Sports Law Ledger - Monday 7 September 2020

(Image may be subject to copyright)

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 - Sports Integrity & Governance Partners (SIGPA) established to serve Australian and international sporting organisations and government agencies

Established by sports integrity experts, Iain Roy and Dale Wood, SIGPA is a collective of some of Australia’s leading sports integrity and governance experts, supported by a network of carefully selected corporate service providers who offer niche integrity and governance services. Together, the SIGPA Consultants offer a “one-stop-shop” to help sports build transformational integrity and governance capability and provide ongoing support to bring this capability to life.

Read media release

Integrity - Why COVID cost-cutting could create next sandpaper-gate

The man who investigated the infamous Australian cricket sandpaper scandal, Iain Roy, has warned financial cuts to integrity units – due to COVID-19 – leaves our nation’s various sporting codes at greater risk of corruption.

Read report

Integrity - Rugby League: Nick Weeks' exit will cost the NRL in integrity 

But integrity, in the eyes of the NRL collective, is a many-headed beast. The trick with integrity is that it is ultimately an exercise in judgement, exercised under intense scrutiny. It is therefore subjective and, in the NRL, is always viewed through the lens of competitive equality – your club/player was treated better than my club/player. In that respect, the role of the NRL’s chief of integrity is no different to referees, although match officials do have a rule book.

Read report

Read NRL media release

Integrity - Australian Rules Football: AFL investigates woman's allegations against Sydney Swans player

The AFL is aware of serious allegations made against a young Sydney Swans player, Elijah Taylor, involving the woman who was involved in his breach of Covid-19 protocols. Taylor, 19, is suspended for the rest of the 2020 season after his partner entered the Swans’ accommodation in Perth last month when she was not authorised to do so. The same woman on Saturday made a series of allegations against Taylor via social media.

Read report

Integrity - Australian Rules Football: Richmond AFL players arrested after late-night brawl given 10-match suspension and sent home

The two Richmond players arrested after a late-night altercation outside a strip club on the Gold Coast, Sydney Stack and Callum Coleman-Jones, have been handed 10-match suspensions and will be sent home from the club’s base in Queensland for breaching the league’s strict Covid protocols. The club has been fined $100,000 for the breach – $75,000 for this offence, which the players will pay, and a further $25,000 that was the suspended amount from a previous breach. $100,000 will be included in Richmond’s 2021 soft cap.

Read report

Read club media release

Integrity, Member Protection - Canoeing: Sports minister Grant Robertson says abuse allegations in elite canoe racing 'concerning'; athletes call for independent investigation

Several former management, support staff and High Performance service providers embedded in the Canoe Racing New Zealand (CRNZ) programme back the athletes’ claims. Six of the nine members of the 2017/18 women’s high performance squad have quit the team in the past 18 months, effectively wiping out an entire tier of talent from the sport, leaving New Zealand short on options for the women’s K4 team for next year’s Tokyo Olympics.

Read report

Integrity, Member Protection - AIS and NEDC Call For Eating Disorder Awareness

The AIS have released the AIS-NEDC Disordered Eating in High Performance Sport position statement and supporting resources. The position statement provides the ability for sporting organisations to appropriately address poor self-image and body image among high-performance athletes, with the release of a toolkit of resources.

Read report

Read AIS position statement

Integrity, Member Protection - Katia Alexandrovskaya: Olympic figure skater's death sparks reform

Australia’s three peak sporting bodies have created a working party with Sport Integrity Australia (SIA) and the National Sports Tribunal (NST) to develop an “independent framework” to deal with abuse, intimidation and other safeguarding issues in Australian sport.

Read report

Integrity, Member Protection - Demand to tackle online racism after attacks on footy stars

Prominent Australians have called on Attorney-General Christian Porter to increase penalties for online racism following recent attacks on Indigenous footballers, saying the eradication of race-based vilification is essential for reconciliation.

Read report

Integrity, Member Protection - MMA: Jessica Lindsay Muay Thai death prompts WA coroner's warning over culture of combat sport

The inquest was told she had undertaken an extreme "weight cutting" program before she was due to weigh in for an amateur fight. Coroner Sarah Linton said Ms Lindsay's death was "tragic" and highlighted the need for cultural change in the sport.

Read report

Integrity, Anti-Doping - Drug Free Sport New Zealand asks for more from WADA

Drug Free Sport New Zealand (DFSNZ) Chief Executive Nick Paterson has joined other national anti-doping organisations in calling for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to go “further and faster” with reforms to improve governance, independence and transparency, and to ensure athlete representation on WADA’s Foundation Board and Executive Committee.

Read DFSNZ media release

Integrity, Anti-Doping - Rugby League: 'Cheats will be caught': NRL issues warning after Xerri's positive B-sample

The NRL has warned "players who cheat will be caught" after Bronson Xerri returned a positive B-sample to a prohibited substance, but the governing body is confident there is not an underlying drugs culture at Cronulla or throughout the game.

Read report

Read NRL media release

Integrity, Match Fixing - Horse Racing: World-first harness racing integrity study

The effects of corrupt activity, perceptions of corrupt activity and of integrity interventions in harness racing have been explored in a study commissioned by Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) and conducted by the Melbourne Law School on behalf of the University of Melbourne.

Read study

Governance - Rugby League: Andrew Abdo appointed NRL CEO

The Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) today appointed Andrew Abdo as Chief Executive Officer of the National Rugby League (NRL). Mr Abdo, who was appointed Interim CEO in April, joined the NRL in 2013 and most recently served as Chief Commercial Officer. 

Read media release

Governance - Rugby League: On Its 125th Birthday, Rugby League Needs To Go International To Keep Itself Relevant

The 16 clubs that make up the NRL are, of course, concerned with the welfare of the NRL and their clubs within it, and international games represent a chance for their valuable employees to get injured for no (short term) gain to themselves.

Read report

Governance, Contracts - Rugby League: The clause that threatens to divide Dragons on coaching saga

Complicating the matter is a little-known part of the Dragons’ constitution set in stone when St George and Illawarra formed a joint venture in 1998 in the aftermath of Super League. Just as there needs to be a unanimous vote to change the club’s name, colours and emblem, there must also be universal agreement on the coach.

Read report