Sports Disciplinary Hearing

We recently acted for an Irish amateur darts player in a disciplinary hearing before the Irish National Darts Organisation (the INDO).

The hearing was on foot of an appeal by our client with regards to a 5 year playing ban imposed on him by his County Board for playing in a supposedly non sanctioned event and for allegedly coercing other players to play in the same event.

The INDO lifted our clients ban in full and an apology was issued to our client.

Fair procedures and natural justice were not followed in this case. The sports body in question also failed to adhere to its own rules and regulations and failed to follow its own disciplinary process. The severity of the punishment was also a major issue.

These types of cases are stark reminders for sports bodies that they must abide by the principles of fair procedures when handing down penalties to athletes. They must also ensure that they strictly adhere to their own regulations and constitutions.

Courts have traditionally allowed sports bodies to have a fairly wide degree of discretion with the drafting and policing of their rules and regulations. However the courts will intervene where there are clear abuses of natural justice and a clear failure to implement proper procedures.

McHale Muldoon Solicitors

13 November 2013