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Sports Law Ledger - Monday 9 March 2020

Updated: Mar 9, 2020

Hello sports law fans. Here's a rundown of the latest news, updates, and alerts in our wonderful wide world of sports law:


Governance - AFL “coronavirus working group” & concussion on agenda

Coronavirus, concussion, Tasmania and the future of AFLW are all on the agenda for this week’s meeting of AFL club chiefs. Presidents and chief executives of the 18 clubs will convene for lunch with AFL heavyweights including chief executive Gillon McLachlan and chairman Richard Goyder on Tuesday.

Integrity - NRL player Scott evades 'no fault stand down' rule

The National Rugby League (NRL) has advised the Canberra Raiders that player Curtis Scott will not be subject to the No-Fault Stand Down. Scott's charges carry a maximum 5 years imprisonment and do not qualify for an automatic No-Fault Stand Down.

Integrity - Australian women's cricket prize money a game changer

The T20 World Champion Australian Women's Cricket Team win US$1 million, converting to AU$$1.5m. Cricket Australia will tip in an extra US$600,000 to bridge the pay gap between the winners of the men's tournament, for a total prize package of US$1.6m / AU$2.4m.

Dispute Resolution - Sports Club sends letter of demand to Sport Australia

The prospect of a Federal Court challenge over the sports rorts affair has increased after Maurice Blackburn Lawyers sent a formal Letter of Demand to the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) on behalf of the Beechworth Lawn Tennis Club.

Major Events - Italy exempted from travel ban prior to F1 Grand Prix in Melbourne

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the coronavirus threat lingering over Melbourne's Formula One Grand Prix did not impact his decision to exempt Italy from a travel ban placed on three other countries despite infection rates surging by up to 40 per cent. Formula One chief Ross Brawn had warned if the Italian-based Ferrari team was subject to travel restrictions, the race - which costs the Victorian government more than $60 million to host - would have to be cancelled.

Commercial - Sponsors pile in to women's sport

The growing corporate interest in women’s sports, and the broadcasting of their tournaments on major networks and popular streaming services, is reflective of the increasing appetite from consumers. A 2018 survey by Nielsen across eight national markets, including Australia, found that 84 per cent of sports fans are interested in women’s sports.

Commercial - New player set to enter fight for Australian sports broadcast rights

London-based DAZN (pronounced 'Da Zone'), an over-the-top streaming platform similar to Kayo Sports, has announced plans to expand into more than 200 countries - a dramatic move considering it only operates in nine currently.

Ethics - McKenzie distances herself from Sports Rorts claims

Former sports minister Bridget McKenzie has rejected suggestions she changed a list of sporting clubs earmarked for Commonwealth funding after Parliament was dissolved for the 2019 election, and the Federal Government was placed into caretaker mode.


Governance - Indian Wells Tennis Tournament Canceled Because of Coronavirus Outbreak

The Riverside County Public Health Department has declared a public health emergency for the Coachella Valley, California, after a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) locally. As a result, the 2020 BNP Paribas Open will not take place at this time due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus and the safety of the participants and attendees at the event.

Governance - 'Culture of fear' found at British Canoeing

British Canoeing has now published the key findings and recommendations, but says legal advice prevents the full publication of the report.

Concussion - Amended high-tackle rules led to huge drop in player concussion rates at 2019 Rugby World Cup

The new high-tackle framework introduced by World Rugby before last year’s Rugby World Cup, produced a notable decrease in the average number of concussion incidents at the tournament compared to across the elite game in 2018; the number of tackle-related concussion incidents per 1,000 player hours dropped by 37% at the World Cup compared to the previous year, while overall, concussion incidents dropped by 28%.

Governance - 'Shocked' F1 teams threaten legal action over FIA/Ferrari

In a joint statement issued by the non-Ferrari powered teams, they all said they were "shocked" and "surprised" by the governing body's decision to reach a secret agreement with the Maranello based team over the matter.

Governance - Coronavirus ban existential threat to EFL clubs

As the UK Government prepares to hold a crisis meeting with sports bodies and broadcasters on Monday to discuss the coronavirus epidemic, it has been warned that lower-league football clubs could be forced out of business and grass-roots charities severely damaged.

Governance - Calls for FINA overthrow

One of swimming's most experienced Olympic coaches, Australian Bill Sweetenham, has called on the global swimming community to rise up and overthrow the sport’s international governing body, FINA, and its long-time executive director, Cornel Marculescu, before the Tokyo Olympics.

Integrity - Platini loses FIFA ban appeal at European human rights court

Michel Platini has lost his appeal at the European Court of Human Rights to overturn a four-year ban from soccer for taking a $2 million payment from FIFA. The seven judges unanimous declared Platini’s application was inadmissible.

Integrity - TAS-CAS denies athletes access to an effective remedy on gender discrimination

The CAS released an award in a case requesting a women 50k race walk event for Tokyo 2020 Olympics; Inês Henriques, Claire Woods, Paola Pérez, Johana Ordóňez, Magaly Bonilla, Ainhoa Pinedo, Erin Taylor-Talcott & Quentin Rew v. IOC (CAS 2019/A/6274). Antoine Duval, Head of the Asser International Sports Law Centre, said this decision (supported by previous case-law) protects the IOC from judicial review at CAS by adopting a (very) narrow understanding of who can rely on Rule 61.2 of the Olympic Charter.

Integrity - Super Agent Jorge Mendes' homes searched in money laundering investigation

The Portuguese attorney’s office has confirmed it conducted dozens of searches on Wednesday in connection withits investigation into tax evasion and money laundering at some of the country’s biggest clubs, as well as the super-agent Jorge Mendes. The latest stage of 'Operation Fora de Jogo (Operation Offside)' involved almost 300 tax and police inspectors from the public prosecutor’s office conducting 76 searches.

Governance - IOC continues working on human rights

HRH Prince Zeid, a former UN High Commissioner for human rights, and Rachel Davis, vice-president of Shift - a leading non-profit centre of expertise on business and human rights - formally presented their joint “recommendations for an IOC human rights strategy”.

Commercial - NBC Sports announce Olympic advertising record for Tokyo 2020 after breaking $1.2 billion barrier

Ninety per cent of available space is said to have been sold with five months to go before the Olympic Opening Ceremony on July 24. This is more than what was sold for the entirety of Rio 2016, while space during the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics has sold out.

Many thanks 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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