find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Clubs liable to face legal action in doping scandal

Clubs liable to face legal action in doping scandal

The Government report alleging widespread doping in Australian sport and links to organised crime will create enormous professional liability issues for sporting organisations, according to a leading sports lawyer.

The year-long investigation by the Australian Crime Commission (ACC), described as a major blow to professional sport’s integrity in Australia, found that the use of banned drugs had been “orchestrated and condoned” by coaches, sports scientists and support staff across multiple sporting codes.

Tim Fuller (pictured), of Walsh Halligan Douglas Lawyers, and also a former Gold Coast and South Sydney Rabbitohs NRL star, told Lawyers Weekly the landmark report has at last shed light on the “long and dark history” of doping in Australian sport.

Fuller has described the clubs as the “sleeping giant” in the controversy, claiming that they face massive liability issues, which are likely to end in legal action.

“What gets lost in the wash-up of all this is the role of the employers: the clubs … and the liability they potentially face,” said Fuller. 

“When you’ve got a club that has employed a nutritionist or sport scientist who has embarked on a program within the workplace, and all players have been given directive to take a particular supplement or partake in a particular program, ultimately I think there’s considerable liability issues for the club as the employer.”

Under current anti-doping laws, players are ultimately responsible for what they ingest. This means a player who has tested positive for a banned substance will be sanctioned under the strict liability rule enforced by the World Anti-Doping Agency, to which most Australian sporting codes are compliant.

However, the report claimed that in some cases sports scientists had orchestrated the doping of entire teams, where players were administered with drugs not yet approved for human use.

“We’ll see players starting to query some of the directives set down by their club,” said Fuller, before adding that, “ultimately there will be action against the clubs and potentially the leagues in relation to some of the things starting to unfold.”

“When employers breach their duty-of-care to their employees within the workplace by implementing these types of programs, where players are directed to participate, there’s going to be issues,” he said.

Fuller described the report as a “landmark for Australian sport” and welcomed the Government’s tough new laws designed to catch doping athletes.

Silence is golden

Not so keen on the new legislation is the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).

In a statement released yesterday (11 February), the ALA expressed concern over the Government’s plan to remove privilege against self-incrimination and to compel witnesses in Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) investigations.

The proposed new laws would require athletes to attend interviews and answer questions posed by ASADA. It would also force athletes to produce documents relevant to any doping investigation.

Failure to comply with those requests could lead to fines of up to $5100

“In our criminal justice system it is the investigating agency - an arm of the State - which has to prove its case against an individual,” said Greg Barns, ALA criminal law spokesman.

“And that’s why the right to remain silent is so important. These criminal justice principles apply equally to bodies like ASADA.”

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Clubs liable to face legal action in doping scandal
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
microphone
Oct 20 2017
Podcast: One of law’s most infamous alumni – in conversation with Julian Morrow
In this episode of The Lawyers Weekly Show, Melissa Coade is joined by The Chaser’s Julian Morrow....
protest
Oct 20 2017
High Court overturns ‘excessive’ anti-protest legislation
Bob Brown’s recent victory in the High Court over the Tasmanian government was a win for fundament...
Blocked
Oct 20 2017
Changes to Australian citizenship laws blocked
Attempts to beef up the requirements to obtain Australian citizenship were thwarted this week, after...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...