Sport insights - July 2023

Man playing professional tennis

Access the latest legal news, information and insights impacting the sport and leisure industry in July including new inclusion guidelines for transgender athletes, rising risks of misclassifying employees and contractors, and the introduction of Sport Integrity Australia's Safety in Sport Division.

Transgender inclusion guidelines

The Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) has recently released new guidelines for transgender and gender-diverse athletes participating in high performance (HP) programs. The guidelines provide a framework that considers separate women's and men's categories in elite sport and provides an avenue for restrictions or exclusions to be made if there is clear evidence of unfair advantage or unmitigated safety risk.

The guidelines encourage national sporting organisations (NSOs) including those for people with disability to develop clear policies, engage in meaningful consultation, and seek legal advice when formulating eligibility details. The guidelines emphasise transparency and athlete-centeredness, advocating for an informed and inclusive consultation process involving all stakeholders. Some of the factors highlighted are:

  • the importance of reasonable and justifiable exclusions with minimal restrictions,
  • the consideration of relevant circumstances, and
  • the impact on athletes and sporting organisations.

The guidelines also address factors such as discrimination, hormone suppression, anti-doping measures, privacy, and education.

The final section of the guidelines features a checklist to assist NSOs throughout the policy formulation process.

Contact Lander & Rogers' Sport and Leisure team for advice on navigating and developing an inclusive policy compliant with state or territory and Commonwealth laws. A copy of the AIS guidelines can be accessed here.

Distinguish an employee from an independent contractor in sport

Distinguishing between an employee and an independent contractor is often a complex and nuanced exercise.

This determination is especially complex for sport organisations and teams, which often engage staff and players on an ad hoc basis pursuant to arrangements that provide for variable hours of work, particularly in connection with seasonal sporting competitions.

However, the distinction is crucial given employees and independent contractors have different legal rights, obligations and entitlements.

Explore how the evolving case law regarding the principal/contractor distinction may operate to help or hinder sporting teams and governing bodies while setting out the key considerations in contracting with athletes in the future.

Learn more here.

Introduction of SIA Safety in Sport Division

Sport Integrity Australia (SIA) has launched its Safety in Sport Division, featuring an expanded hotline for people to lodge complaints or reports. Led by Dr Sarah Benson, the new division addresses discrimination, abuse and mistreatment in Australian sport and aims to protect sport participants by coordinating national responses to integrity issues under its National Integrity Framework.

The Safety in Sport Division will not cover investigations into past matters but will have capacity to listen to historical concerns and guide future strategies. It is now available seven days a week and is overseen by Patrick Johnson, a First Nations Olympian and safety and culture advisor. The division will also implement its Safeguarding in Sport Continuous Improvement Program to support national sport organisations in implementing Member Protection, and Safeguarding Children and Young People policies.

For more information or enquiries about changes impacting the sport and leisure industry contact Lander & Rogers' Sport & Leisure team.

All information on this site is of a general nature only and is not intended to be relied upon as, nor to be a substitute for, specific legal professional advice. No responsibility for the loss occasioned to any person acting on or refraining from action as a result of any material published can be accepted.

Key contacts