Match-fixing, doping, organised crime and player contracts are the kind of curve balls that will be pitched in a new course offered by The University of Queensland’s TC Beirne School of Law.
The intensive Sports Law and Governance elective, which includes study at the Jindal Law School in Delhi, India, will be run by UQ’s Dr Sarah-Jane Kelly and Jindal Law School’s Assistant Professor Shaun Star.
Former Australian test cricketer, Cricket Australia board member and UQ alumnus Michael Kasprowicz will also participate in the week-long schedule of classes and visits to the Indian Supreme Court, the Australian High Commission, sports law firms, sports sponsors and sports organisations.
Dr Kelly said the research-based course was the first of its kind and the practical assessments would challenge students to consider the real winners and losers in both professional and grassroots sports.
“The global sports industry is a $US1.5 trillion business, and Australian laws for ensuring fair play in all our popular sports are failing to keep up with unprecedented commercial pressures and a changing cultural mindset,” Dr Kelly said.
“The integrity of sport is threatened by increasing corruption cases, and educating future leaders and sports lawyers on the governance and reform needed in sport is one way to address this problem.
“Corruption drivers like private ownership of teams linked to organised crime, match-throwing incentives being higher than players’ salaries, and the sophisticated development of undetectable performance enhancers are shifting the goal posts, so we need to understand the new playbooks.”
To run in September and December this year, the Sports Law and Governance course has received support from UQ’s Global Strategy and Partnerships Seed Funding Scheme.
“One of the reasons we’re partnering with the Jindal Law School is to give our students a broad perspective on the social and ethical ‘norms’ of sports governance and what constitutes corruption and legal protection in different countries and codes,” Dr Kelly said.
“The high number of applicants wanting to gain international experience and contacts from this unique opportunity has confirmed that this research topic and our approach to it are very compelling for ambitious undergraduate law students.”
Students enrolled in the September course will also take part in a session dedicated to sports corruption at the Organised Crime and Corruption Forum to be held at UQ with the Australian Institute for Business and Economics from 18-21 September.
This program of public lectures, panel discussions and roundtable workshops, will feature experts from government, international organisations, industry, the judiciary and legal profession, and academia.
They will share experiences, exchange ideas and develop practical outcomes for policy development, law reform, and further research.
International speakers for the sports corruption session include Professor Jack Anderson from Queens University Belfast (recently appointed to the University of Melbourne Law School) and Dale Sheehan, Director of Capacity Building and Education at the International Centre for Sport Security, Qatar.