Controlled Sports - new legislation


Controlled Sports Act - commencing 11 October

The Controlled Sports Act 2019 was passed by the ACT Legislative Assembly in April. After a transition period, it will commence on Friday 11 October 2019.

Questions regarding the Act or its implementation should be directed to controlledsports@act.gov.au.

What Next?

The ACT Government is working through the transition process from the existing Boxing Control Act to the new legislation. The existing law remains in place until it is repealed on 11 October 2019.

A number of regulations and guidance materials are being developed to support the Act. This includes a number of important items for the operation of the law, including:

Consultations

Sport and Recreation will be consulting with interested stakeholders during May and June in relation to some regulations.

How will I apply under the new scheme?

The application process for various pieces of the legislation are currently being developed. These include:

Applications will open prior to the legislation commencing. Matters pertaining to events (both registrable and non-registrable) that are occurring soon after commencement will be prioritised to ensure the transition to the new legislation is as smooth as possible. If you have any questions or concerns please email us at controlledsports@act.gov.au.

Final Legislation

Sport and Recreation would like to thank all of those that provided feedback into the consultations conducted on the draft Bill during August 2018. Your feedback was considered and incorporated into the Bill presented to the Legislative Assembly.

The Government also released the attached Listening Report that summarises the feedback received and actions taken:

Download Listening Report (Word 1.0 MB)

Download Listening Report (PDF 193 KB)

Your feedback regarded a number of key themes:

  1. Defining what is meant by commercial purpose - this has been refined
  2. Definition of full-contact combat sports - this has now been removed and replaced with light-contact combat sports by exemption
  3. Questions regarding administrative and notification requirements
  4. Expressing support for inspectorate and integrity provisions
  5. Questions regarding the application of the Bill to specific sports

During the debate stage of the legislation, a number of changes were made by the Legislative Assembly. These include:

Documents

Controlled Sports Act 2019

Word and PDF versions (opens link in new window)

Controlled Sports Bill 2018 - Explanatory Statements

(revised and supplementary)

Word and PDF versions (opens link in new window)

Definitions

The definition of combat sports proposed in the Bill is:

“A sport or activity in which a person strikes, kicks, hits, grapples with, throws or punches another person”

Light-contact combat sports may be exempted on application (see Section 8). Light contact combat sports are defined as:

"A combat sport that is not likely to involve forceful contact with a person's head, neck, spine or groin."

Overview of Changes from existing model

The Boxing Control Act 1993 will be repealed when the Controlled Sports Act 2019 commences on 11 October 2019. It will remain  operational until this time.

The Controlled Sports Act 2019 will regulate the conduct of specified events involving combat sports or high-risk activities. This will include a comprehensive framework to support health and safety and integrity objectives including:

The table below outlines the differences between the current model and the changes to be implemented under the Controlled Sports Act 2019:

CURRENT MODEL

PROPOSED MODEL – CONTROLLED SPORTS BILL

DEFINITION

Under the Boxing Control Act 1993, boxing is defined as: fist fighting, kickboxing or any other style of fighting in relation to which a class of boxers is prescribed under the New South Wales Act, and includes sparring in any such style*.

By connection to the Combat Sports Act 2013 (NSW), this means that boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai and Mixed Martial Arts form part of the definition. Other sports, such as Judo and Taekwondo are exempted sports.

* The Boxing Control Regulation 2018 clarified what was not a boxing contest, including sparring and demonstration events.

A controlled sport is defined as:

  • contact combat sport; or
  • any other high-risk sport or activity prescribed by regulation.

A combat sport is defined as a sport or activity in which a person strikes, kicks, hits, grapples with, throws or punches another person.

Under this definition, sports like Judo, Kung Fu and Taekwondo are included.

Combat sports may be exempted from requirements of the legislation if it meets the requirements of a light-contact combat sport. An application process will apply to be exempted and will be reviewed regularly. A light-contact combat sport is defined as:

"A combat sport or activity that is NOT likely to involve forceful contact with a person's head, neck, spine or groin".

FORMAT OF EVENTS

Professional events apply for a permit through Sport and Recreation for combat sports covered by NSW Combat Sports Act 2013 (which includes boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai and Mixed Martial Arts) at least 28 days prior to event date.

Amateur events apply for a permit through Sport and Recreation, and are required to be sanctioned by an Approved Amateur Body for combat sports covered by NSW Combat Sports Act 2013 (which includes boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai and Mixed Martial Arts) at least 28 days prior to event date.

Events will be either registered or non‑registrable. An event is a registered event when:

  • the event is held for commercial purpose; or
  • contestants compete for monetary or other valuable reward; or
  • the event is held in a casino; or
  • the event is a sports bookmaking event or held at a sports bookmaking venue; or
  • the event is prescribed by regulation to be a registrable event.

Commercial purpose is defined in relation to an event as, "holding the event as part of a business or otherwise with the intention of directly or indirectly making a profit."

Non – registered events are events that do not meet the criteria for a registered event and are run by an authorised controlled sports body.

REGISTRATION OF OFFICIALS

For professional events only, officials must be registered under the NSW Combat Sports Act 2013.

Screening requirements are based on the requirements for the NSW Combat Sports Act 2013 to be a fit and proper person to be registered as an industry participant or promoter in that class.

The Combat Sports Authority must refer an application for registration as an industry participant in a registration class applicable to a match-maker, manager or promoter, and any relevant accompanying information, that is made in accordance with the NSW Act to the NSW Commissioner of Police for an investigation and determination as to either or both of the following:

(a)    whether the applicant is a fit and proper person to be registered;

(b)    whether it would be contrary to the public interest for the person to be registered.

Officials will be required to register in the ACT, unless registered in another jurisdiction. All promoters and ACT-resident officials must register in the ACT.

Applicants will undergo screening as either an individual or a corporation. Individuals will be required to provide consent for background screening and considerations will be made with regard to certain offences and other matters, including where a person has:

  • ­been convicted or found guilty of a Class A offence (assault of violence, firearms, controlled substances, cheating at gambling, money laundering and organised fraud, and terrorism); and
  • had official’s registration suspended or cancelled under this legislation or a corresponding law.

Matters that may be considered include where a person has:

  • ­been convicted or found guilty of a Class B offence (dishonesty or theft, use of alcohol/ controlled drug/ controlled plant, gambling)

Corporations are subject to the same requirements listed for individuals (for relevant persons), as well as providing the financial report and director’s report for from the last financial year.

Applicants will be checked for criminal history and information held by an entity in relation to the applicant that may be relevant to deciding the application.

The matters detailed above will not automatically mean an applicant is ineligible for registration, rather these matters will be taken into consideration by the Registrar.

REGISTRATION OF CONTESTANTS

All professional contestants must be registered by a regulating jurisdiction such as NSW, VIC, WA and SA. There is an exception for overseas fighters.

Screening requirements for registration vary between jurisdictions, but primarily involve a police security check (sometimes referred to as ‘fit and proper person’ screening).

There is no registration system in place for amateur contestants. This function is assigned to the Approved Amateur Body. The Approved Amateur body also ensures the contests are conducted in accordance with their stipulated rules, supplies all the registered officials and in some instances provides insurance coverage for the event.

ACT residents must register in the ACT. Contestants from other jurisdictions can either register in the ACT or apply to have their registration from a corresponding jurisdiction recognised.

Registration in the ACT for contestants will have the same requirements as those listed under “registration of officials” (individuals) plus specific medical and fitness requirements to determine their suitability to participate as a contestant. This matter will be discussed as part of subordinate legislation development.

REGISTRATION OF EVENTS

Promoters must apply to Sport and Recreation at least 28 days prior to an event and meet the following requirements:

  • supply date, time and venue of event;
  • supply style of contest/s;
  • supply full list of officials, medical practitioner and a draft fight card;
  • supply registration details of officials in regulating jurisdiction;
  • supply registration details of contestants in regulating jurisdiction with current certificates of fitness, serology testing and pre-fight medical clearance;
  • gain Approved Amateur Body approval (for amateur or pro/am events);
  • have appropriate insurance;
  • comply with the Code of Practice; and
  • meeting of any other specified conditions.

The final fight card is required to be lodged with Sport and Recreation 5 days prior to the event.

Registered events:

Promoters must apply to Sport and Recreation at least 28 days prior to an event and meet the following requirements:

  • supply date, time and venue of event;
  • ­supply style of contest/s;
  • supply full list of officials, medical practitioner and a draft draw (final draw to be supplied 5 days prior);
  • ­supply registration details of officials in ACT or corresponding jurisdiction;
  • supply registration details of contestants in ACT or corresponding jurisdiction;
  • provide proof of contestant’s current certificates of fitness, serology clearance (if applicable under risk-based approach);
  • ­have appropriate insurance;
  • ­comply with the Code of Practice; and
  • ­meet any other specified conditions.

The final draw is required to be lodged with Sport and Recreation 5 days prior to the event.

Pre-contest medical clearance for each contestant must be obtained before a contestant is able to compete (in the 48 hours prior to the event).

Non-registered events:

Promoters must provide notification 28 days prior of a non-registered event, including details of the following:

  • date, time and venue of event;
  • styles of contest/s;
  • ­list of officials and contestants (including any specified details such as a draw), if known;
  • ­Authorised Controlled Sports Body approval to conduct event;
  • compliance with the Code of Practice; and
  • ­meeting of any other specified conditions.

Where the details of contestants for a non-registrable event are not known until closer to the event, these may be supplied immediately prior to, or immediately after the event.

Where an event meets the requirements for both a registered and non-registrable event, it is considered a registered event and all contestants and officials must be registered.

CONDUCT OF EVENTS

Code of Practice

All events must comply with the Boxing Control (Combat Sports) Code of Practice 2018. This covers matters such as:

  • ­   medical requirements;
  • ­   venue requirements (including cage and ring specifications);
  • ­   registration requirements;
  • ­   promoter responsibilities; and
  • ­   protective clothing requirements.

All events will be required to comply with a code of practice. Industry will be consulted on its contents in 2019. The Bill states that the contents may include, but are not limited to:

  • ­conduct of events, including techniques and styles;
  • medical requirements and treatment of contestants at events;
  • the number and function of medical practitioners at events;
  • availability and location of medical equipment at events;
  • insurance requirements;
  • reporting requirements;
  • ­venue requirements (including cage and ring specifications);
  • protective clothing requirements;
  • ­procedural requirements for events; and
  • age, experience or qualification requirements for officials.

Consultation on this item will be released in May.

Medical Supervision

Medical supervision requirements are specified in the Boxing Control (Combat Sports) Code of Practice 2018:

  • medical practitioner must be in attendance for the whole of every contest;
  • medical practitioner is provided with unrestricted access to carry out all duties;
  • medical practitioner will complete all inspections and complete all written requirements for NSW for professional events only. This includes pre-contest and post-contest medical exams.

Amateur events have medical requirements specified in the Approved Amateur Body’s rules.

For registered events, promoters must ensure:

  • ­a medical practitioner is present for the whole of every contest; and
  • the medical practitioner is provided with unrestricted access to contestants, the premises, and all required medical equipment.

Medical practitioners must:

  • ­assess the medical condition of each contestant in the 48 hours prior to event (pre-event medical clearance);
  • ensure pre-event medical clearances are completed for each contestant;
  • ­be present for the duration of event;
  • monitor safety and wellbeing of each contestant;
  • assess the medical condition of each contestant as soon as practicable after the event, but before contestant leaves the premises; and
  • complete medical reporting requirements.

A medical practitioner can stop a contest:

A medical practitioner can stop a registered event at any time if the practitioner believes that a contestant competing in the event is no longer medically fit to compete (for example: head injury, fatigue or exhaustion, broken bone, open wound, significant blood loss).

Where a contestant is deemed no longer medically fit to compete, the medical practitioner may recommend the Registrar suspend or cancel the contestant’s registration.

A medical practitioner can recommend the medical suspension or cancellation of registration for any contestant on medical grounds. In these instances a new certificate of fitness will be required to resume registration (except in cases of cancellation where the Registrar agrees with the practitioner’s decision).

Medical supervision of non-registered events will be in accordance with the Authorised Controlled Sports Body rules and approved Code of Practice.

NON-REGISTRABLE EVENTS RUN BY AUTHORISED CONTROLLED SPORTS BODIES

Not applicable – see explanation under ‘Format of Events’ for amateur events conducted by Approved Amateur Bodies.

Promoter of event must notify Registrar of event at least 28 days prior (to ensure it is not a registered event), and have the approval of an Authorised Controlled Sports Body. These events will need to meet requirements specified in regulation (such as having a medical practitioner present, insurance requirements), but will largely be able to self-govern. Consultation on this item will be released in May.

FEES

Fees are prescribed in regulation.

Fees will be prescribed in regulation.

ENFORCEMENT

Sanctions and Offences

Administrative sanctions under the Act include:

  • ­refuse to approve application;
  • approve application subject to condition;
  • suspend or cancel event approval; and
  • refuse to approve body.

Offences under the Act relate to:

  • conducting a contest without approval;
  • participates as unregistered official;
  • participates as unregistered professional boxer (recognised as all specified styles) – male and female offences; and
  • competes as an amateur and is not a member of Boxing Australia.

Proposed administrative sanctions include:

  • refuse to register applicant;
  • ­impose condition on official’s registration;
  • ­refuse to renew official’s registration;
  • ­suspend or cancel official’s registration;
  • refuse to register applicant;
  • impose condition on contestant’s registration;
  • refuse to renew contestant’s registration;
  • suspend or cancel contestant’s registration;
  • refuse to register event;
  • impose condition on event registration; and
  • suspend or cancel event registration.

Proposed offences include:

  • conduct registrable event without registration;
  • conduct registered event in breach of condition;
  • unregistered official at registered event;
  • official participate at registered event when given notice of intended cancellation or suspension of registration;
  • conduct registered event with unregistered official;
  • unregistered contestant at registered event;
  • conduct registered event with unregistered contestant;
  • participate at registered event as both official and contestant;
  • registered promoter, official, contestant in breach of approved code of practice;
  • ­ conduct registered event without registered medical practitioner;
  • ­conduct registered event without contestant pre-event medical clearance;
  • ­contest registered event without pre-event medical clearance;
  • ­person other than approved controlled sports body conduct non-registrable event;
  • conduct non-registrable event without telling Minister; and
  • approved controlled sports body at non-registrable event in breach of approved code of practice.

Inspectors

The Boxing Control (Combat Sports) Code of Practice 2018 states that:

“Officers of the ACT Government authority or their associates, in the course of their duties are to be provided with access free of charge to all combat sport contests, including medical examinations and weigh-ins and are to be provided with a seat at the ring/ cage side with unobstructed view of the fighting area. The Officer/s have the authority to temporarily suspend or stop a fight in accordance with their duties”.

Inspectorate powers will be established by the Bill. This includes:

  • the appointment of inspectors;
  • identity card requirements;
  • power to give directions;
  • power to enter premises;
  • production of identity card;
  • consent to entry;
  • general powers on entry to premises;
  • power to require name and address;
  • ­power to seize things; and
  • receipt for things seized.

Inspectors will be used to monitor the conduct of both registrable and non-registrable events.

ADVISORY COMMITTEE

There is no advisory committee under current legislation.

The Bill provides for the establishment of an advisory committee. The advisory committee must include people with an interest in controlled sports, such as industry members.

The advisory committee is to inform or advise the Minister about controlled sports.