Sports Law Ledger - Tuesday 9 June 2020

‪Catchup on the latest sports law, integrity, and commercial news, updates, and alerts (copyright remains the property of respective owners):


Racism - 'We're still not there yet': Clarkson backs Wingard's fight

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson says Chad Wingard is passionate about fighting racism and has backed his player's stance to avoid conducting interviews. Wingard has taken to social media to reveal his thoughts about the protests in the United States over police brutality towards African-Americans.

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Integrity - Sport Integrity Australia launches website

Sport Integrity Australia is a new agency bringing the Commonwealth's sports integrity workforce together. From 1 July 2020, the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA), the National Integrity of Sport Unit (NISU) and the national integrity programs of Sport Australia will join forces to become one entity providing national coordination and streamlined support to sports.

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Integrity - Australian Rules Football: Police probe ongoing as AFL clears Cat over stabbing incident

A Victoria Police investigation into the stabbing of Geelong's Jack Steven remains ongoing, however the midfielder has been cleared of any wrongdoing by the AFL. Exact details as to what caused the incident remain unknown. 

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Integrity, Anti-Doping - Rugby League: Star's $700,000 payout: The story Paul Gallen didn't want you to read

In recent weeks, with few knowing, the Sharks were forced to make a payment of about $700,000 to Gallen. Why? So he didn’t sue them for what took place in 2011. Information given to the Sydney Morning Herald's Danny Weidler is that Gallen could have got a lot more if he had pursued legal action.

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Integrity, Anti-Doping - 'Farcical': Drug testers the only exception to AFL's strict quarantine rules

The AFL is unable to force the drug testers to be tested for the coronavirus and cannot stop them entering the clubs, despite it being at odds with the league's own strict rules negotiated with federal and state governments as part of the return to play provisions. The AFL has no authority over ASADA testers, as they belong to a federal government body, and as a WADA signatory, the league must comply with the authority's testing protocols.

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Integrity, Governance - Cricket: Melbourne Renegades' chief to report to Melbourne Stars' chief

Both the Stars and the Renegades have seen enormous upheaval since they played off in the BBL grand final in 2018 at Docklands in Melbourne. The two clubs had their boards (led by Eddie McGuire and Jason Dunstall) dissolved and their chief executives - Clint Cooper and Stuart Coventry respectively - made redundant ahead of the previous season. Almost A$1 million was spent on management exit packages as per Cricket Victoria's annual report.

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Governance - 'Financial disaster': Community sports hit out at government plan on return dates

Community sport bosses in NSW have been angered by the state government's proposed return date for junior sport, arguing a date for senior competitions is also needed for clubs to survive. On Tuesday, the state government announced a July 1 community sport restart date for those aged 18 years and under but did not provide a date for senior competitions.

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Governance, Athlete Relations - Cricket: Australian players reject Cricket Australia's forecast of cash-strapped future due to coronavirus

The Australian Cricketers Association (ACA) wrote to the players saying it had no confidence in Cricket Australia's figures. According to the ACA, Cricket Australia (CA) is expecting revenue to fall by 48 per cent, from $461 million to $239.7 million for 2020/21, with a further 20 per cent reduction in 2021/22, from $484 million to $385.5 million.

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Governance, Athlete Relations - Cricket: Players set to fight if Cricket Australia projections are not 'reasonable'

While players will learn their retainers for 2020/21 in one-on-one contract meetings, as well as where they are ranked among those who have also won national deals, it is a number CA is scheduled to provide that may determine whether or not the game devolves into another major dispute.

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Governance, Athlete Relations - Rugby Union: Queensland Reds to seek compensation for loss of Izack Rodda, Isaac Lucas, Harry Hockings

The disgruntled Reds will pursue transfer fees of more than $100,000 for developing Izack Rodda, Isaac Lucas and Harry Hockings because of their shock exit from contracts.

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Governance, Commercial - Football/Soccer: Darwin makes history as team sport spectators return

The Northern Territory's men's and women's Premier League made history after becoming the first sport in Australia and possibly the world to welcome back spectators since COVID-19 restrictions.

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Governance, Commercial - Women’s sport can emerge as the winner from this sporting hiatus

“We don’t want just the same old delivery model that started a hundred years ago. It’s time to be new and modern and innovative.” - Dr Bridie O’Donnell

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Governance, Commercial - Rugby Union: Rugby Australia's financial pain felt widely but not shared universally

About 40% of RA’s staff have gone in one swinging of the axe but such is the importance of the Wallabies, not everyone has been affected.

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Governance, Commercial - Australian Rules Football: AFL clubs risk misleading fans, breaking law by mixing membership benefits with charity

AFL clubs trying to convert membership payments into tax-deductible gifts are at risk of breaching federal consumer and tax law, and supporters could be left bearing the cost, experts have warned.

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Governance, Commercial, Venues - Australian Rules Football: How the AFL used its biggest asset to tackle Covid-19 financial woes

Four years ago, the AFL took something of a gamble by purchasing the Marvel Stadium, in what has proved a prescient move. Under the agreement that governed the construction and operation of the stadium, the AFL was entitled to take ownership of it in 2025 for a nominal A$30 fee. In October 2016, the league agreed to pay A$200m to take control of the management rights and freehold ownership from the super fund and institutional owners, nine years early.

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Governance, Employment - Football/Soccer: A-League expansion clubs taken to court by former employees

The A-League's two newest clubs are being sued by former workers, each of whom are alleging to have suffered mental health damage as a result of their employment and are seeking tens of thousands of dollars in damages

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Governance, Animal Welfare - Horse Racing: Independent panel launches comprehensive review of racehorse welfare

The treatment of racehorses at abattoirs and what to do with animals that no longer race will form part of a review aimed at producing a new welfare framework for the racing industry.

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Commercial, Venues - Australian Rules Football: MCG tenant clubs get multi-million-dollar windfall

Collingwood, Melbourne, Richmond, Hawthorn, Carlton and Essendon will each receive home game payments estimated at between $150,000 and $200,000 per match for the remainder of the shortened season.

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Commercial, Venues - Rugby League: NRL considers stadium ownership opt