BASL 21st Annual Sports Law Conference

Published 04 September 2013

This is the British Association for Sport and Law’s (BASL) first blog for LawinSport.  BASL is a professional association representing sport law practitioners, sports administrators and sports law academics and students.  The BASL Board of Directors will use this blog to post regular updates on BASL's activities domestically and internationally, and to offer and debate their views on the key legal developments in the world of sport.

This first blog is posted hot on the heels of the announcement of the BASL 21st Annual Sports Law Conference on 17 October 2013 at The Emirates, Arsenal FC.  The conference boasts one of the strongest programmes of recent years covering some of the most pressing legal and commercial issues being debated in sport: the ever-evolving threat of match fixing to the essential fairness of sport, the new Premier League financial regulations, and the collective selling of media rights to sports events.

BASL is also particularly pleased to welcome American Sports Lawyers Association (SLA) Board members Don Fehr and Jeff Gewirtz following the warm reception given to BASL Board member and Chairman of Sport England, Nick Bitel, at the hugely successful SLA conference earlier this year.

To discuss match fixing, we will be joined by Rick Parry, former CEO of the Premier League and Liverpool FC and author of the 2010 report into sports betting integrity, Paul Scotney, former Director of Integrity Services, Compliance and Licensing at the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) and founder of an integrity unit seen as the blueprint for investigating corruption in sport, and Ian Smith, COO of the Federation of International Cricketers Association.  The panel will consider how football, horse racing and cricket have developed complex counter-corruption strategies and co-operation agreements with other enforcement agencies to detect and respond to the numerous opportunities for match fixing in their sports, and the continuing battle to protect the integrity of sport from those who seek to subvert it.  The on-going investigations in Spanish football, the charges brought by the ICC in relation to an alleged conspiracy within the Dhaka Gladiators franchise to engage in match fixing and spot fixing during the 2013 Bangladesh Premier League, and the BHA's successful prosecution of jockey Eddie Ahern and former Chelsea and West Bromwich Albion defender now owner Neil Clement for corruption offences, represent only a few of the recent challenges faced by the administrators of these sports.

The new Premier League financial regulations will be examined by Jane Purdon, Governance Director of the Premier League and one of the architects of the regulations, Don Fehr, Executive Director of the US National Hockey League Players Association, and Trevor Birch of BDO LLP, who has served as chief executive of Chelsea, Leeds United, Everton, Derby County and Sheffield United.  The regulations limit club losses and player wage increases and are of particular interest in their inaugural season, not least in light of the complaints lodged with the European Commission and the Court of First Instance by agent Daniel Striani in relation to the UEFA financial fair play regulations.

And turning to the commercial exploitation of sports events, Ian Ayre, MD of Liverpool FC, Jeff Gewirtz, Executive Vice President of Business Affairs and Chief Legal Officer for the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center, and Francisco Roca Pérez, former CEO of La Liga, will consider who the winners and losers are when sports rights are collectively sold.  This issue is currently generating significant debate in light of the proposed new law in Spain which would oblige clubs to negotiate the sale of television rights collectively.

Finally, shortly before the conference, BASL will announce the much anticipated 'hot topics' session to close the event.  The panel will include, among others, William Bock, General Counsel to the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), and one of the chief protagonists in USADA’s exposé of the Lance Armstrong doping scandal.

With former Royal Ulster Constabulary Chief Constable and Chairman of the ICC’s Anti-Corruption and Security Unit Sir Ronnie Flanagan and Olympic Gold Medallist Katherine Grainger CBE headlining the conference as keynote speakers, BASL is looking forward to another excellent event.  

To book your place at the conference click here.

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