Last week, the Australian government released its response to the Wood Review into integrity in Australian sport stating that it is supportive of the recommendations provided in the Review and committed to ensuring Australian sport is protected against the growing threats to integrity.
The Australian government’s response includes:
- plans for a new national sports integrity commission, to be named Sports Integrity Australia;
- the establishment of the National Sports Tribunal, the powers of which we have previously discussed;
- the signing of the Macolin Convention to facilitate information sharing between Australian sporting agencies and their European counterparts; and
- additional investment in Australian Sports Anti-doping Authority (ASADA) and the Sports Betting Integrity Unit (SBIU).
The Australian government’s response comes off the back of integrity-related incidents at various levels throughout Australian sport, which includes the Australian cricket team’s ball tampering scandal, match fixing in the Victorian Premier League and tennis players seeking to break into the top level of the sport.
Sports Integrity Australia will ultimately merge the functions of ASADA, the National Integrity of Sport Unit and the national sports integrity arm of Sports Australia. Sports Integrity Australia will act as a single point of reference for all sports integrity stakeholders in managing the existing and emerging integrity-related issues in sport.
Whilst it is encouraging for all sports to have a one-stop shop available to them, it is important that sporting organisations and other stakeholders continue to seek legal advice when implementing proposed practices and directions published by Sports Integrity Australia to ensure the desired outcomes are achieved.
The signing of the Macolin Convention will allow Australian sporting agencies to utilise the information of their European counterparts to target match-fixing and corruption within Australian sport. Australia is the first non-European signatory to the Macolin Convention. The additional investment in ASADA and the SBIU is aimed to ensure that stakeholders, including law enforcement and sporting organisations, respond where match fixing or doping in sport is indicated.
The Australian government’s response is likely to be felt throughout sporting organisations and stakeholders and will provide support to a number of niche sports which previously may not have had established bodies in place with broad reaching powers to address issues of integrity within that sport.
We will continue to monitor the development and implementation of Sports Integrity Australia, the National Sports Tribunal and the SIBU.