Israel Folau and Rugby Australia’s Code of Conduct hearing - the likely legal arguments
Published 29 April 2019 By: Jack Anderson
On 10 April 2019, Australian rugby player Israel Folau wrote on Instagram that hell awaits “drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters.” Rugby Australia subsequently announced that Folau’s comments breached the game’s Code of Conduct (the Code) and, having previously warned Folau about his behaviour on social media, that they would now be seeking to terminate his four-year contract of employment signed only last year and worth a purported $4million. Folau, exercising his right under the Code, has sought a full Code of Conduct Committee Hearing (the Hearing) of the matter. What are the legal arguments likely to be made at the Hearing, now scheduled for May 4?
In seeking to terminate Folau’s contract, Rugby Australia will not, it appears, be relying on any express or specific term in the player’s contract; rather, their arguments will be premised on the general and standard contractual clause that players employed by Rugby Australia must abide by the Code.1
The preamble to the Code outlines that the underlying idea of the Code is to ensure that Rugby Australia’s “core values [Passion, Integrity, Discipline, Respect and Teamwork], good reputation and positive behaviours are maintained by its players, coaches, administrators, volunteers, parents and spectators…[in a]…safe, fair and inclusive environment for all.”2
More specifically, a key clause within the Code as applicable to players (Part 2, Section 1, clause 1.7) states that players must “Use Social Media appropriately...but do not use Social Media as a means to breach any of the expectations and requirements of you as a player contained in this Code [of Conduct]…”
Examples of related breaches of the Code include clause 1.6, making “any public comment that would likely be detrimental to the best interests, image and welfare of the Game [of Rugby Union]…” and clause 1.8, acting “in a way that may adversely affect or reflect on, or bring you, your team, club, Rugby Body or Rugby into disrepute or discredit.”
In addition, clause 1.3 of the Code is likely to be relevant. It asks players to “Treat everyone equally, fairly and with dignity regardless of gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, cultural or religious background, age or disability. Any form of bullying, harassment or discrimination has no place in Rugby.”
Given the above, Rugby Australia’s argument is likely to be straightforward: Mr Folau’s Instagram post of 10 April breached the Code, being generally at odds with Rugby Australia’s core values and specifically in breach by way of inappropriate use of social media in a public manner detrimental to the best interest of rugby union and otherwise bringing the game into disrepute. Accordingly, given that adherence to the Code is a fundamental term in the player’s contract of employment, Rugby Australia, as the employer, is entitled to seek unilateral termination of the employee’s contract of employment.
In further support of their position, Rugby Australia will point to the fact that they, and in particular the CEO, Raelene Castle, had previously spoken to the player, explaining clearly the nature of his misbehaviour and the consequences of its repetition when, in response to a question – what is God’s plan for gays? - by a member of the public on Instagram in April 2018; Folau had replied: “Hell, unless they repent of their sins and turn to God”.3
Collectively, this means that Rugby Australia will argue that their employee, Mr Folau, was on a warning as to his behaviour on social media but, nonetheless, one year later internationally and with reasonable foreseeability as to the consequences posted similar comments causing reputational damage to Rugby Australia, breaching Rugby Australia’s core values and offending the general public’s sensibilities.
All five of these factors – intention, reasonable foreseeability, reputational damage, the public’s sensibilities and rugby’s core values – are expressly mentioned in Annexure 1, section 1, clause 3.2 of the Code as factors which can be considered in deciding whether the breach of the Code by the player has been at a low, mid or high level.
Rugby Australia has already declared that it is of the view that Folau’s misconduct is at a high level and will likely further argue at the Hearing that termination of contract is the only proportionate sanction given there are aggravating factors in Mr Folau’s breach of the Code.4 Annexure 1, section 3, clause 3.4 of the Code says that in determining the appropriate penalty, the Hearing can take into account any aggravating or mitigating factors, including the player’s previous record and conduct prior to the hearing, any acknowledgement of culpability/wrong-doing or any remorse by the player for the conduct including any steps taken to rectify any wrongdoing.
In this it is of especial interest that on again meeting the player on April 12 last, two days after his most recent Instagram message, Rugby Australia’s CEO, Raelene Castle, specifically stated that Folau “expressed no remorse” for his social media post.5
In summary, Rugby Australia will argue simply that Folau did what they his employer had previously forbid and thus breached his duty as an employee to obey the lawful reasonable instructions of the employer. Rugby Australia will probably not immediately address any potential human rights related arguments (freedom of expression, religious discrimination etc) unless otherwise raised by Folau.
There are likely to be two principal aspects to Folau’s submissions at the Hearing – procedural and substantive unfairness.
Folau’s procedural unfairness points seem likely to be twofold, and both based on a breach of a key maxim of natural justice – the rule against bias (nemo iudex in causa sua - no-one should be a judge in his own case). On the first point, Folau may argue that ever before a Hearing was arranged, Rugby Australia had prejudged its outcome by declaring that it would seek to terminate his contract of employment.6
Rugby Australia can easily rebut this by stating that they have acted in all times in strict compliance with the reporting, complaint handling and investigation provisions in the Code (Part 3, sections 7-9) and 9). In this, Rugby Australia will contend that their approach is on par with the norms of any sports disciplinary process: their integrity unit has collated and reviewed the evidence against the player; they think that a sufficient case has been made out against the player; they have recommended what they think is an appropriate sanction in the circumstances; which the player can either accept or contest at a full, merits hearing.
Folau has exercised his right to a full hearing. Although under the Code, such Hearings “should be conducted with as little formality and with as much expedition as permitted by the nature of the matter” (Annexure 1, section 2, clause 2.2(b)(ii), there is a recognition within the Code that Hearings must at all times be underpinned by the principles of nature justice “in order to assist in providing procedurally fair and uniform disciplinary procedures for alleged breaches of the Code.” (Annexure 1, section 1, clause 1.1).
In Annexure 1, section 2, clause 2.2 of the Code, the key principles of procedural fairness are all laid out in admirably plain and succinct language:
due notice of the charges against the player; burden of proof (balance of probabilities);
right to representation;
allowance for experts and witness evidence;
a final decision that must be timely, written and reasoned;
guidance on sanctioning; and,
a right of appeal.
Indeed, in this regard the procedures surrounding Rugby Australia’s Code of Conduct is a template other sports might well adopt as the Code appears clearly, on paper at least, to be fully in line with that other fundamental tenent of natural justice - audi alteram partem (the right to a fair hearing).
Moreover, the “on paper” adherence to fair procedure in the Code will undoubtedly be adhered to “in person” at the Hearing given the eminent authority and impartiality of the appointed panel7. The hearing will be chaired by John West QC, a leading barrister in the area of industrial relations and employment law. Rugby Australia’s appointment is Kate Eastman SC whose areas of practice include employment, discrimination, human rights and professional conduct law and tribunals and who specialises in “complex workplace and human rights disputes”. John Boultbee, an experienced sports administrator, has been appointed by the Rugby Union Players' Association as the third panel member. Mr Boultbee was formerly Secretary General of the International Rowing Federation, Director of the Australian Institute of Sport, currently high-performance director at Volleyball Australia and a member of the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The Hearing Panel’s experience portrays an adherence to the implied element of natural justice at such tribunals: the more serious the consequence for the player; the more tightly the sport must wrap its hearing in procedural fairness.
One possible, residual aspect of procedural unfairness might relate to the comments of the Australian national men’s rugby team coach, Michael Cheika. Responding to media queries ever before the Hearing date was set, Cheika expressed his surprise at Folau’s repeat behaviour and stressing that “the team is king”:
“We had a discussion after the last time and made it pretty clear about his right to believe and our support in that, if that's what he wants, to be part of the team. But getting it out in that disrespectful manner publicly is not what our team is about. When you play in the gold jersey we represent everyone in Australia, everyone. Everyone that is out there supporting us, we don't pick and choose."8
Further, and in response to a direct question as to whether he would select Folau for the Rugby World Cup in October, Cheika stated: “I think as it stands right now, considering what I just said you wouldn’t be able to.”
In some ways, the comment is unsurprising and Cheika is merely reflecting the attitude of his immediate employer, Rugby Australia, towards a player who is currently suspended and whose availability for the Australia for the World Cup later in the year is in doubt. Rugby Australia’s Director of Rugby, Scott Johnson, has subsequently expressed similar views, referencing the fact that, former Wales international Gareth Thomas, had confided in him before coming out as rugby’s first openly homosexual player.9
And yet, if Folau succeeds at the Hearing, he will become immediately available for selection for his club and his country and given his current form and record – as Australia’s leading try scorer in Super Rugby – he would be an automatic first choice for both the Waratahs and the Wallabies, based on playing form alone.
Cheika and Johnson may then be faced with a situation they have to pivot from – i.e. from saying that they’d rather not select Folau again, to, effectively, having to select Folau again.
Might it not have been better for Rugby Australia simply to advise Cheika, Johnson and Folau’s teammates - some of whom have expressed a reticence to ever play with Folau again; others who are more conflicted10 – to have remained silent pending the outcome of the Hearing? This is not to doubt the above parties’ personal sincerity on this issue – and the repugnancy with which Cheika, Johnson and others hold Folau’s views are shared by this writer – more to suggest that it might be better to hold those view in abeyance pending the outcome of the Hearing.
An interesting analogy here is that which occurred during the ball-tampering affair in Australian cricket in March 2018. Pending an investigation by Cricket Australia’s integrity unit, the CEO of Cricket Australia, despite huge media pressure, would not describe what had happened as “cheating”, as James Sutherland sought to avoid any accusation of prejudicing the investigation and ultimate disciplinary outcome.11
Folau’s substantive unfairness points also seem likely to be twofold – one based on an interpretation of the Code and one, possibly, on human rights or discrimination law.
Interpretation of the Code of Conduct
On the first element, Folau’s argument may be that phrase “use social media appropriately” in Part 2, section 1, clause 1.7 of the Code is of such ambiguity that it gives an unfettered discretion to the employer and thus leaving any employee who uses social media forever uncertain as to potential breaches of the Code. Put another way, Folau may argue that the phrase is overly subjective, and its scope left to be defined at the whim of the employer. Equally, Folau might argue on a contra proferentem basis (i.e. interpretation against the draftsman) that the ambiguity, and the lack of express objective criteria as to what exactly might constitute inappropriate use, means that any interpretation of that part of the Code should read in his favour.
One associated argument here is that Rugby Australia and a number of prominent Australia internationals used social media to express their support for the country’s same sex or marriage equality referendum in the second half of 2017. At the time Folau stated on social media that in line with his religious beliefs he would be voting no in the postal plebiscite.12 Accordingly, Folau may argue that, although as an organisation Rugby Australia felt it appropriate to take a definitive and public stance on a particular social issue of public importance, in respect of which there are strongly held and diametrically opposed views amongst members of the public, he is not afforded the same freedom.
In making this lack of reciprocity argument, Folau may be well contend that the clause in the Code (Part 2, section 1, clause 1.3) which mandates that a player treats everyone “equally, fairly and with dignity regardless of gender or gender identity, sexual orientation etc…”, also applies to Rugby Australia administrators (Part 2, section 3, clause 3.2) and mandating respect for the “ethnicity, cultural or religious background etc” of everyone involved in rugby.
Further, Folau may argue that in the year prior to the disputed Instagram post of 10 April, he posted (all publicly accessible) 52 times on Instagram, of which 43 had a religious theme and some of which were quite confronting in imagery. For example, in the hours prior to the disputed Instagram message he had been on Twitter condemning Tasmania’s seminal decision to legislate gender optional birth certificates, by stating that “the devil has blindsided so many people in this world, REPENT and turn away from your evil ways.”13
In sum, Folau might argue that when it comes to its social media policy, Rugby Australia is allowing itself to arbitrarily decide when and to whom that element of the Code applies.
Rugby Australia’s reply here is likely to be crucial. With regard to the marriage equality referendum, Rugby Australia may highlight the substantive/qualitative difference between:
expressing a view on a national exercise of democracy (whether as an individual or an organisation), and
posting an message of the disputed nature, which targets a particular group(s) in society.
They may well also counter that Folau’s activity on social media is evidence of their respect of his right to hold such views and practice them in private but have only reacted now (as they did in April 2018) because his views have manifested themselves in a way that targets homosexuality and sexual orientation in a derogatory manner. Consequently, Rugby Australia will contend that, in light of its core value of inclusivity and the player’s repeated breach of the Code on social media, its recommended sanction is justified and proportionate.
Human Rights and Discrimination Law
This is a complex area of law and the potential arguments here can only be briefly summarised in general principle. Folau may argue that what has happened to him enlivens at least two fundamental human rights relating to freedom of expression and religion. This section concentrates on the latter because central to this whole affair is Folau’s faith.14 He is a member of the Assemblies of God, a Pentecostal Church movement, whose central believe is in a literal interpretation of the Bible as an accurate, authoritative reflection of God’s Word, applicable to followers’ day lives.
The quote from the Bible that Folau based his disputed Instagram post on was as follows:
“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these , adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21 KJV”
Australia does not have a federal bill of rights and neither does the state in which the Hearing is to be heard (New South Wales) but Australia has ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Article 18 of the ICCPR states (in part):
1. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.
2. No one shall be subject to coercion which would impair his freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice.
3. Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health, or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others…”
Article 18(1) of the ICCPR – freedom to have or to adopt a religion etc – is an absolute right which cannot be limited. In contrast, Article 18(3) of the ICCPR – freedom to manifest one’s religion etc – can (similar to the right of free speech contained in Article 19 of the ICCPR) be qualified in ways that are “prescribed by law” and purse one of the legitimate aims listed in Article 18(3) - namely, public safety, order, health or morals or the fundamental rights of others - and are “necessary” to pursue that legitimate aim and are then implemented in a manner that is in line with the principle of “proportionality” in international human rights law.
In a general sense, Folau may argue that Rugby Australia’s actions breach his right to freedom of religion. In support of this, Folau may seek to refer to the UN Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief (the Religion Declaration) which expands on the guarantees provided in Article 18 of the ICCPR. Article 6 of the Religion Declaration, for instance, lists some of the elements of the freedom to manifest a religion or belief, including the freedom to assemble for worship, freedom to use the articles and materials related to the rites or customs, freedom to write and disseminate publications and freedom to teach the religion.
A point that might be made here by Folau is that in the text accompanying the disputed Instagram post of 10 April, not only did he quote the part of the Bible on which he based his views but that he also says that “those that are living in Sin will end up in Hell unless you repent. Jesus Christ loves you and is giving you time to turn away from your sin and come to him.” This, he might argue, is him exercising his right or freedom to manifest, disseminate and teach his religion.
In contrast, Rugby Australia may counter that the qualifications they have placed on Folau’s freedom to manifest his religious beliefs are legitimate, necessary and proportionate taking into account that Folau’s views undermine another fundamental right and do so in a material way – the right not to be discriminated against because of one’s sexual orientation, as protected under sections 2 and 26 of the ICCPR.
In sum, the point of contention is, as is often the case in human rights law, a matter of conflicting rights and to quote Anthony Whealy, former NSW Supreme Court judge:
“These are very difficult concepts about which reasonable minds might differ. Even Rugby Australia’s inclusion policy is not without its difficulties. Clearly the intent is to whole-heartedly “include” the gay community in the rugby movement. But is its intention to "exclude" traditional Christian and other religious beliefs?”15
Although, as outlined above, Australia has international legal obligations to protect the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, there is only limited protection of that right in Australian domestic law. Most notably, and at the federal level, Australia has no constitutionally entrenched bill of rights. At the federal level, a person who suffers discrimination in employment on the basis of religion has two options.
First, that person can make a complaint to the Australian Human Rights Commission. Under the Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986 (Cth), the Commission, and usually by way of conciliation, implements Australia’s human rights obligations under the International Labour Organization Convention (No 111) concerning Discrimination in respect of Employment and Occupation and it also has investigatory powers relating to acts or practices by or on behalf of the Commonwealth or under a Commonwealth enactment which may be inconsistent with Articles 18 or 26 of the ICCPR or the Religion Declaration.
Second, under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), employers are prohibited from taking adverse action against an employee or prospective employee on the basis of a number of specified protected attributes, including religion (s351(1)); and terminating an employee’s employment for reasons including their religion (s 772(1)(f)).
At the state and territory level in Australia, human rights charters and specific anti-discrimination laws of each state and territory may assist individuals who feel that their right to freedom of religion has been breached. In the state of Victoria, for example, discrimination on the grounds of religion is prohibited under the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic) and religious vilification under the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act 2006 (Vic) as supported by Article 14 of the Victorian Human Rights Charter on freedom of religion. An individual complaint in Victoria can pursue a matter with the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission.
The Folau Hearing is to take place in New South Wales. That state does not have a bill of rights and the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW) does not specifically protect religion, though it does prohibit discrimination on the ground of “ethno-religious origin” in sections 4 (definition of “race”) and section 7. The term “ethno-religious” appears ambiguous but was discussed recently in detail in Ekermawi v Nine Network Australia Pty Limited  NSWCATAD 29, in which there was an allegation by the applicant that comments made by a daytime TV presenter in the wake of a terrorist attack in Nice in 2016 was a breach of section 20C of the NSW Discrimination Act on racial discrimination. Specifically, the case centred on comments by the TV presenter suggesting that there was “a correlation between the Muslim population of certain countries and the number of subsequent terrorist attacks”. ‘
A key preliminary issue was whether Australian Muslims, or Muslims living in Australia, were a group that has an ethno-religious origin. The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal answered in the negative and the application was dismissed. In the event that this matter and the NSWCATAD’s reasoning are debated at the Folau hearing – that Rugby Australia’s actions are discriminatory towards Mr Folau on grounds of his ethno-religious origin – it is noteworthy that one of the Panellists, Kate Eastman SC, represented the respondents in the Ekermawi hearing.
Finally, Folau may not have to rely on anti-discrimination law or human rights law to make his point in this regard. In the preamble to Rugby Australia’s Member Protection Policy, it is stated that “This [the Member Protection Policy] along with Rugby AU’s Code of Conduct, form the basis of appropriate and ethical conduct which everyone involved in rugby must abide by”.16 In clause 7.3.3 of its Member Protection Policy, Rugby Australia is committed to prohibiting “all forms of harassment and discrimination”. In clause 7.3.1 of the Member Protection Policy, Rugby Australia defines unlawful discrimination as involving “less favourable treatment of a person on the basis of one or more of the personal characteristics protected by state or federal anti-discrimination laws.” The Member Protection Policy specifically lists the “personal characteristics” it sees as protected by anti-discrimination laws (in the definitions section of the Member Protection Policy): similar to NSW law it lists ethno-religious origin; it also goes on, however, to include “religion, religious beliefs or activities”.17
In short, a key element of Folau’s case may not just be a defence of his alleged breach under the Code but to counter it by alleging that Rugby Australia has breached its own Member Protection Policy.
Pursuant to Annexure 1, section 3, clause 3.3(a), the Hearing Panel is entitled to impose such sanction(s) as it deems fit on Mr Folau ranging from a caution, warning as to future conduct, or reprimand; to a fine and/or compensation orders; to a suspension for a specified number of matches or period of time (including from all rugby related activities); to a withdrawal of other benefits of membership with the Rugby Body or Rugby AU; and/or any combination of the above or such other sanction as may be appropriate. Interestingly, Rugby Australia’s proposed sanction (termination of contract) is not specifically mentioned though presumably, it is encompassed under the last two options mentioned above.
If Folau does not succeed at the Hearing, he has a right to appeal under the Code (Annexure 1, section 4, clause 4.2) on any of the following grounds: the decision was wrong in fact or in law and/or the sanction imposed was manifestly excessive. Possible points of argument here remain speculative, though it is possible that when it comes to sanction he may argue that Rugby Australia’s contention that his failure to show remorse is an aggravating factor justifying termination of his $4million dollar contract is an untenable and unreasonable position to hold given that his views are premised on his religious beliefs and/or as an effective life ban from the sport is otherwise disproportionate.
On exhausting his internal remedies, Folau may well decide to pursue the matter in the ordinary courts either on an anti-discrimination/religious freedom in the work place cause of action that engages human rights law (“unfair dismissal”) or using similar arguments but couched in the language of a private law cause of action i.e., that Rugby Australia’s Code of Conduct process resulted in an outcome that has had a prejudicial and detrimental impact on his reputation and has otherwise unreasonably restrained his right to pursue a livelihood (“unfair outcome”). An example of the latter is currently being argued at the Federal Court in Australia where a professional rugby league player, Jack de Belin is seeking various remedies against the National Rugby League pursuant to its policy to stand down players, who are facing serious criminal charges, from NRL games pending the outcome of the criminal trial.18
If Folau succeeds at the Hearing, Rugby Australia will be in a position where it either has to deconstruct its social media policy in a very prescriptive manner or simply have to tolerate social media posts of a similar vein by the player into the future. It also would have to deal with a situation of having a player that it wanted to sack and who the national coach would prefer not to select and with whom others may not want to work with again, returning to his place of employment for both club and country. And this hints at a point hitherto underplayed in this whole affair.
The concept of mutual trust and confidence between employer and employee is of relevance in a situation such as this - the possible reinstatement of an unfairly dismissed employee. Put simply, employment law jurisprudence recognises that there is little point reinstating a worker unless the parties will be able to work with mutual trust and confidence in each other into the future in a viable, productive way.19 In this instance, and given the unique employment environment of sport, where to quote Michael Cheika, the team is king – it seems reasonable to suggest that even if Folau succeeds in the Hearing, it is most unlikely that he will play again for the Wallabies or even the Waratahs. If Folau wins, a financial settlement based on the balance of the contract is likely, allowing Folau the full-time player to become Folau the full-time preacher.20
Reviewing the Australian new media, the Folau hearing has already, and admittedly sometimes tangentially, engendered debate on the law of religious freedom in Australian federal and domestic law; on how to reconcile conflicting human rights; on when free speech might become hate speech; on codes of conduct in the workplace and including online.
In a specific sports law sense, the Folau hearing has already engendered debate on athletes freedom of expression on matters of conscience, religion and political thought and including mention of Eric Liddell (the Flying Scotsman’s refusal to run the heats of 100 meters at the 1924 Olympics as they were held on a Sunday); Peter Norman’s role during the Black Power salute at the 1968 Games; Muhammad Ali refusing the Vietnam draft and being stripped of his world heavyweight titles at the height of his career; the highly conservative views of Australia’s Margaret Court, whose Grand Slam tennis record Serena Williams still chases; Derry-born footballer James McClean refusing to wear the poppy on his jersey for various teams in English football; Colin Kaepernick and subsequent settlement of a collusion case against his employment in the NFL; and Ethiopia’s Feyisa Lilesad holding up his crossed wrists as if they were shackled as he took marathon silver at the Rio Olympics of 2016.
The debate has widened to include the attitude of players from other codes and countries who “liked” Folau’s posts on social media, devout Christian such as Saracens’ rugby player Billy Vinupola and AFL player, Gary Abblett of Geelong. The Folau affair asks us to reflect once again on the status of professional sports participants as role models and whether such as status should have any influence on how such players are disciplined. It also prompts questions as to why there are so few openly gay players at the highest levels of sport and especially male team sports.
Finally, the likely legal arguments in the Folau hearing have been broadly sketched here, but the eventual outcome will need deeper reflection. For now, the Folau hearing illustrates that occasionally issues first debated under the nomenclature “sports law” can enliven disputed principles of law in a way that better informs their subsequent application in so-called “mainstream” areas of law.
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- Tags: Australia | Australian Human Rights Commission | Dispute Resolution | Employment | Human Rights | International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights | RA Code of Conduct | Regulation | Rugby Australia | Rugby Union
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Jack Anderson is Professor and Director of Sports Law Studies at the University of Melbourne. The sports law program at Melbourne was one of the first to be established globally in the mid-1980 and continues to expand at the Melbourne Law School, which itself is ranked in the top 10 law schools globally.
Jack has published widely in the area including monographs such as The Legality of Boxing (Routledge 2007) and Modern Sports Law (Hart 2010) and edited collections such as Landmark Cases in Sports Law (Asser 2013) and EU Sports Law (Edward Elgar 2018 with R Parrish and B Garcia). He was Editor-in-Chief of the International Sports Law Journal based at the International Sports Law Centre at the Asser Institute from 2013 to 2016.
Appointed as an arbitrator to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in 2016, he became a member of the inaugural International Amateur Athletics Federation’s Disciplinary Tribunal and the International Hockey Federation’s Integrity Unit in 2017. In 2018, he was the sole CAS arbitrator at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, Australia. In 2019, he was appointed to the International Tennis Federation’s Ethics Commission. He is currently chair of the Advisory Group establishing a National Sports Tribunal for Australia