Finnigan v NZRFU (1985)

  • Chris Davies
Part of the ASSER International Sports Law Series book series (ASSER)


When the New Zealand Rugby Football Union (“NZRFU”) accepted an invitation to tour South Africa in 1985, two plaintiffs sought an injunction to prevent the All Blacks from leaving the country. The main issue was of standing, with it being held that, despite the plaintiffs not being members of the NZRFU, there were interlocking contracts with the local clubs, of which they were members, which provided a sufficient link with the national governing body. An injunction was therefore granted on the basis that there was a prima facie case that it was in the public and national interest that the tour be prevented from taking place. Accordingly, the tour was cancelled, even though the matter did not go to a full trial. Within a decade, the All Blacks were playing against South Africa and the apartheid system, which the plaintiffs were opposed to, had been abandoned. The Finnigan proceedings encapsulate the relationship between sport and politics but also have some relevance to contemporary sport’s attitude to racism and discrimination on the field of play.


Rugby League Prima Facie Case Privy Council Fast Bowler National Rugby League 
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Copyright information

© T.M.C. ASSER PRESS, The Hague, The Netherlands, and the author(s) 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of LawJames Cook UniversityQueenslandAustralia

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