Sports Law round-up

The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (‘ASADA’) investigation into the AFL and NRL appears to be continuing, despite the two codes almost commencing their next season since the investigation began. It is unclear what the outcome of this will be, and when an outcome will be achieved. Former Federal Court Judge Garry Downes has been appointed to review the ASADA investigation, including to determine whether charges could be laid in respect of alleged infractions. Click here for an article in the Sydney Morning Herald concerning this appointment.

The CEO of ASADA, Aurora Andruska, is retiring from her position on 9 May 2014. It appears that Ms Andruska’s contract is at an end, and it has not been renewed. There is speculation that this could either put pressure on ASADA to finalise the AFL and NRL investigation before Ms Andruska’s retirement, or it could result in the investigation being prolonged while a new CEO is found. Click here for an article in the Sydney Morning Herald concerning Ms Andruska’s retirement, and the possible impact on the investigation.

In other doping related news, Craig Reedie, the new World Anti-Doping Agency (‘WADA’) president, announced that a new fund from the International Olympic Committee could be used to open up new testing techniques to catch drug cheats, including hair follicle testing. Click here for an article in The Guardian on this.

Before the Sochi Winter Olympics commenced the Sports Law section chairman, Tony Nolan SC, appeared with Simone Bailey on behalf of a respondent in an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (‘CAS’) sitting in Sydney. The appeal concerned two Australian alpine skiiers who were not selected for the team but who wanted to be selected (Rishworth & Anor v Ski and Snowboard Australia Ltd & Ors, CAS 2014/A/3473). The issue was whether the nomination criteria were or were not gender specific. The applicants argued that the criteria were not gender specific, and CAS (comprised of Malcolm Holmes, QC) found that they were. Thus, the appeal was dismissed. Click here for a copy of the decision.

In other Sochi Winter Olympics news, it seems at this stage that the main issue arising from the Sochi Winter Olympics is the state of the amenities, rather than discipline. Perhaps the next monitor’s report will have more on disciplinary issues – but we will have to wait and see.

A British man was charged for allegedly relaying scoring information during a tennis match of the Australian Open. It is alleged that the man was using a device hidden under his clothing during a match allowing him to transmit scores to his employer, a betting agency, faster than the scores could be transmitted through the official channels. He was charged under the new law against corrupting sports betting, the Crimes Amendment (Integrity in Sports) Act 2013. It is alleged that his conduct would be likely to affect the outcome of betting in the Australian Open. Click here for a comprehensive article in the New York Times on this.

In September 2013 I wrote about the arrest of ten people in Victoria concerning alleged match fixing by players at the Southern Stars Football Club. In December 2013 two of the players were convicted and fined for fixing games, and the alleged ringleader also pleaded guilty. Click here for an article from ABC News concerning this.

Match fixing has also proved to be a problem in European football. In December 2013 UEFA expressed publicly its zero-tolerance approach to match fixing after six men were arrested by police for alleged match-fixing. Click here for a video on The Guardian website concerning this.

Sports Law section Tribunal activity

Members of the Sports Law section of CommBar regularly sit on or appear as counsel in various domestic and international sporting tribunals. Examples of what the members of the section, including committee members, have been up to for the last few months include:

  • Tony Nolan SC (chairman) and Simone Bailey appeared in CAS in a selection dispute for the Sochi Winter Olympics.
  • Jason Pennell (secretary) has been active in his roles as the tribunal chairman for the Victoria Athletic League, chairman of an investigative board of Handball Australia and chairman of an appeal tribunal for Australian Fencing.
  • Ben Ihle appeared for ASADA in the AFL Anti-Doping Tribunal and CAS in relation to alleged doping violations by several athletes, and appeared for Danny Corcoran in the AFL Commission concerning the Essendon Supplements Scandal.
  • Simone Bailey acted as an investigator into match fixing allegations for the Football Federation of Victoria (‘FFV’), appeared with Daryl Williams SC on behalf of FFV in relation to a challenge to the implementation of the Victorian National Premier League, and chaired an appeal for the Victorian Athletics League.
  • Andrew Downie (monitor) has been active in his roles as chairman of disciplinary subcommittees for BMX Victoria and Cycling Victoria.

Library of tribunal decisions

The Sports Law section of CommBar is compiling a library of decisions from various tribunal bodies. The Sports Law section calls on the readers of the CommBar newsletter, and members of the Victorian Bar generally, to contribute any written decisions they might have to the section for collation in the library. If there is a concern about confidentiality of a decision, it is suggested that the reader contacts the relevant association to ascertain whether the process and the decision is or is not confidential.

Please send any written decisions to Simone Bailey, the appointed library coordinator, at bailey@vicbar.com.au.

Open attendance at the sports law section meetings

The Sports Law section has regular meetings to discuss sports law issues and the administration of the section. The next meeting is yet to be scheduled but will occur in room 1305 Owen Dixon Chambers West at 1pm. Attendance is not restricted, and anyone with an interest in sports law and associations is welcome to attend. Please contact Jason Pennell (secretary) for an update about when the meeting is to be scheduled.


Andrew Downie – CommBar profile

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