CEO’s Review of the Year
The demand for our services continues to grow, with significant growth in safeguarding and international work. As a result, Sport Resolutions (SR) staff team has grown to 17 to reflect the increasing demand for our services with the case teams operating in four specialised groups, providing professional and independent guidance and support to Panels and parties, administering matters in accordance with a wide range of procedural rules.
We continue to operate the Safeguarding Case Management Programme (SCMP), funded by Sport England, with 45 national governing bodies (NGBs) now signed up and able to access the support provided by SR, namely initial advice, investigations and the provision of hearing panels. This service is designed to assist NGBs with the management of safeguarding cases below the high-performance level.
After one year, Sport Integrity - a service that provides a confidential means for those in high performance Olympic and Paralympic programmes to make complaints about a range of issues such as bullying, harassment, discrimination and safeguarding matters - has been a well-used service. The scope of the service has been expanded to include allegations of policy breaches such as in Code of Conduct or Performance Agreements, and UK Sport has requested that all funded sports sign up to the service by the end of 2023.
The number of international federations (IFs) using SR continues to increase, with IFs incorporating SR into their policies and dispute resolution processes. Of particular note, IFs are increasingly seeking our support in relation to safeguarding matters, including investigations and operation of complaints management process.
SR provides bespoke services to its users, typically applying the rules of the sport. In practice this means that IFs feel comfortable that they remain able to settle their own rules and procedures, but in the event of a dispute, their interpretation or implementation will be done independently. This provides comfort to those who are bound by the rules and produces a fairer and more robust system. SR now supports more than 25 IFs with their dispute resolution processes, and some of the IFs that we work with can be found here.
Throughout the year we were involved in several high-profile cases. For example, SR is written into the rules of the PGA’s DP Tour and so when the dispute arose in relation to the LIV Tour, it was SR that was tasked with administering the required process. The importance and ramifications of this case were of global interest and, arguably, it is the most significant decision in sport since Bosman.
Another example is the trust placed in SR by World Snooker to administer the recent case against ten Chinese players. SR also appointed the panel that determined the Simona Halep doping case at first instance, with the independent tribunal having to examine approximately 8,000 pages of scientific and other evidence from the player and the ITIA.
We provided ad-hoc panels to the World Athletics Championships in Budapest this summer, and to the Billie Jean King Cup and the Davis Cup Finals.
We were tasked with appointing and supporting an Independent Vetting Panel for World Boxing to assist with governance in the lead-up to the World Boxing Congress in November 2023.
SR provided similar support to the Badminton World Federation to act as its Independent Appointment Body, to source and recommend for approval members of the Independent Vetting Panel and Independent Hearing Panel.
As independent secretariat to World Athletics’ recently established Case Management Group, SR will be directly responsible for recruiting and appointing members of the CMG, making appointments from that group when required. The role of the CMG will be to review investigations by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) - the independent body protecting the integrity of athletics - and assess risk and make orders relating to safeguards, limitations, restrictions, sanctions and other matters in accordance with the World Athletics Safeguarding Rules which were approved by the World Athletics Council in August 2023.
Significant National Work
SR was involved in the cultural review of the WRU. As a result of a BBC documentary, the WRU was faced with accusations of misogyny, homophobia and discrimination. To properly address these serious allegations, the WRU asked SR to appoint an expert panel to conduct a thorough review pursuant to agreed and published Terms of Reference.
The final report was presented to the WRU with over 30 recommendations, all of which were accepted by the WRU.
Panel Members Recruitment
We renew our Panel every three years, and the application window for joining Sport Resolutions' Panel for the period April 2024 to March 2027 remains open until 19 January 2024 (not to be confused with the Pro Bono Service, for which applications and renewals will take place later). We always look to increase the diversity and skills on our panel and interested individuals are invited to review our selection criteria here.
We should also recognise and thank out-going independent board member John Palmer, who left us having completed his maximum eight-year term of service. His contribution to Sport Resolutions was considerable and he will be greatly missed. Equally, we waved good-bye to our Welsh member representative, Richard Hendicott, who has been involved in SR in various guises since its inception. Richard will be missed by all at SR and our thanks go to him for his service and dedication.
As one door closes others open, and we have been fortunate to welcome Nick Hayes and Richard Parks to our board. We have also welcomed a new member to the SR family – UK Coaching.
Save the Date!
Our next annual conference will take place on Thursday 2nd May, in central London. We will announce session and ticket details in early January. In the meantime, please save the date.
At the end of another hectic year, we hope you all have a wonderful festive period, with the best wishes of all at SR for the year ahead – that we anticipate will be just as busy!