Last week a referendum in the United Kingdom saw a majority vote in favour of leaving the European Union. While the vote is only advisory – any legal implications will likely take at least two years to occur – the financial markets have already taken a severe hit and the political mood is one of uncertainty. So what does the vote mean for the sporting world? We have a look at some of the key areas of impact, with a sports law slant.
The anti-corruption tsar explains why he’s the man to lead the energetic anti-corruption organisation operating from Qatar.
Michael Hershman boasts a résumé that reads like an anti-corruption instruction manual. If there was ever anyone born to lead the fight against corruption, Hershman’s achievements suggest he’s it. A former US Military counter-intelligence officer, he served on the Senate Watergate Committee which investigated the world’s most notorious cover-up, before helping co-found the global anti-corruption think-tank, Transparency International. His achievement list is long and plentiful.
On the day of an independent review commissioned by Cricket Australia into the death of international batsman Phillip Hughes, an investigation by The Sports Integrity Initiative has learnt that the governing body of cricket in South Africa will introduce a concussion substitute policy into its domestic first-class competition. Earlier today Cricket Australia announced that it too would formally propose a concussion substitute be allowed in first-class matches.
New President, new FIFA?
The election of Gianni Infantino has brought with it hopes of a fresh start for the beleaguered international governing body of football. Yet despite the promises of a clean break, there is much from FIFA’s past that remains to be resolved, not least the whereabouts of the now infamous FIFA Executive Committee of 2010, whose votes handed Russia and then Qater the hosting rights for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups…
Transparency International (TI), a non-governmental organisation that monitors and publicises corporate and political corruption in international development, published its much anticipated Global Corruption Report: Sport earlier this week. According to TI, the report ‘sets out a roadmap of reforms that international sports organisations (ISOs) should implement in order to restore public trust in sport’.
A who’s who guide of the candidates in the 2016 FIFA Presidential election…
In November last year The Sports Integrity Initiative published a feature piece probing into the scarcity of women found in the top jobs of sporting administrations, including those in FIFA. Later this month the election for the top job, the President of arguably the most powerful sporting institution in the world, will take place with, currently, five contenders – all male – battling it out for the top job. Of these five, only Jérôme Champagne was willing to discuss the issues. Former Presidential candidate David Ginola was another keen to put forward his vision.
Over the past few years the fight for equality between the sexes in sport has been gaining momentum. Arguments in favour of increased investment, sponsorship and media coverage in women’s sport are now being heard on multiple platforms and the efforts to implement appropriate practices are increasing.
While the on-field fight is an important one, an area in which less fanfare is made, but in which there is arguably even greater inequality, is the one found behind the scenes, beyond the glamour and glare of the spotlight – those of the sports administrators. Traditionally these roles draw little attention anyway; a smooth operation should appear as though there isn’t an administration in place at all. However with the onset of the FIFA corruption scandal, the administration of the world’s most powerful sports governing body has tumbled headfirst into the limelight.
Cricket is unique. It is considered the world’s second most popular sport. Yet, unlike football, some of the biggest countries in the world – the USA, China, and Germany for instance – barely know it even exists. Earlier this summer the FIFA corruption scandal made headlines the world over and it was the US’s Department of Justice who were the instigators of legal action against those involved. In cricket, the actions of the game’s administrators are less obvious, less accountable. It is for this reason that the film, Death of a Gentleman, is so integral to drawing attention to the game’s administration. The film’s producers claim that ‘a lack of independent regulation means cricket is being run in a way that fans become chequebooks and players become pawns.’ The Sports Integrity Initiative, an independent sports law platform created to air key issues in sports integrity and to provide a platform for change, has reviewed the film to highlight the integrity and governance aspects of the sport.
The Swiss Federal Office of Justice (FOJ) today confirmed that at the request of US authorities, the Zurich Cantonal Police have arrested six ‘soccer’ officials in connection to bribery allegations, who have been detained pending extradition to the US. ‘The FOJ’s arrest warrants were issued further to a request by the US authorities’, read an FOJ statement. ‘The US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York is investigating these individuals on suspicion of the acceptance of bribes and kick-backs between the early 1990s and the present day. The bribery suspects – representatives of sports media and sports promotion firms – are alleged to have been involved in schemes to make payments to the soccer functionaries – delegates of FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) and other functionaries of FIFA sub-organisations – totaling more than US$100 million. In return, it is believed that they received media, marketing, and sponsorship rights in connection with soccer tournaments in Latin America. According to the US request, these crimes were agreed and prepared in the US, and payments were carried out via US banks.’