Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Integrity In Sport: Doping, Betting & Contractual Risk Management

Sporting organisations have been holding high-level meetings about the risks that doping - and especially new forms of betting – present to sport. The Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) last week initiated a series of discussions with other sporting organisations in order to ascertain what action they are taking in this area. USA Today reports that tennis’ governing bodies are expected to soon name an independent panel designed to analyse the risk of match-fixing. Former Senator George Mitchell released a report this week accusing several Major League Baseball players of using steroids and human growth hormones. UK Sport has announced plans for an independent National Anti-Doping Authority (NADO), which will manage doping tests for UK sporting organisations. Meanwhile, The Guardian reports that Dame Elizabeth Neville, former Chief Constable of Wiltshire, will lead a review of sport governing bodies’ ‘integrity processes’.

As you would expect, sporting organisations are keen to protect their sport from being tarnished by association with doping or betting, however there is also a commercial angle to addressing these issues. Sporting organisations are concerned with protecting their revenue, raised largely through television and sponsorship agreements, and need to know how to structure contracts to ensure that broadcasters and sponsors will not instantly withdraw that support, should an allegation of doping be made.

It can happen. At this year’s Tour de France, television channels ARD and ZDF pulled out of covering the race, after a German rider was accused of doping. Several cycling teams that competed in 2007 may no longer be able to do so, after sponsors withdrew their financial support.

Likewise, TV broadcasters and sponsors need to ensure that should an athlete or event be associated with doping or match-fixing, they can exit their contract quietly and amicably, without being tarred with the same brush.

These issues will be discussed at Integrity In Sport: Doping, Betting & Contractual Risk Management, a World Sports Law Report full-day briefing, hosted at the London offices of Charles Russell LLP on 21 January.

Speakers include:
Howard Stupp, Legal Director, International Olympic Committee
Anne Gripper, Anti-Doping Services, Union Cycliste Internationale
Paolo Lombardi, Head of Disciplinary & Governance, FIFA
David O'Reilly, General Counsel, Betfair
Guy Le Grew, Senior Legal Advisor, Sky Sports
Oliver Codrington, The British Horseracing Authority
Phil Hall, Phil Hall Associates
Michele Verroken, Sporting Integrity

For more information, including the full day’s programme, click here.

Andy Brown


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