The recent terminations of the contracts of NRL player, Joel Monaghan and the AFL’s Brendan Fevola, for off-field indiscretions, has highlighted the significance of the bringing the game into disrepute clauses contained in standard player contracts. Tiger Woods’ extra-marital affairs received extensive world wide media attention, and the outcome of this negative coverage was the loss of millions of dollars in sponsorship deals. This indicates that such contracts can be terminated on the basis that a sportsperson’s behaviour was having a negative impact on the sponsor’s image. It is for the same reason that sponsors have put pressure on the governing bodies of team sports to take appropriate action for off-field indiscretions. The Court of Arbitration in D’Arcy v Australian Olympic Committee, has also held that a competitor’s behaviour in an incident where criminal charges were laid, may, in itself be sufficient to bring a sport, or themselves, into disrepute, regardless of whether the competitor is later found guilty or innocent. This case would therefore indicate that these ‘bringing the sport into disrepute’ clauses in standard playing contracts are valid, and allow clubs or sport governing bodies to fine and/or suspend players for off-field indiscretions. The recent incident involving Joel Monaghan also highlights the fact that what happens off the field may become public, not through the traditional media outlets, but through other members of the public making it available on the internet.
"The International World of Sport and the Liability for Off-Field Indiscretions,"
Bond Law Review:
1, Article 3.
Available at: http://epublications.bond.edu.au/blr/vol23/iss1/3