Sport + Associations

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You might be an athlete who has been disciplined or called to a tribunal.  Or a peak sports body in negotiations with the governing body or reviewing integrity matters.  Someone may have breached your image rights.  Or you are negotiating a better playing contract or sponsorship deal.

Athletes, management and associations are in the business of sport.  Like any business, their respective interests intersect with those of owners, sponsors, competitors and regulatory and governing bodies. 

At Johnston Legal + Advisory we represent and advise professional athletes and player associations in State and National tribunals and disciplinary matters.  We advise athletes and management on contract and sponsorship disputes and negotiations.  We advise peak sport bodies and associations on governance matters, including constitutions and policies, regulation and compliance, member protection and welfare.


We understand the difference between legal and commercial drivers, particularly in sport.  On top of that, we are increasingly aware of the human element in sport and the importance that comes with athletes being brands.  They are their own business.

In our dealings with sport and associations, we make sure we understand the framework that governs each situation, or the 'playing field' so to speak.  We then work out the key objectives, long term goals (particularly in short careers), the crux of the dispute (particularly in associations, where legacy issues abound) and who can, and should, do what. 

And we do all of this discretely and efficiently, which is crucial in this field.  We also just have a passion for sport and fair play.




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We have acted for:

  • International energy drink company in sport sponsorship negotiations (NSW, 2019)

  • SA state organisation in salary cap tribunal and other tribunals (counsel assisting) (SA, 2018 - 2019)

  • SA state organisation on policies, risk management, code of conduct and judicial procedure (SA, 2018)

  • SA local organisation in relation to Shooting Australia code of conduct (SA, 2018)

  • SA state association in relation to employee matters, defamation and their constitution (SA, 2017)

  • National football players association on appeal against FFA arbitration on FIFA World Cup matters (NSW, 2016)

  • National football players association (and current national player) in relation to potential sponsorship issues and issues arising under the FFA Collective Bargaining Agreement (NSW, 2016)

  • National football players association and player on appeal before national FFA Appeal Panel (NSW, 2016

  • NSW state sports association on tribunal hearing and appeal (NSW, 2015)

  • Current national rugby union player in Australian Rugby Union Code of Conduct hearing for alleged breaches of ARU Code of Conduct and playing contract (NSW, 2014)

  • International energy drink company on contractual/IP issues in relation to V8 Supercars, surfing (NSW, 2012 - 2014)