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Addressing Participant Welfare And Safeguarding Issues In Sports Disciplinary Investigations

Addressing Participant Welfare And Safeguarding Issues In Sports Disciplinary Investigations
Monday, 11 January 2021 By Richard Bush

Anyone who is the subject of a disciplinary investigation will, almost inevitably, be placed under a degree of stress. The exact degree of stress in each case will obviously vary depending on a number of subjective and objective factors, including the individual’s circumstances and characteristics (e.g. his/her sensitivity, age, maturity and understanding of the disciplinary process), the support available to the participant, the seriousness of the alleged conduct under investigation, the seriousness of the potential consequences to the individual if that conduct is later proven, and so on.

This is all as true in sport as it is in any other disciplinary context, although a participant’s stress in a sports case might be exacerbated if there is public/media interest in his/her case.

This article considers:

  1. the importance of participant welfare and safeguarding in conducting disciplinary investigations;
  2. practical considerations in addressing participant welfare and safeguarding during disciplinary investigations in respect of:
    1. all participants;
    2. participants with identified physical and/or mental health issues;
    3. child participants; and
  3. the desirability of making provision for participant welfare and safeguarding in advance.

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Written by

Richard Bush

Richard Bush

I am an experienced and practically minded sports lawyer, working as a partner in our Media, Entertainment & Sports Group at Bird & Bird in London.

Having trained and qualified at a major city firm, I began my career as a sports lawyer in 2011, working as an in-house lawyer at The FA. In 2014 I went back into private practice with a highly respected boutique sports law firm, before joining the market-leading practice here at Bird & Bird in 2016.

As a consequence, I have experience of advising a wide range of sports organisations (including national and international governing bodies, event organisers, clubs, and rights-holders) across a wide variety of legal issues. I have developed a deep understanding of the wider practical challenges faced by such organisations.

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