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

Commercial - Rugby League: $15m stock crash: Broncos shares plummet amid dramas on and off field

About $15 million has been wiped off the market value of the Brisbane Broncos in just over two-and-a-half years as poor on-field performances, off-field dramas and the coronavirus outbreak have led to the listed company’s stock price plummeting. The share price has nosedived on the back of a six-game losing streak and renewed questions about the appointment of coach Anthony Seibold.

Read report

View stock price

M&A - Rugby League: NFL-linked interest in buying Manly

There are stories swirling that a group with links to the NFL is looking at buying into the Manly club. The current NFL interest is understood to be from Florida. Manly Sea Eagles owner and Chairman, Scott Penn, spends much of his time in New York, where he is happy and has started a new family.

Read report

Sponsorship - Rugby Union: BRC Capital commits as Major Partner of Rugby in Victoria

Melbourne-based investment incubator fund, BRC Capital, has been announced as a new Major Partner of the Melbourne Rebels on a five year agreement. The unique partnership will see the BRC Capital logo take pride of place on the front of the Rebels jersey for the upcoming Vodafone Super Rugby AU season and provide benefits through to community Rugby across Victoria.

Read club statement

Major Events - Official Netball World Cup 2027 bid submitted

Netball Australia has taken its next step towards hosting Netball World Cup 2027 in Sydney by today submitting its official bid to the International Netball Federation. Marking what will be Netball Australia’s 100th anniversary, Netball World Cup 2027 will bring together 16 nations for 10 days of exhilarating netball action and deliver lasting benefits to netball through event experiences, community engagement and legacy initiatives.

Read report

Gambling - Australian Sports Wagering Scheme - Discussion Paper closes 17 July 2020

Following the Commonwealth Government’s response to the Wood Review, the Sports Integrity Taskforce, located within the Department of Health, was charged with developing a sports wagering regulatory response to safeguard the integrity of Australian sport, in the form of an Australian Sports Wagering Scheme (ASWS). This Discussion Paper aims to provide a starting point for a collaborative process to developing the options for the ASWS to be assessed in the Regulatory Impact Statement.

Read Discussion Paper & take online survey


Integrity - Amendments to the Rules of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS)

The CAS have issued amendments to the Code of Sports-related Arbitration, effective 1 July 2020, including:

  • making Spanish the third working language of the CAS

  • CAS Secretary General’s title is now Director General (DG)

  • introduction of ICAS e-meetings & voting

  • introduction of e-filing

  • 10-day extensions decided by CAS DG

Read CAS statement

Read CAS Code of Sports-related Arbitration, effective 1 July 2020

Integrity - Crowne Calls For Caribbean Sports Court

Internationally regarded sports lawyer, Dr Emir Crowne, is advocating for the creation of a regional sports court to settle disputes involving Caribbean athletes, as he feels that costs associated with taking cases to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) is not possible for most athletes from the region.

Read report

Integrity, Member Protection - UK: Sexual Offences (Sports Coaches) Bill been published

UK MP, Tracey Crouch, introduced a Bill to amend the Sexual Offences Act 2003 to make sports coach a position of trust for the purposes of child sex offences. The next stage for this Bill, Second reading, is scheduled to take place on Friday 11 September 2020.

Read Sexual Offences (Sports Coaches) Bill 2019-21

Integrity, Member Protection - ‘Athlete A’ Producer on Larry Nassar and the ‘Abusive Culture’ of Gymnastics

One of the film’s producers, Jen Sey, once a champion gymnast, now chief marketing officer at Levi Strauss: "I hope that young women see the film and know that they can believe in their own experience. That they won’t doubt, if they experience abuse, and think they are to blame. I hope that they have the courage and conviction to speak up when something isn’t right. I hope they understand obedience and silence is not the answer."

Read report

Watch 'Athlete A'

Integrity, Member Protection - You’ve seen ‘Athlete A.’ How do you watch Olympic gymnastics now?

Rachael Denhollander, ex-gymnast, abuse survivor, lawyer: "Money, medals, reputation, status — they value something else more than protecting the children in their care. Larry [Nassar] was not the problem. He was a symptom. Say we walk away from the next Olympics with a bunch of gold medals. At what cost? The bodies and souls of little girls that are emotionally, verbally, sexually and physically broken. Can we win if we stop abusing? I think you can with a healthy coaching environment. But what if you can’t, just in theory? What if we sacrifice prowess in the athletic world for a non-abusive world? I say that’s a win."

Read report

Integrity, Member Protection - South Korean triathlete takes own life after suffering abuse from coaches

South Korean triathlete Choi Suk-hyeon has taken her own life after enduring years of physical and verbal abuse from her coaching staff. According to reports, numerous complaints the 22-year-old made to sporting authorities in the country were ignored.

The Korean Sport and Olympic Committee (KSOC) has claimed an investigation into allegations Choi's complaints were not followed up on and that authorities had attempted to cover them up had begun.

Read report

Information on what to do when you feel suicidal & how to help others

Integrity, Match-Fixing - Ice Hockey: Match-fixing suspensions in Belarus

The IIHF has issued multiple provisional suspensions to seven ice hockey players from Belarus and Russia, for their participation in a match-fixing violation during a league game of the Belarus Extraliga Championship.

Read report

Integrity, Corruption - Football/Soccer: Adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee sanctions Markus Kattner

The investigation into Markus Kattner, former FIFA Deputy Secretary General and Acting Secretary General covered various charges concerning bonus payments in relation to FIFA competitions that were paid to top FIFA management officials (including Mr Kattner), various amendments to and extensions of employment contracts, reimbursement of private legal costs, and Mr Kattner’s duties as an official.

Read FIFA statement

Integrity, Corruption - Extraordinary prosecutor appointed to examine allegations against Infantino and Swiss attorney general

Stefan Keller, President of Switzerland’s Supreme Court and the Administrative Tribunal of the Canton of Obwalden, has been appointed to the role. Keller is set to "examine the criminal complaints transmitted to the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) by the Presidents of the Federal Council", the OAG said.

Read report

Integrity, Anti-Doping - World Anti-Doping Agency responds to report (and threat to withdraw funding) by the US Office of National Drug Control Policy

"The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was deeply disappointed to read the United States Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Report regarding WADA funding that it submitted to the U.S. Congress on 17 June and that was made public."

Read WADA's response

Integrity, Anti-Doping - iNADO backs US call for strengthening of WADA governance after ONDCP report

The Institute of National Anti-Doping Organisations (iNADO) has backed calls for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to have more independent members and greater participation of athletes in the decision-making process.

Read report

Read iNADO press release

Integrity, Anti-Doping - WADA publishes its Five-Year Strategic Plan under the theme ‘Leading Anti-Doping in a New Era’

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) published its Five-Year Strategic Plan, which lays the foundation for WADA’s strategic activity for 2020-2024 as the Agency is ‘Leading Anti-Doping in a New Era’. The Strategic Plan was agreed by WADA’s Executive Committee (ExCo) when they met virtually on 15 May 2020; and, was subsequently approved unanimously by the Agency’s Foundation Board by circulatory vote.

Read WADA release

Read WADA's 2020-24 strategic plan

Integrity, Anti-Doping - IPC publish revised Anti-Doping Code after establishing independent hearing panel

The organisation says the revised code features minor changes, which have been brought about by the creation of the panel. The panel will comprise of IPC appointed officials who possess the necessary skills and experience, the IPC said.

Read report

Read IPC Anti-Doping Code, effective 1 July 2020

Integrity, Anti-Doping - Athletics: London Marathon winner handed four-year ban for missing drugs tests and ‘fraudulent conduct

In January, Wilson Kipsang, who won bronze at the 2012 London Games, was charged with tampering for providing falsified photographic evidence to explain one of his whereabouts failures.

Read report

Integrity, Governance - IOC, Interpol and UNODC show the way in placing integrity at the core of post-covid-19 sport

A new paper, published jointly by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), INTERPOL and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), addresses the current health crisis and the action required by those involved in tackling corruption in sport and preventing the manipulation of competitions, in particular sports organisations and governments.

Read report

Read full paper

Integrity, Governance - Athletics: World Athletics condemns RusAF for failing to pay $5m doping fine

World Athletics president, Sebastian Coe, has said the Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF) is falling “well short of expectations” after confirming that the world governing body has not received the payments due as part of sanctions imposed due to the country’s doping scandal.

Read report

Governance - India: In pursuit of good governance - analysing the main points of conflict in India’s draft Sports Code

Three years ago, the Government of India formed an expert panel to draft the National Code for Good Governance in Sports 2017 (NCGGS 2017). The Code is currently in limbo as key stakeholders continue to disagree on what it should contain. A 'Law In Sport' article by Joshua McLeod and Shaun Star analyses three of the main points of dispute in the NCGGS 2017.

Read article

Governance, Discrimination - American Football: Washington Redskins to undergo thorough review of team's name

The Washington Redskins announced Friday that the team will undergo a thorough review of the team's name. The announcement comes less than 24 hours after FedEx, the company with naming rights to the team's stadium, requested the Washington Redskins to change the team's name. It also was reported Thursday that a group of 87 investment firms and shareholders signed three separate letters to Nike, FedEx and PepsiCo to terminate relationships with the team unless it changed its name.

Read report

Governance, Discrimination - Baseball: MLB's Cleveland Indians considering name change

'The recent social unrest in our community and our country has only underscored the need for us to keep improving as an organization on issues of social justice. With that in mind, we are committed to engaging our community and appropriate stakeholders to determine the best path forward with regard to our team name.'

Read team statement

Governance, Diversity - Clare Connor: My presidency proves MCC's new commitment to diversity

Clare Connor pronounced being named president of Marylebone Cricket Club as the honour of her life after becoming the first woman to hold the role in its 233-year history. “It’s absolutely top of the pile,” said the former England captain, who led her country to their first Ashes triumph in 42 years in 2005, is now the ECB's managing director of women’s cricket, and has been awarded an MBE, OBE and CBE for her services to the game.

Read report

Governance, Stakeholder Management - Rugby Union: How Covid-19 pandemic has caused rugby to engage in a frenzy of backbiting and duplicity

Back in April, there was a genuine belief that the Covid-19 pandemic would foster a greater spirit of cooperation and collaboration among rugby’s main stakeholders in facing down the financial crisis and calendar refit.

Read report

Governance, Athlete Relations - American Football: NFLPA board votes to recommend canceling all preseason games this year

An NFL Players Association source said Friday that the union's board of player representatives had voted to recommend scrapping all 2020 preseason games. The matter came to a vote during Thursday evening's conference call with NFLPA player reps, and the source said the vote was unanimous.

Read report

Governance, Athlete Relations - Rugby Union: Manu Tuilagi can make claim against Leicester for compensation, says lawyer

“If [the club] wants to impose a wage cut that would be a repudiatory breach,” said Richard Cramer of Front Row Legal. “The players can stay within the club, there is no requirement to actually leave, and then if there’s a shortfall of wages they can take that to a tribunal. Or the players can accept the breach, walk out of the club and then they are free to join any other club they wish with a duty to mitigate their loss. And then if there’s a financial shortfall the players can make a claim for compensation.”

Read report

Governance, Athlete Relations, Commercial - Football/Soccer: FIFA fines Arsenal over sell-on clauses for player transfers

Arsenal was fined 40,000 Swiss francs ($42,300) by FIFA and warned about its conduct regarding player transfers after the club used variable sell-on clauses that were found to give it influence over other clubs.

Read report

Governance, Commercial - Football/Soccer: Wigan Athletic: Administration is a 'major global scandal' says MP

On Wednesday Wigan entered administration just weeks after the club changed owners. Local MP Lisa Nandy has called for a full inquiry into the circumstances surrounding Wigan being placed in administration and says the club are the victim of a "major global scandal". Nandy made the comments in a letter to Oliver Dowden, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Read report

Governance, Commercial - Football/Soccer: Wigan Athletic 'scandal' could accelerate EFL reform of owners’ and directors’ test

Wigan Athletic’s administration “scandal” is likely to accelerate the English Football League’s plans to overhaul the controversial owners’ and directors’ test. The embattled Championship club’s administrators have launched an investigation into claims aired by Rick Parry, the EFL chairman, that their financial crisis is linked to a bet on the club being relegated this season.

Read report

Commercial - Motor Sport: McLaren's Formula One future was never a doubt

The National Bank of Bahrain announced on Monday a 150 million pound ($184.26 million) financing facility for the McLaren Group, which includes the team and supercar manufacturer. Bahrain’s sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat Holding Co is McLaren’s majority shareholder.

Read report

Media Rights - Golf: Fox Sports ending $1.2 billion US Open golf deal

There were seven years left on the contract between Fox Sports and the USGA. Fox’s rights are expected to shift to NBC, which will produce this fall’s US Open. The original deal was for nearly $100 million per year.

Read report

IP, Disputes - Nike, Michael Jordan are sued for $30m over '6-Point' star logo

Nike Inc and basketball legend Michael Jordan were sued for at least $30 million on Monday by a New Jersey man who said they used his “6-Point” star logo without permission on apparel at the 2020 National Basketball Association All-Star Game weekend.

Read report

Sports Tech, Data, Privacy - The Story Behind the Ring That Is Key to the NBA's Restart

In an attempt to mitigate the silent spread of COVID-19 by flagging potential onset symptoms, the NBA has partnered with Oura to provide rings to players in Orlando.

Read report

Sponsorship, Gambling - Gambling sponsorship on football shirts in England must be banned to protect children, says Lords committee

In a 192-page special inquiry on the gambling industry, the committee called for all the £350 million shirt sponsorship deals held by half the Premier League clubs to be phased out immediately. It also set a 2023 deadline for the 17 of the 24 Championship teams to ditch them.

Read report

Read Lords committee report and recommendations

Gambling - Bellagio error may be biggest sportsbook loss for Vegas

The nearly quarter-million dollars in winning wagers reportedly placed at MGM Resorts last Sunday might be the largest sportsbook loss in Las Vegas history on bets made after an event has started. Among the bets was a $250, 10-leg parlay that paid more than $137,100. The Nevada Gaming Control Board is reportedly investigating the matter. Anytime there is a dispute in excess of $500, the state’s books are required to contact the board, which conducts an investigation and makes a ruling the books must abide by.

Read report

Sports Law Know How - India: The Sports Law & Policy Symposium 2020

The Sports Law & Policy Centre, Bengaluru, India, is an independent think-tank focused on interdisciplinary research, scholarship, education and institutional support for public and private enterprises in areas relating to the legal, policy and ethical issues affecting amateur and professional sports in India. The Centre comprises of professionals with extensive knowledge and experience of working in the sports ecosystem in India.

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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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