Summer’s almost over, pre-season has begun for most winter sports and amateur sporting clubs are hounding players for registration fees.

What is often overlooked in the madness of a new season of winter sports are the rules and regulations that govern the rights and responsibilities of all participants – including, but not limited to, players, coaches, club officials, volunteers and parents.

A number of important questions concerning the governance of semi-professional, amateur and junior sport go unanswered before the winter season kicks off.

What can I do?

Before you pay your (or your child’s) registration fees, ask yourself the following:

  • Does my chosen sport operate under national guidelines, enforced by a national governing body?
  • Does my sport have a code of conduct? If so, who does it apply to?
  • Does my sport have a safe-play code?
  • Does my sport have a grievance or complaints procedure?
  • Is my club aware of its responsibilities under any policies or codes which govern the sport, and has the club ever communicated those policies to club members?
  • Has my club got appropriately trained and qualified officials?
  • Where can I access any important policy and procedure documents?

If you can’t answer any of the questions above or you don’t know where to find the appropriate information to do so, you should contact a club official from your chosen sport immediately. Alternatively, check your club’s website or call the local organising body.

A lack of understanding of the rights and responsibilities of participants involved with community sport is one of the primary reasons people find themselves in unexpected trouble with their club, a local governing body, national governing bodies, or even the police.

Clearly identifying your rights and responsibilities as player, coach, club official, volunteer, parent or otherwise is essential in ensuring that your involvement with sport is positive, safe and reoccurring.

Disciplinary Process & Procedures

If you are the subject of any disciplinary procedures or breaches of any relevant code be sure that you understand the exact nature of any allegation or breach directed against you. Be sure that you are given appropriate access to any documentation, witness accounts or interview transcripts that might be used against you at a disciplinary committee hearing.

Make sure your club is aware of any allegation or charge directed against you. Your club should be able to assist you and ordinarily will have primary responsibility for dealing with any grievance or complaint.

Under most of the disciplinary policies that are in place for winter sport you are entitled to legal representation and assistance throughout the disciplinary procedure.

Griffin Legal has extensive experience in representing individuals and clubs in disciplinary proceedings. If you would like to discuss your situation or would like to inquire about our services, please contact Tom Atallah at Griffin Legal on (02) 6198 3100.

The Australian Sports Commission – Mandatory Governance Principles

The Australian Sports Commission (the ASC) released the Sports Governance Principles in 2002 (revised in 2007 and 2012) as a response to the increased importance of governance practices in the performance of sporting organisations. In 2013, seven highest funded sports were required to comply with the Mandatory Sports Governance Principles (the Principles). In 2015 the …
Read more

Essendon, AFL, ASADA and WADA – what is it all about?

Yesterday the Court of Arbitration for Sport handed down its Panel decision in World Anti-Doping Agency v. Thomas Bellchambers etc al., Australian Football League, Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (CAS 2015/A/4059). This post is a brief explanation of what has gone on in this disappointing saga of Australian sport involving one of the oldest and most …
Read more

Brumbies in Crisis

At what point does it become obvious that an organisation is in crisis and that urgent action is required. The litany of governance issues which have beset the Brumbies organisation in the last 12 months reads like a fiction story.  That these are real events in the history of a great organisation is a demonstration …
Read more