association withdraws notice of dispute against Cricket Australia over revenue projection

Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers' Association have reached an agreement over a contentious revenue forecast model that threatened to further strain the relationship between the players and governing body.

Read report

Governance, Competition Management - Australian Rules Football: Vic clubs forced north for R6-7, return date unknown

The AFL needed to get the 10 Victorian clubs out of that state due to a worrying spike in the COVID-19 infection rate, a situation which has seen other states either ban those clubs from entry or place the strictest of regulations around their entry. There is a belief among the Victorian clubs that they will not be returning for at least a month, that rounds eight and nine, at a minimum, will be added to their time away from Melbourne.

Read AFL report

Governance, Commercial - Show me the Money! What's the future of pro-sport in NZ?

A recent Sport New Zealand report highlighted the plight of the likes of rugby, netball, cricket and football at a professional level. It led to nearly $5 million in government funding to prop up the ANZ netball premiership, Super Rugby, the Wellington Phoenix and the Warriors.

But how long can professional sport in New Zealand survive?

Listen here

Governance, Commercial, Venues - Tasmania to return to NBL after 25-year break

The Tasmanian Government and NBL owner Larry Kestelman have finally signed the deal that will see the state re-enter basketball’s big league. The first step will be a taxpayer-funded $68.5 million redevelopment of the 30-year-old DEC, including the building of a new $20 million four-court multisport indoor facility next door.

Read report

Governance, Animal Welfare - Greyhound Racing: NSW to introduce Australia's highest standards of greyhound care

According to Minister for Better Regulation, Kevin Anderson, NSW’s greyhound racing industry will soon be subject to the highest standards of greyhound welfare in Australia following the release of the 'NSW Greyhound Welfare Code of Practice', which will come into effect on 1 January 2021.

Read NSW Govt media release

View NSW Greyhound Welfare Code of Practice

Governance, Restructuring, Employment - NSW Rugby announce job cuts in wake of COVID-19 challenges

More than a quarter of NSW Rugby staff have been let go in a restructure that NSW Rugby CEO Paul Doorn said was about the organisation's survival. On Tuesday, NSW Rugby announced it would make 15 roles or 27 per cent of its workforce redundant, while the remainder of the business remains on significant pay cuts for the time being.

Read report

Athlete Relations - Football/Soccer: Chief Executive John Didulica to depart PFA

Professional Footballers Australia (the PFA) Chief Executive John Didulica stepped down from his role at the conclusion of his current contract on 1 July. PFA President Alex Wilkinson paid tribute to Didulica’s devotion to Australia’s footballers and his role in shaping the football industry for professional players during his tenure.

Read PFA statement

Commercial - Tennis: Next year's Australian Open not protected by pandemic insurance

The governing body took out insurance to protect itself from the enormous financial hit a pandemic would inflict on its marquee event, but the policy is expiring. Such coverage is rare for major sporting events but Wimbledon and the Australian Open took out the preventative measure.

Read report