Changes to the Australian Sports Commission Sports Governance Principles

The Australian Sports Commission has recently announced amendments to its Sport Governance Principles.

The ASC has also announced an increase in the number of Australian sporting organisations it requires to comply with the mandatory elements of the Sport Governance Principles.


In 2012 the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) published Sport Governance Principles detailing ASC’s guidelines about various aspects of the governance of sporting organisations.

In 2013, certain elements of the guidelines that the ASC believes are critical to good governance were made mandatory for the seven Australian sports organisation that receive the highest level of ASC funding (Mandatory Sports Governance Principles).

Recent changes

In early June 2015 the ASC:

  • updated the Mandatory Sports Governance Principles; and
  • announced it will now require the 15 sports organisations that receive the highest level of ASC funding to comply with the updated Mandatory Sports Governance Principles. The ASC has also commented that from time to time it will require additional sports organisations to meet the Mandatory Sports Governance Principles.

The updated Mandatory Sports Governance Principles can be accessed here.

The table below provides a summary of the material changes that have been made to the Mandatory Sports Governance Principles, including the addition of a new principle relating to independent directors (rule 2.7).

Principle description  Principle Additional requirements and changes
Independent directors 2.7 The new principle requires all directors to be independent, regardless of whether they are elected or appointed.

Independence requires that the directors:

  • not be elected by the members to represent any constituent body;
  • not be employed by the organization;
  • not hold any other material office within the organisational structure; and
  • have no material conflict of interest as a result of being a director.

The updated principles also make it clear that it would be a material conflict of interest if a person held both a state-level director or administration position and a national-level position at the same time.

ASC will consider on a case by case basis situations where an international federation has particular requirements relating to board representation of Australians who hold a position with the international federation

CEO not to be appointed to board after leaving role  2.9 This principle now provides that a CEO not be appointed to the board for a minimum period of three years following the CEO’s departure as the CEO. The previous principle simply provided three years as an example time period.
Conflict of interest register which is enforced  2.10 ​This principle now provides that a director must not hold any official position that provides a material conflict of interest. This is contrasted with the previous position, which provided that a director should not hold any official position at state, regional or club level, or other administrative position that provides a material conflict of interest.
Disclosure of administration expenses  3.4 ​Along with the current disclosure of administration expenses, reporting bands for remuneration and associated expenses should be made for all key management personnel rather than the top five staff members in the sport as previously required.

Key management personnel are defined as those persons who have authority and responsibility for planning, directing and controlling the activities of the entity, directly or indirectly, including any director (whether executive or otherwise) of that entity.

​Integrity measures on anti-doping, sports science and match fixing 3.6 ​This principle now places additional obligations on sports in relation to anti-doping and, for the first time, also places obligation on the sports in respect of match fixing.

The principle now additionally requires the Board to:

  • understand their obligations under the sport’s anti-doping policy, national anti-doping scheme and applicable international federation and anti-doping requirement;
  • assist, cooperate, and liaise with ASADA on any alleged anti-doping rule violation, including in relation to the conduct of any investigations or hearings; and
  • ensure there is provision of appropriate education to athletes, their agents, support personnel, officials and staff on their responsibilities under the sports’ anti-match fixing policy and code of conduct.



Martin Ross

Martin practices commercial law and has extensive experience in sports and media contracts and commercial litigation.

Mark Lebbon

Mark is an experienced corporate & commercial lawyer with a particular focus on the sports and media industries.

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