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Lissack and Horlick on Bribery and Corruption; Focus on Sport


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Louis Weston co-authors Chapter 13 of Lissack and Horlick on Bribery and Corruption with specialists at Charles Russell Speechlys to set out the extent and forms of corruption in sport and the relevant legislative and common law powers, and civil and regulatory powers to tackle it.

Louis Weston collaborated with Charles Russell Speechlys LLP‘s Danielle Sharkey and Caroline Greenwell to focus on corruption in sport in Chapter 13.

The commercialisation of sport and the massive influx of income and commercial opportunity that have grown alongside that commercialisation have led to a mirrored growth in corruption in sport in all forms and at all levels. The awards of games, tournaments and competitions are beset by corrupt payments and bribes with notorious examples in FIFA and the Olympics and those with responsibility for governance of sport are not immune from the temptations of simple fraud.

Sporting performance itself is infected by corrupters who seek to profit by match-fixing, match-manipulation and abusing inside information.  The forms of such corruption include doping to win or lose, players, athletes or officials giving unacceptable performances and even the creation of false ‘virtual’ competitions with manipulated outcomes.

The chapter identifies how the national model of sports regulation is limited in its ability to combat corruption and identifies and discusses the international treaties and conventions that have defined the relevant forms of corruption in sport and set out model laws to tackle them. It goes on to review prosecutions in England and Wales and identifies and discusses the application and limitations of the Bribery Act 2010, the Gambling Act 2005 and the common law offence of conspiracy to defraud in addressing corruption in sport in England and Wales.

The chapter then considers how civil remedies of Norwich Pharmacal Orders, Injunctions and Unexplained Wealth Orders might be used domestically in addressing corruption by Sports Governing Bodies.

Finally the chapter considers the international approach to sport corruption and the efforts of foreign jurisdictions to combat corruption in sport and contrasts their targeted legislative and policing efforts with the domestic effort and identifies the need for international multi-jurisdictional cooperation to combat an obviously international problem.

Why read Chapter 13?

Bringing together their varied yet complementary experience of bribery and corruption investigations and sports regulation, Louis, Danielle and Caroline were ideally placed to consider all of these issues and provide their commentary and insights on the future of this ever evolving area.

The key takeaways of this Chapter are that:

  • Bribery and corruption in sport demands specialist international intervention which can only be achieved by cooperation at state level,
  • Domestically the statutory framework and common law offences are not sufficiently focused on corruption of sporting events and the legislature has not drawn on international treaties and conventions which have set out model laws for doing so adopted by other countries.
  • The outcome is that the regulation of corruption in sport falls on Sports Governing Bodies who do not have the state powers or resources to fight corruption and may not be able to use the civil powers available to them.

Read the Chapter

The full chapter is available for Lexis Nexis subscribers here.

About the Authors

Louis Weston who heads up the OTC Sports Group and who specialises in corruption in sport co-authored this chapter on corruption in sport, drawing on his experience over many years in advising and acting for the BHA, BWF, WPBSA, DRA and other national and international sports governing bodies and athletes.

Danielle Sharkey advises on a range of contentious and non-contentious issues including breaches of Regulatory Rules, breaches of procedure, good governance, integrity, integrity education, welfare and doping. She has experience of prosecuting before Sports Disciplinary Tribunals, both in person and as junior to leading Counsel.

Caroline Greenwell acts for corporate and individual clients in relation to a variety of disputes involving breaches of contract and misrepresentations, civil fraud and asset tracing, allegations of bribery and corruption, regulatory and health & safety breaches, breaches of restrictive covenants, and Judicial Review. Caroline has experience of litigating through the Courts domestically and internationally.

Find Out More

If you would like to discuss any of the issues covered in this article please contact Louis Weston directly or via his practice management team; David Smith on +44 (0)20 7427 4905 or Colin Bunyan on +44 (0)20 7427 4886. Alternatively, Danielle and Caroline can be contacted at their London office on +44 (0)20 7203 5000.


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