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09 November 2017

UK’S Greatest Paralympian to speak at Local Sports Law Conference

One of the United Kingdom’s greatest Paralympians has been confirmed as the keynote speaker at the sixth annual Sports and Law Conference taking place on Friday 10th November 2017 at Law Society House in Belfast.

Baroness Tanni Grey Thompson is well known for her success as a Paralympian but also as an advocate in the House of Lords for equality in sports.

She is one of a number of speakers presenting at this year’s sports and law conference on the overarching themes of Duty of Care to Athletes and mental health in sport.

Commenting in advance of the conference, Baroness Grey Thompson Said;

“I am delighted to have been invited to speak at the 6th Annual Sports and Law Conference in Belfast on an issue which I am passionate about.

Following the launch of my independent report on Duty of Care to Athletes, I feel it is both necessary and timely for the sports sector to consider duty of care in its fullest sense and the recommendations contained in my report including a duty of Care Charter and a Sports Ombudsman to hold governing bodies to account for the duty of care they provide.

The sector is arguably under more scrutiny than ever before. We must not leave athletes broken at the end of their careers."

Now in its sixth year, the Sports and Law Conference has become an anticipated feature of the legal and sports calendar.

Originally the idea of Lisburn Solicitor and former Ulster rugby player Keith McGarry, Judge Ken Nixon, and Omagh solicitor and a former leading Tyrone GAA player and u-21 manager Feargal Logan, the sports and law conference has been the natural reaction to an increasing synergy between sport and law between the legal, medical and sporting professions.

Over the years the conference has examined important sports law-related themes including business and sport, disciplinary processes featuring mediation and arbitration, 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 Dame Mary Peters.

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

"We are delighted that Baroness Tanni Grey Thompson and Ian Braid MD of DOCIAsport and former CEO of the British Athletes Commission to Belfast and to speak at the Sports and Law Conference 2017.

We are looking forward to the presentations from Baroness Grey Thompson on duty of care to athletes and from Ian Braid on the challenging area of mental health issues in sport.

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

Also speaking at the conference will be Solicitor Jan Cunningham of Millar McCall Wylie on contractual duties and obligations of sports bodies, Andrew Nixon of Sheridan’s in London who will provide a perspective on the growing E-Sport sector and Paralympian Michael McKillop will be contributing as part of a panel.

The conference will also include a video link 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 and Dr. Neil Partington from Queens University Belfast will also present on the duty of care report.

The conference has been supported over the years by the NI Sports Forum and Law Society of Northern Ireland.

Speaking on behalf of the NI Sports Forum its Chairman, Roy Millar said,

"The law is frequently impacting on sport and this year's Duty of Care conference theme should be foremost in the minds of our member Governing Bodies and their clubs".

Commenting the President of the Law Society of Northern Ireland, Ian Huddleston said:

“The Sport and Law Conference has undoubtedly become a fixture in the legal calendar providing a much-needed platform for sporting, medical and legal professionals to come together to discuss issues of importance and to work towards sharing best practice in sport and law. We are once again delighted to provide our support and facilities for the sports and law conference 2017”.

- ENDS –