CEO’s Review of the Year
2018 has been a great year for Sport Resolutions.
Increase in the number of cases we helped resolve
Sport Resolutions received 268 requests for dispute resolution guidance and help since Jan 1, 2018. The most prevalent issues concerned alleged anti-doping rule violations, child safeguarding concerns, athlete selection, player eligibility, athlete and NGB funding and ad hoc disciplinary and regulatory issues. The National Anti-Doping Panel received 18 requests for arbitration, whilst the National Safeguarding Panel dealt with 7 matters in addition to 8 independent investigations and reviews. The pro bono service received 38 requests for assistance and there were 30 case referrals from international federations.
We have been involved in many high profile cases in 2018 such as QPR v EFL; UKAD v Eric Molina; RFU v Ashley Johnson and various ongoing investigations including Lawn Tennis Association Independent Review, Canoeing Independent Investigation and Independent Review into Child Sex Abuse Allegations in Football.
New Panel of Arbitrators and Mediators
In order to respond to this increase in work, Sport Resolutions undertook a review of its panels during the spring of 2018, resulting in the largest membership that we have ever had. Our panel grew by 65%, and there are now over 200 individuals who are available to be appointed. It is important that all are of the highest quality and that there is a wide range of specialist skills available.
The panel review has also resulted in the formation of an International Panel, providing arbitrators from around the globe who may be appointed to the increasing volume of work that we receive from International Federations. This gives a more representative and diverse offering. Sport Resolutions’ current international clients include International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF), International Tennis Federation (ITF), International Cricket Council (ICC) and World Sailing
National Anti-Doping Panel
We were again successful in securing the contract from DCMS to administer the National Anti-Doping Panel for a further 3 years in April 2018. As part of the tender process, we identified the changing nature of the cases that come before the NADP. One such change is the increasing frequency of mental health considerations forming part of the evidence before a panel. In order to properly deal with such matters, the NADP has added 3 Consultant Psychiatrists, in addition to another Consultant Pharmacologist and 2 additional Chairs.
We are very proud to be recognised in the Review of Australia’s Sport Integrity Arrangements published in August’18 as “one of the most successful and well-regarded sports arbitration agencies globally”.
We contributed to the Review providing details of the services Sport Resolutions carries out both within the UK and internationally. The Review stated that the model for Australia’s proposed National Sports Tribunal should be similar to that employed by Sport Resolutions in that it must be transparent, independent, cost effective, efficient and expert.
Teaching Awareness of Ethical Governance in Sport (TAGS)
Sport Resolutions is currently participating in the TAGS project to develop an undergraduate module in ethical sport governance to enhance the skills and employability of students seeking future employment in the sport sector. Sport Resolutions was selected as a result of our exclusive case study material drawn from years of providing dispute resolution services for sport in the UK. The TAGS project is supported by the Erasmus+ programme and was developed in response to an EU motion (2016/2143 (INI)) on an integrated approach to Sport Policy: good governance, accessibility and integrity. The motion arose out of recent scandals affecting sport at the European and international levels.
Seminars and the Annual Conference
We continue to grow our seminar and education programmes. The Annual Conference in May 2018 was generously sponsored by Winston & Strawn, a leading international law firm. The Conference was another great success with an increase in the number of delegates and with speakers of the calibre of David Howman, Chair of the Athletes Integrity Unit and former Director General at WADA, and Paula Radcliffe, women’s marathon world record holder. Topics covered at the conference included mental health, sports integrity and transgender athlete rights.
Sport Resolutions also held a series of seminars and roundtable discussions in 2018 covering the revolution in sports disputes, independent investigations, sanctions for corruption, gender diversity in sport leadership roles and conflict management.
The staff and Board at Sport Resolutions is proud of the work that we do and we hold a sincere view that we are helping to resolve disputes that would otherwise cause major disruption. We are mindful of the trust that is placed in us, both by funders such as the DCMS and UK Sport but also the various sports, NGB’s, International Federations, leagues and other bodies that refer matters routinely to us. It is clear that decisions and determinations will not please all but we work hard to ensure that processes are transparent and fair and that there can be no criticism of how matters are handled.
As ever, I want to recognise the panel members who determine the matters referred to Sport Resolutions. As noted above, the issues that must be decided are typically of huge importance to the parties and it must be a given that the person or panel appointed has the appropriate skills and expertise. To have so much talent and skill available is a huge asset to Sport Resolutions and all those who use our services.
All that remains is to offer the best wishes of the season, and I look forward to working with you again in 2019.
Chief Executive Officer, Sport Resolutions