News Sports Law 7th Apr 2020

Sports Law Group Newsletter Spring Edition

Welcome to the Spring edition of the Sports Law Group Newsletter.

Sallie Bennett-Jenkins QC

A note from the editor

Welcome to the Spring edition of the 2 Hare Court Sports Law Group Newsletter.

We are all in uncharted and testing times and absent any engagement with live sport, Chambers have compiled articles on noteworthy, and perhaps in the case of the Marler decision, controversial decisions in sports disciplinary proceedings. In sending out this newsletter, we very much hope that you will enjoy reading the pieces and they provide you with some relief from the rigours of working at home or the home schooling routine.

Brian O’Neill QC and Rebecca Erkan-Bax have conducted an in depth review of sporting films and books to bring you the 2 Hare Court ‘Top 10 Picks’. Do you agree with our selection? Perhaps you could create a similar ‘chart’ for your own firm and email us with your selection. Perhaps even a ‘virtual’ drinks to discuss at some point?

Robert Dacre considers the decision of the Regulatory Commission of the FA and its approach in applications to reduce mandatory suspensions for doping breaches.

David Whittaker QC and Sophia Dower review the decision that England prop Joe Marler should be suspended for a period of 10 weeks following a citing before the disciplinary body for an allegation that he had committed an act ‘against the spirit of good sportsmanship’. A controversial citing perhaps – was it really ‘on field banter’ as suggested by some commentators and players?

Gavin Irwin has provided a topical piece on the adaptation of procedures of regulatory bodies in response to the Covid-19 crisis and also a review of recent anti doping decisions.

If you have any queries about any of the articles or if you would like to discuss them further, by all means contact the authors directly.

If you have any queries about the 2 Hare Court Sports Law Group generally, or would like to instruct one of its members, please contact our Director of Clerking, Julian Campbell.

Keep well all. 

Sallie Bennett Jenkins QC

Sports’ Books & Films: OUR TOP 10

Brian O’Neill QC and Rebecca Erkan-Bax

Whilst it may not be a pre-requisite to love sport in order to practise sports law, for the vast majority of us there is almost certainly some correlation between the two.  So in these troubled times with no games to go to and no live sport to watch on TV the Sports’ Law team at 2 Hare Court brings you our top 10 sports’ books and films.

The list has been compiled following a ballot of all of our number asking each for her / his top three sports’ books and films.  We would like to be able to tell you that everyone’s votes were accorded equal weight, but in every organisation there is no accounting for (poor) taste, so one or two members’ views have been deliberately ignored; after all, who, apart from….

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Reduction of mandatory suspensions for doping breaches: the strange case of Dr Johnson and the FA

Rob Dacre

The Regulatory Commission of the FA has published its reasons in the case of FA and Dr Andrew Johnson. The case is significant for two reasons: it shows the operation of Regulation 7 of the FA Anti-Doping Regulations in practice, and it sheds light on the Regulatory Commission’s approach to applications to reduce mandatory suspensions for doping breaches.

Dr Johnson was the part time doctor for Bury FC during the 2018/2019 football season. In April 2019 he provided fraudulent information to the Anti-Doping Organisation in the form of an application for a retrospective Therepeutic Use Exemption (“TUE”) for a player that had been falsely backdated. He did this – by his own admission – to cover up the fact that….

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“New balls please”: Joe Marler takes the dark arts of rugby a step too far

David Whittaker QC and Sophia Dower, who secured the convictions of two football agents and a former assistant head coach, consider the inter-relationship between the FA Regulations and the Bribery Act 2010. 

The Incident

On 7 March 2020, England played Wales at Twickenham Stadium in the Six Nations Rugby Championship, winning 33 points to 30.  During the first half of the match, England’s prop forward Joe Marler was seen to grab the genitals of Wales’ captain, Alun Wyn Jones. Although this incident went unnoticed by officials during the game, Marler’s actions were made subject of a citing complaint by the independent citing commissioner following the conclusion of the game.

The citing complaint alleged that Marler had infringed rule 9.27 of World Rugby’s Handbook which states that:

“A player must not do anything that is against the spirit of….

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Doping and Arbitration in the time of Covid

Gavin Irwin

The global public health emergency has caused the cessation of ‘in-person’ hearings at courts and tribunals all over the world.  Until business as normal is resumed, or the new abnormal can be identified, here is a review of some covid developments and immediately pre-covid decisions.

  1. Athletics Integrity Unit (‘AIU’)

The AIU conducts anti-doping testing in more than a hundred countries around the world. One might have been forgiven for thinking that, given the near complete cessation of competitive sport (first came the football, finally fell the Tokyo 2020 Olympics), the immediate need for….

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