Sports governance - the year in review 2019/20
As with any review of 2019/2020, the unprecedented public health and economic crisis and trauma associated with the Covid-19 pandemic globally must first be acknowledged. While at first instance, the concerns of the industry, business and law of sport seem, and are, small compared to that being suffered in wider society, the impact of the pandemic on sport will be felt for quite some time and particularly in terms of finance, participation and, to a certain extent, upon the governance of sport.
With regard to the immediate impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on sport, some analogy can be drawn to what sport encountered in 2008 on the occurrence of the last global financial crisis (GFC). Commenting on that crises, the investor Warren Buffet equated the GFC to the tide going out for many businesses and that when it did go out, and stay out, it was quickly revealed who had been swimming naked all along.
Similarly, Covid-19’s impact on the capacity of sports leagues globally to hold and broadcast their competitions meant that the financial dependency many sports had on such sources of income was starkly revealed. The accompanying impact in terms of sports governance was, at least in the author’s base Australia, that a number of CEOs of leading sports bodies (rugby union and league for example) resigned and the decision-making of such sport’s executive boards came under significant scrutiny.
The correlation between good governance practice in a sport and its capacity to meet the unprecedented challenges presented to sports of all kinds by the pandemic, will be one of the learnings and future reflections for sport. This article is confined to happenings in sports governance over the past year or so and, after a brief note on compliance and monitoring, reviews the 2019/2020 season in sports governance by way of three case studies, namely:
- US Olympic & Paralympic Committee;
- UK Athletics; and
- International Paralympic Committee.
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- Tags: Australia | Council of Europe | Covid-19 | England | Governance | International Olympic Committee (IOC) | International Paralympic Committee (IPC) | Northern Ireland | Olympics | Regulation | Sport England | UK Athletics | UK Sport | US Olympic & Paralympic Committee | USA | Wales Scotland
About the Author
Jack Anderson is a Professor of Law at the University of Melbourne where he teaches criminal law, the law of torts and sports law.
Jack has published widely in the area of sports law and 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). 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. He is Honorary Member of the Centre for Sports Law, Sports Policy and Sports Diplomacy, University of Riejeka, Croatia and an external examiner at the University of Malaya.
An accredited workplace mediator and a Chartered Arbitrator, (CArb). Jack is an arbitrator on the international panel for Sport Resolutions UK and World Athletics’ Disciplinary Tribunal. Jack is a member of International Hockey Federation’s Integrity Unit and a founding member of the Asia Racing Federation’s Anti-Illegal Betting Taskforce. In Australia, Jack sits on the disciplinary tribunal of the Football Federation of Victoria and for Basketball Australia. In 2019, Jack was appointed by the Victoria government to the Board of Harness Racing Victoria. He is Vice-President of Gaelic Games Victoria.
From 2016-2019, he was a member of the Court of Arbitration for Sport and appeared on the list of arbitrators of the CAS Ad hoc Division for the UEFA EURO 2016 (European football championships). He was the sole CAS arbitrator at the Commonwealth Games in 2018. In 2019, he was appointed to the International Tennis Federation’s Ethics Commission and was asked by the Australian government to chair the advisory committee to prepare for the establishment of a national sports tribunal. In 2020, he was appointed as a member of the National Sports Tribunal of Australia.