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21 November 2019

Sports Law Conference 2019 outstanding success

One of the World’s leading sports law specialists was the keynote speaker at the Annual Sports and Law Conference which took place on Friday 15th November 2019 at Malone Golf Club in Belfast.

The conference, which is organised by the Law Society of Northern Ireland and the NI Sports Forum, is now in its eighth year has become an anticipated feature of the legal and sports calendar.

Michael Beloff QC has had a long and distinguished career in sports law and was Ethics Commissioner for the London 2012 Olympic bid and has been, since 2014, Chairman of the IAAF Ethics Board.

Among his credentials he was described in the Daily Telegraph in 2011 as "probably the most eminent sports lawyer in the world", by the Guardian in 2012 as "the go to man for sporting disputes" and in 2016 by The Times as "by far the UK's and maybe the world's most distinguished specialist in sports law" and by the Daily Telegraph as "the silkiest assassin in sport". 

He was one of a number of speakers who presented at this year’s sports and law conference on the overarching theme of Mediation in Sport.

Over the years the conference has examined important sports law related themes including business and sport, contractual issues, sporting injury risks, equality and good governance as well as issues in the news including the impact of concussion injuries in sport.

The popularity of the conference has been reflected not only in the increasing number of attendees drawn from the legal profession, governing bodies of sport and their clubs but the calibre of speakers which has included Lady Mary Peters and former Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill.

Speaking about the conference, Keith McGarry, conference organiser and solicitor in Conn and Fenton said,

"We were delighted that Michael Beloff QC and Richard Harry, CEO of Sport Resolutions UK came to Belfast and spoke at the Sports Law Conference 2019.

Those attending had the opportunity to hear not only from Michael Beloff QC on the Effective Resolution of Sport Disputes but also from Wilma Erskine, former Secretary Manager of Royal Portrush Golf Club following a hugely successful staging of the 148th Open Championship in July.

All of the contributions underscores the increasing importance of the Northern Ireland Sports Law Conference to the legal, medical and sporting professions throughout the United Kingdom and further afield."

Richard Harry of Sport Resolutions led a moot mediation process with attendees whilst Keith McGarry gave a current law update with local and international issues.

The conference also included a panel Q&A with Michael Beloff QC and Richard Harry who were joined by Bernie Fox of Ulster GAA and local solicitor and triathlon athlete Peter Jack.

Conference attendees also had the opportunity to hear (via a video link) a contribution from Professor Jack Anderson, a member of the Court of Arbitration of Sport and head of the Sports Department in the University of Melbourne.

The conference continues to be supported by the NI Sports Forum and Law Society of Northern Ireland.

Speaking on behalf of the NI Sports Forum its Chairperson, Richard Johnson, said,

"Unfortunately disputes are common place in the world of sport and we are delighted to have such experienced contributors to the Sports Law Conference this year to share their stories".

Commenting about the conference the President of the Law Society of Northern Ireland, Suzanne Rice said:

“The Law Society of Northern Ireland is delighted to support the 8th Sports Law Conference. It remains the definitive Sports Law Conference in both the North and South of Ireland, offering discussion and insight on issues of importance to the legal and sporting professionals. It is an excellent legal and sporting platform which continues to showcase the thought leaders of tomorrow”.      



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