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Changing the game: the legal framework for the laws of the game, management of human performance data and related safety considerations in women’s professional sport


This article discusses the responsibility of codes of football to adapt and evolve the medical, human performance and/or regulatory frameworks to properly accommodate the emergence of elite women competitions within their traditionally male-dominated sports. It further considers whether the historic model of male sport built over generations—through the development of sporting rules and human performance protocols—needs to be reconsidered for girls and women to ensure that the wellbeing of those athletes recruited to compete as professionals is safeguarded to the appropriate legal standard. In undertaking this analysis, this article considers the following: the professional characterisation of selected women’s professional sports; the historic health challenges for women within elite sport; existing human performance protocols within professional Australian sport; and an analysis of the legal, ethical, and regulatory framework for the conducting of a sport.

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  1. Angela Pippos (2017).

  2. For example: attempts to establish rival professional competitions such as in World Series Cricket and in Rugby League.

  3. At times, the term ‘competition administrator’ will be used interchangeably with ‘governing body’. As each of FFA, Cricket Australia and the AFL perform both roles within their sports, there is no substantive difference meant by the use of the term.

  4. During this article the terms “laws of the game” and “rules of play” will be used interchangeably often to reflect the differing nomenclature used by the courts or academics.

  5. Compulsory Framework is the collective term that will be used for the suite of documents that governing bodies develop (often in partnership with other stakeholders within their industry) that wrap around the laws of the game and deal with the management of the players and the event that gives rise to the actual playing of the sport.

  6. This is particularly relevant given some of the legal commentary in assessing a sport’s duty to its players, the intersection with the obligations of medical practitioners and the public funding of sport.

  7. Rizvi (2016).

  8. Article 2(2) of the FIFA Regulations for the Status and Transfer of Players.

  9. Court of Arbitration for Sport 2016/A/4495-4535.

  10. NCAA Division Manual, Bylaw 12.

  11. Healey (2009), p. 25.

  12. [2000] HCA 41, 201 CLR 552; 173 ALR 665; 74 ALRJ 1219 (3 August 2000).

  13. Kirk and Trichardt (2001), p. 14.

  14. Indeed, the management of restraint of trade cases that have been so foundational in the regulation of sport in Australia, from the draft to the nature of wage restraint through a salary cap from since the early 1970s, are underpinned by employment considerations; and such discussion speaks to the pendulum that swings between administrators right to govern a sport in pursuit of their objectives and the extent of their right to legitimately fetter the right of an athlete to earn a living.

  15. For example: Jenna McCormack played for Canberra United in the W-League, Adelaide Crows in the AFLW and is currently playing football professionally in Norway; Elyse Perry has recently represented Australia in both football and cricket (although she is now firmly entrenched as a leading Australian cricketer).

  16. From 1970 to 1983, Evonne Goolagong Cawley won USD$1.4million in prize money on the WTA tour; from 1986 to 1997, Nicole Bradtke (nee Provis) secured in excess of USD$1.23million on the WTA tour notwithstanding never achieving a world ranking in the top twenty; and Samantha Stosur has, since turning professional in 1999, won in excess of USD$17million in prize money. Indeed, in 2016, the total prize pool on the Women’s Tennis Association Tour was approximately USD$150million, with the world’s number one player for the 2016 season Angelique Kerber earning in excess of USD$15million.

  17. LPGA Profile

  18. LA Jennings, “For Love of For Money”, Vice Sports, 8 June 2016 (online)

  19. Australian Olympic Committee profile

  20. Homfray (2017) study-with-elitelevel-training-and-games-to-be-part-of-the-inaugural-aflw-season/news-story/8dbbf541f7892665b56d4e592f4de095.

  21. Apaway (2017).

  22. A snapshot of data speaks to the success of the competition administrators in building these elite national leagues into competitions capable of being self-sustaining as professional vehicles. Within football, the average national television audience for the 2017 W-League Grand Final hosted in Perth was in excess of 400,000 (an almost three-fold increase on the television audience of the 2016 W-League Grand Final of 151,656) the peak national television audience during the AFLW was in excess of 896,000 and the peak national television audience in women’s Big Bash was in excess of 600,000. By comparison, the average television audience (albeit on pay television platform, Fox Sports) for a match within the A-League, the elite men’s football competition within Australia, at its peak during the 2014/2015 season was 99,311.

  23. FFA is both the governing body of football in Australia and the competition administrator of the W-League. Similarly, with the Cricket Australia and its member federations control all Women’s Big Bash League assets and the AFL likewise with the AFLW.

  24. The WNCL Australian Women’s Twenty20 Cup started in 2007 however it was discontinued once the WBBL was formed in 2014/2015.

  25. Article 3.1 and Article 3.2 of the FFA Constitution.

  26. The exception to this is Canberra United, who compete in the W-League and are managed by the FFA Member Federation (i.e. a state or territory who is a constitutional member of FFA and manages the operation of their charter within their territory) for the Australian Capital Territory, Capital Football. Moreover, the custodianship of the W-League Clubs has only recently moved collectively to the A-League clubs. Throughout its 9-year history, whilst the W-League teams have played under the intellectual property of their connected A-League team, the W-League teams were administered by the relevant Member Federation via a tripartite relationship between FFA, the A-League clubs and the Member Federation. Such administration by the Member Federation extended to the employment of players, procurement of training infrastructure, management of match days and engagement of athlete support personnel.

  27. Via a W-League Standard Player Contract.

  28. via a W-League Development Agreement.

  29. The salary cap is a ‘soft-cap’ which features exemptions such as salaries paid to players nominated as marquee players and relocation expenses.

  30. Professional Footballers Australia (2016b), p. 3.

  31. Professional Football Australia (2017b).

  32. Professional Footballers Australia (2016a), p. 7.

  33. Professional Footballers Australia (2017a), p. 14.

  34. Such as remuneration, promotional obligations, use of player ‘attributes’, sponsorship and endorsements, media commitments, availability, medical matters including pregnancy, insurances, tours and team travel, grievances.

  35. The national women’s cricket team was known as historically as the Southern Stars although Cricket Australia publically announced on 7 June 2017 that it would no longer formally use that name (although it would not object to the name being used colloquially).

  36. The Australian women’s cricket team are likely to be the best paid of any women’s team sport. Cricket Australia, in 2015, doubled its commitment to the centralised players on national team contracts from $2.36million to $4.23million. These players, were able to earn in excess of AU$100,000 a year during the life of this agreement.

  37. Australian Football League Annual Report 2016.

  38. Australian Football League Annual Report 2014, 99.

  39. Lenki (2016), p. 19.

  40. The Adelaide Crows, the Brisbane Lions, Carlton, Collingwood, Fremantle, the GWS Giants, Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs were named as the eight teams to take part in 2017. The Geelong Cats, North Melbourne, Richmond, St Kilda and the West Coast Eagles were each granted provisional licences, with the AFL to work with them to ensure their involvement in an expanded competition at the earliest possible opportunity.

  41. As it was referred to in the 2015 AFL Annual Report.

  42. Attendance of 7583; Ratings of 345,000; number one trending item on social media platform Twitter.

  43. The season features sold-out matches, healthy television audiences and match attendances that were higher than anticipated.

  44. In establishing teams, two marquee players were allocated to each of the eight teams as a mechanism to drive competitive balance and a commercial profile. Beyond that, a total of 145 players were selected in the AFLW Draft in October. The draft was State-based, meaning the Greater Western Giants’ selections came from within a New South Wales talent pool, with Adelaide (South Australia and Northern Territory), Brisbane (Queensland) and Fremantle (Western Australia) also drawing from their States.

  45. The packages will increase to $27,946, $12,846 and $9276 respectively in 2018.

  46. Football boots and runners; travel allowance when playing interstate; income protection insurance; coverage for out-of-pocket medical expenses for the 52 weeks’ post-contract; an allowance to pay for a carer when travelling interstate in cases where a player has a child under 12 months.

  47. Australian Football League Annual Report 2016, 81.

  48. Within the Australian Football League Annual Report 2014, three quarters of one-page within a 181 report was allocated to a report on women’s AFL.

  49. Australian Football League Annual Report 2014, 99.

  50. In excess of 400 females went through an AFL combine with prospective players given an opportunity to demonstrate their skills, including kicking, marking and handballing as well as a game play component that tested their decision-making, spatial awareness and appetite to compete.

  51. Database managed by Professional Footballers Australia.

  52. Bruckner and Khan (2012), p. 910.

  53. Bruckner and Khan (2012).

  54. Ibid, 910.

  55. Ibid, 911.

  56. Ibid, 910.

  57. Ibid.

  58. Ibid, 918.

  59. Ibid, 911.

  60. Ibid, 919.

  61. Ibid.

  62. Bruckner and Khan (2012), p. 914.

  63. The period from ovulation to the onset of menstruation.

  64. Bruckner and Khan (2012), p. 915.

  65. Irregular menstruation of three to six cycles per year.

  66. Absent menstruation at fewer than three cycles per year or no cycles for a period of 6 months.

  67. Bruckner and Khan (2012), p. 915.

  68. Ibid.

  69. Refers to a lower than normal level of oestrogen, the primary sex hormone in women.

  70. Bruckner and Khan (2012), p. 916.

  71. Ibid, 915.

  72. Ibid, 916.

  73. Bone is lost rapidly in the first 2 or 3 years following menstrual disturbances.

  74. Bruckner and Khan (2012), p. 918.

  75. ibid, 912.

  76. Ibid, 911.

  77. Ibid, 919.

  78. Defined as the inadequate energy consumption which may be related to poor quality, quantity, frequency, or awareness of appropriate sports nutrition.

  79. Defined as psychiatric conditions where pathologic weight control measures are instituted that lead to disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.

  80. Bruckner and Khan (2012), p. 919.

  81. A part of the pelvis.

  82. Bruckner and Khan (2012), p. 919.

  83. The increased Q angle at the knee caused by slanting of the femur may increase susceptibility of sportswomen to this condition. This biomechanical abnormality may also increase susceptibility to the development of other overuses injuries of the lower leg (e.g. medial tibial stress syndrome).

  84. Bruckner and Khan (2012), p. 919.

  85. ibid.

  86. ACL injuries can have major consequences on the athletic involvement and overall wellbeing of affected athletes, both recreationally as well as competitively. Post-operative rehabilitation can take at least 6–9 months, delaying return to sport and in some cases preventing return to prior intensity and skill level. History of ACL injury is associated with various consequences, including chronic knee problems, knee instability, meniscus tears, cartilage injuries, and development of osteoarthritis, all of which can be debilitating..

  87. Bruckner and Khan (2012), p. 158.

  88. ibid, 158.

  89. Bruckner and Khan (2012), p. 919.

  90. The ideal ACL prevention programme incorporates exercises and drills that emphasise plyometrics, neuromuscular training, and muscle strengthening, as well as education and feedback regarding body mechanics and landing technique. It would ideally begin 6 weeks prior to the season, can be as short at 20 min, and can be done in place of a typical warm-up.

  91. Bruckner and Khan (2012), p. 920.

  92. Ibid.

  93. ibid.

  94. Opie (2002a), p.375.

  95. Dr Switkowski is Chairman of NBN Co, SuncorpGroup, and a Director of listed companies Tabcorp Holdings and Healthscope Ltd. Dr Switkowski is a former Chairman of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation and of Opera Australia. He has previously held positions as Chief Executive Officer of Telstra Corporation Limited and Optus Communications Ltd and is a former Chairman and Managing Director of Kodak Australasia Pty Ltd.

  96. Revelations from the club and former players highlighted that under the direction of controversial sports scientist Stephen Dank, the club had been operating an experimental and pioneering supplements programme. Ultimately thirty-four players were found guilty of breaching the WADA Code.

  97. Essendon (2013).

  98. Spinal injuries to two teenage players which resulted in quadriplegia.

  99. This amount includes all money spent within football performance, human performance and talent management within an AFL clubs to the exclusion of player salaries.

  100. Borland and Booth (2014), p. 5.

  101. Geelong Football Club Annual Report 2016. The figure has been reached by deducted the AFL total player payments from the overall reported costs incurred within Football Operations.

  102. Collingwood Football Club Annual Report 2016. The figure has been reached by deducted the AFL total player payments from the overall reported costs incurred within Football Operations.

  103. Whilst already implementing a player draft and salary cap to drive, at least theoretically, competitive balance through the equal distribution of playing talent, the AFL initiated a cap in 2015 on football department expenditure. The cap was nominated at $9.4million with a ‘luxury tax’ to be applied for expenditure by AFL clubs in excess of that amount. Within this model, an estimated $3.7million per club was invested towards human performance and included approximately nine staff whilst an estimated $1.4million per club would be invested towards talent management. By way of comparison, a decade prior to the introduction of the football department luxury tax, in 2005, the average estimated club spend on human performance across the AFL was $677,685.

  104. Within the Financial Statements of Cricket Australia, Team Operations would appear to capture the concepts of Human Performance and Talent Management.

  105. Cricket Australia Annual Report 2013.

  106. Cricket Australia Annual Report 2016.

  107. Source documents made available.

  108. Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee.

  109. As opposed to being mandated by the governing body by force of regulation.

  110. For example, each year the AFL produces an AFL Injury Survey which is compiled in association with the AFL Doctors Association, the AFL Physiotherapists Association and the AFL Football Operations Department.

  111. For example, a player will be provided with an app on his smartphone and required by the club to enter answers to which will populate an online platform to which key human performance staff has access. Depending on the sophistication of the platform, human performance professionals would be able to identify answers which generate ‘flags’ on players and enables more informed decisions to be made by the coaches in their management of the player, such as manipulating training loads and identifying player management opportunities.

  112. For example, high-end wrist-worn straps able to measure data one hundred times per second and automatically transmitting this data to a central portal which provides immediate analysis and actionable recommendations of the sort that would have historically occurred through a number of steps involving a number of people. Such biometric data collection is currently being used by National Football League players.

  113. For example, a smart phone application which captures the individual wellness of athletes can be purchased for less than $200.

  114. Characterised by training fatigue and a reduction in maximal performance capacity that can last a few days or up to 2 weeks.

  115. The internal training load is measured through the athlete’s rate of perceived exertion (RPEs), wellness questionnaires completed by the athletes (capturing information such as the level of a players’ relaxation, freshness, sleep quality, readiness to train and general sores), heart-rate monitoring, physiological markers and sleep monitoring. The external training load can be measured by human performance professionals through the use of GPS tracking player movement, monition analysis and accelerometers.

  116. Periodization is the systematic planning of athletic and physical training. The aim is to reach the best possible performance in the most important competition of the year. It involves progressive cycling of various aspects of a training programme during a specific period.

  117. From 1 to 10 with ten being the hardest possible exertion and one being the lowest.

  118. Coutts et al. (2008), p. 242.

  119. Ibid.

  120. ibid.

  121. Alexiou and Coutts (2008), pp. 320–330.

  122. Smart phone applications to track training loads can be access for free whilst more advanced models licensed to professional sports club can be accessed for less than $200 per license.

  123. Woods v Multi-Sport Holdings Pty Ltd [2002] 186 ALR 145 at [105] per Kirby J.

  124. [2000] HCA 41.

  125. Opie (2002a), p. 378.

  126. Opie (2002b).

  127. The claims brought against the IRFB in Agar v. Hyde were part of wider litigation involving numerous defendants including local rugby organisations and each match referee. The IRFB was and still is an unincorporated association having no legal personality separate from its member national governing bodies. Confronted with the notorious difficulties of maintaining legal proceedings against an unincorporated body, the plaintiffs choose to pursue the individuals who composed the governing organ (or board) of the IRFB. These men were representatives of various national governing bodies for rugby union. They, together with the New Zealand Rugby Football Union, were served with legal process outside of Australia (including, curiously, the two Australians who represented the Australian Rugby Union Ltd at the IRFB). These “foreign” defendants declined to appear in the Supreme Court of the State of New South Wales where the proceedings had been issued. Under the rules of court, the plaintiffs could not proceed without leave of the court. The foreign defendants opposed leave and were successful before a single judge, only to have that decision overturned unanimously by the New South Wales Court of Appeal. On further appeal, the HCA considered whether the plaintiffs' case had “insufficient prospects of success to warrant putting an overseas defendant to the time, expense and trouble of defending the claims”. The HCA decided unanimously that the foreign defendants did not owe the plaintiffs a duty of care in negligence and so refused leave. It has recently been reported that the litigation in Agar v. Hyde was “terminated as against all defendants” following the ruling of the HCA in relation to the foreign defendants.

  128. Opie (2002b), p. 7.

  129. “(T)he common law does not ordinarily impose a duty on a person to take action where no positive conduct of that person has created a risk of injury to another person”: Agar v Hyde (2000) 201 CLR 552 at 600 per Callinan J.

  130. Effectively those groups who manage the operation of the sport at the local level.

  131. Agar v Hyde (2000) 74 ALJR 1219 at 125.

  132. [2001] QB 1134.

  133. [2002] HCA 9; 208 CLR 460; 186 ALR 145; 76 ALJR 483.

  134. Lecturer at Staffordshire University.

  135. Lines (2007), p. 1.

  136. Ibid, 2: “relationship is such that policy or fairness or justice requires the governing body to take responsibility for their actions”.

  137. Ibid, 7.

  138. Ibid.

  139. ibid, 3.

  140. In his analysis of the duty to administer medical treatment in Watson, Lord Phillips summarised assumption of responsibility as: “Where A places himself in a relationship to B in which B’s physical safety becomes dependent upon the acts or omissions of A, A’s conduct can suffice to impose on A, a duty to exercise reasonable care for B’s safety”.

  141. (2002) 208 CLR 460.

  142. The majority comprised Gleeson CJ, Hayne and Callinan JJ. The minority comprised McHugh and Kirby JJ.

  143. Opie (2002b), p. 11.

  144. By at least three justices.

  145. Burns (2002), p. 9.

  146. Opie (2002b), p. 11.

  147. Burns (2002), pp. 9–10.

  148. For example: Yeo (2001), pp. 5–11, Opie (2002a), pp. 375–380, Kirk and Trichardt (2001), pp. 1–18.

  149. Woods v Multi-Sports Holding Pty Ltd (2002) 208 CLR 460 per HcHugh at 483, referring to an area around Whitefriars, London, in the 17th century, which was a sanctuary for criminals and debtors.

  150. Woods v Multi-Sports Holding Pty Ltd (2002) 208 CLR 460 per Kirby J at 490.

  151. Opie (2002a), p. 379.

  152. ibid, 379–380.

  153. Ibid.

  154. Stanley Yeo, Professor of Law, Southern Cross University, in “Sports, Policy and Liability of Sporting Administrators” Australian Law Journal, 75 ALJ 504: “The Courts should retain the right to make the final decision whether a sporting rule was unnecessary or unreasonable. By upholding that the IFRB did not owe rugby players of Australia any duty of care in devising and maintaining the rules of the game, the High Court of Australia in Agar needlessly surrendered this right”: The Tort Law Review, 9 Tort L Rev 97, 9.

  155. Kirk and Trichardt (2001), p. 18.

  156. Ibid, 12.

  157. Opie (2002b), p. 11.

  158. Ibid.

  159. Kirk and Trichardt (2001), pp. 13–14.

  160. ibid, 14.

  161. Lines (2007), p. 6.

  162. Other than meaningless matches and social competitions, AFL is played only in Australia. The AFL has recently started referring to itself as the indigenous game in reflection of this narrow participation of its sport.

  163. Section 55 of the Wrongs Act 1958 (Vic).

  164. Section 5L of the Civil Liability Act 2002 (NSW), with mirroring legislation across other states [s.19(Qld), s.20 (Tas), s.5H (WA);]; section 53 of the Wrongs Act 1958 (Vic).

  165. Section 54 of the Wrongs Act 1958 (Vic).

  166. Section 5G of the Civil Liability Act 1958 (NSW).

  167. Section 45 of the Wrongs Act 1958 (Vic).

  168. which was the subject of the Switkowski Report referred to previously.

  169. Moss (2016),

  170. ABC News (2015).

  171. Longbottom (2016).

  172. Agar v Hyde [2000] HCA 41 at 10.

  173. Established in accordance with the Australian Sports Commission Act 1989.

  174. via the government through clubs, member federations and/or infrastructure development or commercial agreements of which they were beneficiaries.

  175. Australian Sports Commission Annual Report 2015/2016 issued on 30 September 2016.

  176. AFL, Cricket Australia and FFA are the low end of the proportional distribution with many sports relying almost solely on ASC income.

  177. Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Reference Committee Report, “Practice of Sport Science in Australia”, November 2016, 2.

  178. United Nations (2008), p. 21.

  179. Harrington (2017).

  180. Opie (2002b), p. 8.

  181. Tanner and Gore (2013), p. 263.

  182. Jacinda Barclay, Kim Mickle, Lauren Pearce, Anne Hatchard, Jess Bibby, Gemma Houghton, Ruby Schleicher, Helen Roden, Stacey Barr, Erin Phillips, Delissa Kimmince, Jessica Cameron, Natalie Plane, Emma Kearney, Kirsty Lamb, Libby Birch, Sarah Hosking, Jess Hosking, Brianna Davey, Jenna McCormick, Renee Tomkins, Ellie Brush, Nat Exon, Shannon Campbell, Kate McCarthy.

  183. Information obtained from a database built and developed by Professional Footballers Australia.

  184. In practice, a range of consultant stakeholders (senior executives at AFL clubs, players’ association, member federations and former coaches) work with full time AFL management (being the Game Analysis Manger and the Football Research Analyst) and independent researchers (from the fields of medical, sports science, collision and statistics) to provide the Laws of the Game Committee with a range of information to make recommendation to the AFL Executive, who in turn make recommendations to the AFL Commission, who are the ultimate custodians of the Laws of the Game.

  185. Only nominated ruckmen will be able to compete at a contest for a throw-in or ball-up, with players no longer permitted to contest a ruck contest as a third man up; There will be a stricter interpretation of Deliberate Rushed Behinds; The interpretation of where a player draws high contact will be simplified.

  186. These Law changes and amendments are in keeping with the AFL’s strong stance to protect players against injury and to promote exciting football in all parts of the ground,” Mark Evans, General Manager of Football Operations statement dated 21 December 2016.

  187. Sewell (2017).

  188. PhD candidate at La Trobe University and Melbourne AFLW footballer, Brooke Patterson.

  189. Speaking to the contribution of inexperience, osteopath Michelle Andrews said:

  190. Speaking to the contribution of inexperience, Lauren Arnell, Captain of Carlton Football Club in AFLW:

  191. Speaking to the contribution of inexperience, Kate Sheehan, Collingwood player in AFLW:

  192. Infamously, Collingwood player Kate Sheehan ruptured her ACL in the first minute of her first match.

  193. The AFL owed the player a duty of care; the AFL breached that duty of care by failing to take reasonable care; the AFL’s breach caused the player’s injury and the player’s injury was not too remote a consequence of the breach.

  194. McIver (2017).

  195. Lines (2007), p. 6.

  196. Lines (2007), p. 8.

  197. Opie, too, recognises the distinction between the rules enacted for the actual playing of the sport compared with rules which pertain to what he describes as the “delivery of the infrastructure” (which this assignment has referred to as the compulsory framework) however he asserts that, given the inherent fluidity between the two concepts, “caution should be exercised in making too firm a distinction between the rules of play and the rules relating to infrastructure.”.

  198. As outlined previously, each of the participants within the three competitions is registered with the governing body pursuant to a contract with the competing club. Within the AFL contract there is agreement to: provide a safe working environment to the amount required by statute, notification of pregnancy, provision of medical advice and treatment, use of health information for research purposes; within cricket there is agreement to: notify injuries, sharing of medical records, notification of pregnancy, restrictions on delivery of medical treatment.

  199. Minimum medical standards are in place across each sport which clubs and players are contracted to comply with. They deal with areas such as medical testing, availability of doctors and physiotherapists, maintenance of medical records, supplement guidelines, and concussion guidelines.

  200. Competitions Regulations ostensibly have a broad remit and aim to promote the proper conduct and professional standards within their relevant competition. The Competition Regulations may or may not form part of the constitutional framework that specify the rules and regulations for the administration of the playing, participating, coaching and officiating in football within governing bodies jurisdiction.

  201. Performed in accordance with the Laussane recommendations, for example.

  202. Opie (2002b), p. 8.

  203. The Wet Bulb Globe Temperature is a measure of the heat stress in direct sunlight, which takes into account: temperature, humidity, wind speed, sun angle and cloud cover (solar radiation). This differs from the heat index, which takes into consideration temperature and humidity and is calculated for shady areas. It is used as the standard metric throughout sport to manage the exposure of athletes to extreme heat.

  204. For example, the AFL collaborates extensively with the other stakeholders within the AFL to generate its reports into the health and well-being of players which is ultimate used by the administrators to shape policy and build the relevant standards within the laws of the game but also within the standard player contracts, minimum medical standards and competition rules.

  205. Sutradhar v National Environment Council [2006] WL UKHL 33 per Lord Nicholls of Birkenhead at 27.

  206. Lines (2007), p. 4.

  207. Ibid, 5.

  208. For example: within football, FFA mandates that within the W-League only one doctor is required to be present at a match whilst A-League standards require each club to have a doctor; within the W-League a physiotherapist is not required to attend every training session where it is mandatory in the A-League; head coaches within the A-League are required to have a ‘Pro-License’ (which is the highest level of coach education), whilst W-League head coaches are only required to have an A-License (the second highest level of coach education).

  209. For example, FFA has worked closely with stakeholders and global experts to develop minimum medical standards within the A-League with the objective of creating the safest possible environment for players. No such document, however, is in place for the W-League notwithstanding that these players are subject to complex human performance needs and challenges.

  210. Lines (2007), p. 6.

  211. Ibid.

  212. UN Women, Gender Mainstreaming, Concepts and Definitions, available from:

  213. UNAIDS (2011).


  215. Council of Europe, Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights (2010) Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, p7,

  216. United Nations (1979).


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D. Treaties

E. Other

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Correspondence to John Didulica.

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Didulica, J. Changing the game: the legal framework for the laws of the game, management of human performance data and related safety considerations in women’s professional sport. Int Sports Law J 18, 114–135 (2019).

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  • Human performance data
  • Safety considerations
  • Women’s sport
  • Professional sport