Duty of Care in Sport: Making the case for a Sports Ombudsman in the UKJack Anderson Neil Partington
The first of the seven priority recommendations to be found in Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson’s Duty of Care Review of UK Sport (2017) proposed the establishment of a Sports Ombudsman. The suggestion for such an office had been made by the authors at the consultation phase of the Review.
This article sketches out how, in ensuring that national sports governing bodies discharge their duty of care, this Ombudsman might work, the scope of its jurisdiction and the enforcement of its recommendations.
Various models are suggested with the emphasis on an accessible, athlete-centred and fully accountable approach to dispute resolution in UK sport. Of particular interest will be the suggested “maladministration” model, which, if ever acted upon, would give a Sports Ombudsman extensive powers of oversight and redress over UK sport and which might, if successful, provide the model for an independent, athlete-accountable, international sports ombudsman’s office.
Specifically, the piece looks at:
The Duty of Care Review and the recommendation for a Sports Ombusdman;
The role of Ombudsman elsewhere;
How might a UK Sports Ombudsman Work?
Advocacy and advice - the United States Olympic Committee’s approach
An enhanced Independent (Football) Ombudsman
The maladministration model
The investigatory model
The need for a preventative remit and accessibility
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About the Author
Jack Anderson is Professor and Director of Sports Law Studies at the University of Melbourne. He has published widely in the area of sports law including The Legality of Boxing (2007),Textbook on Sports Law (2010), Leading Cases in Sports Law (2013) and EU Sports Law (2017). He is a Chartered Arbitrator and, having previously been an arbitrator with the GAA, FAI and Just Sport Ireland, he is currently a mediator/arbitrator for Sports Resolutions UK and the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
He supports Doon, Limerick, Munster, Ireland and Watford FC and, yes, he looks like Paul Scholes.
Neil is currently working towards a PhD at the School of Law, Queen’s University Belfast, having previously completed a Masters in Legal Science (Queen’s University), an MSc in Sport Science (Miami University, Ohio), and a BA(Ed) in Physical Education (University of Exeter). Neil’s present teaching includes undergraduate Torts Law, Sports Law and Sport & Exercise Fitness.