University of Melbourne : Careers Guide 2012
SOCIETY & CULTURE B oth professional and amateur sports can involve a range of legal issues, from the gambling policies on Melbourne Cup Day to a breach of anti-doping rules during the AFL season. Sports law covers most of the ‘ big legal issues’, including property, intellectual property, competition law, negligence, corporate governance, employment law, health and medical law and dispute resolution. The entry of big commercial players in the sports industry means that now many large law firms advise sporting organisations as part of their media and entertainment practice. For example, Allens Arthur Robinson acted for the International Olympic Committee and the International Rugby Board regarding the broadcasting rights during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and the 2007 Rugby World Cup. Today even smaller law firms such as Browne & Co and Lander & Rogers have dedicated sports law teams, while an increasing number of large sporting organisations such as the AFL now have in-house counsels at both managerial and senior executive levels. Robert Macdonald, Senior Fellow at Melbourne Law School and lecturer in sports law, predicts that there will be more jobs in sports law in the next 10 to 20 years. “Sport is being increasingly regulated by governments and by itself in fields such as anti-doping, anti-corruption and match-fixing, sport dispute resolution and the medico-legal interaction. “At the domestic level, larger sports will continue to grow their in-house legal departments, while smaller sports will require the expertise of legal practitioners because they won’t be able to afford in-house counsel. Meanwhile, international sporting organisations are continually expanding their regulator y frameworks.” Many practitioners with sports law expertise will move into the management structure of sporting organisations, while others may move into larger consulting, accounting and marketing firms that have sporting groups; plus there are many smaller firms that specialise in a particular sport- related issue. Students of sports law could also end up practising in the wider entertainment and events industry or working for a larger consulting organisation which gives you the necessary skills to work across many industries. Robert Macdonald thinks Australia’s passion for sports plays a large role in the growth in the field. “Australia is a small market, but sport is an all-pervasive part of our culture. Even the local football and netball clubs need legal advice from time to time,” he says. “ The best way to get into the sports industry is to be a part of it at a local level. Play your favourite sport, join a committee, take up opportunities to be involved in the decision-making of a team, club, competition or governing body. “Sport has a certain mystique,” he says. “ There will be no shortage of candidates for positions either as a sports law yer or a sport manager. So make sure you have the necessary combination of training, skill and experience to be able to capitalise upon opportunities to turn your enthusiasm into a professional career.” Make it happen Master of Laws (specialising in Sports Law), Master of Commercial Law (specialising in Sports Law) GR ADUATE STUDY OPTIONS Earlier this year, when the father of her rival intimidated her during the qualifying events for the London Olympics, Australia’s fourth-ranking archery contestant initiated a fight in the courtroom – one of many examples of where sport meets law. Misa Han Fair play SPL Anti-doping rules are one of the legal issues in sport. Here a scientist checks samples for illegal substances using a centrifuge machine.