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Sports Disputes Tribunal to be in action 2003


Sports Disputes Tribunal to be in action by early 2003

SPARC (Sport and Recreation New Zealand) has begun the process to set up a Sports Disputes Tribunal to provide an independent forum for sportspeople to resolve disputes.

Chief Executive Nick Hill says SPARC as a Crown Entity and the central point of contact for sport in New Zealand is the appropriate body and has the expertise to ensure the Tribunal is established and run independently and its services implemented and operated effectively.

"The need for a specialist Sports Tribunal was confirmed in a review commissioned late last year by SPARC's Transition Board and SPARC is now working to have the Tribunal up and running by March 2003.

"The view is not so much the number of cases, but the nature of cases in dispute and the fact they are perceived to be handled poorly and so are damaging to the interests of sport generally. When sport is largely Government funded sport has to be seen to handle its disputes with integrity and credibility.

"The SPARC Board has agreed on the terms of reference for the Sports Disputes Tribunal Committee. We're consulting with legal experts on a set of rules and code of procedure for the Tribunal," Mr Hill said.

SPARC will fund the establishment and substantive operational costs associated with running the Tribunal. There will be a filing fee for cases to be heard by the Tribunal that will be met by the sports. The filing fee has not yet been decided.

On average there are about 46 disputes/cases each year at national level involving doping (about 10-15 annually), selection, harassment, misconduct on and off the field, disputes about the rules of a sporting competition, and disputes about contracts, constitutions and other matters.

Both the number and nature of disputes is expected to increase as more athletes become involved at a professional level with more money at stake. It's estimated a Sports Disputes Tribunal would deal with around 35 cases in a year, with up to 15 relating to doping allegations. Tribunal decisions would be final and binding on all parties.

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