On 29 November 2018, the ACT Government introduced the Controlled Sports Bill 2018 into the Legislative Assembly. The legislation will be debated in early 2019 (date yet to be confirmed). It will commence six months after it passes. Sport and Recreation will be in touch with stakeholders to inform them of the process before commencement. A copy of the updated Bill and associated documents is available under Documents below.
Further questions regarding the Bill or its implementation should be directed to email@example.com.
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 has been 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:
- Defining what is meant by commercial purpose - this has been refined
- Definition of full-contact combat sports - this has now been removed and replaced with light-contact combat sports by exemption
- Questions regarding administrative and notification requirements
- Expressing support for inspectorate and integrity provisions
- Questions regarding the application of the Bill to specific sports
The listening report provides more detail on feedback.
The Government also decided to designate a position of registrar of controlled sports to oversee the main decision-making functions of the legislation. The registrar will be responsible for approving registrations and events, and some other matters.
Detail of the Bill
The Controlled Sports Bill will replace the existing Boxing Control Act 1993.
The Bill proposes a definition of combat sports based on techniques used rather than individual sports.
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."
Further detail on registrations, notifications, and applications for light-contact exemption will be made available prior to the commencement of the legislation.
Controlled Sports Bill 2018 - as presented to the Legislative Assembly on 29 November 2018.
|PDF Version (541 KB)|
Controlled Sports Bill 2018 - Explanatory Statement
PDF Version (229 KB)
Word Version (61.5 KB)
Overview of Changes to existing regulation
The Boxing Control Act 1993 will be repealed when the Controlled Sports Bill 2018 commences. It will remain in operation until this time.
The proposed model moves to 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 registration of officials (from promoters to medical personnel);
- the registration of contestants, subject to appropriate medical clearances;
- the registration of events and approved sporting organisations;
- rules for the conduct of events generally, with minimum standards (e.g. prohibited techniques and age requirements); and
- compliance and enforcement initiatives (e.g. inspectorate functions).
The table below outlines the differences between the current model and the proposed changes for the Controlled Sports Bill 2018:
PROPOSED MODEL – CONTROLLED SPORTS BILL
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:
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 will be 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:
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:
Matters that may be considered include where a person has:
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:
The final fight card is required to be lodged with Sport and Recreation 5 days prior to the event.
Promoters must apply to Sport and Recreation at least 28 days prior to an event and meet the following requirements:
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).
Promoters must provide notification 28 days prior of a non-registered event, including details of the following:
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:
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:
Medical supervision requirements are specified in the Boxing Control (Combat Sports) Code of Practice 2018:
Amateur events have medical requirements specified in the Approved Amateur Body’s rules.
For registered events, promoters must ensure:
Medical practitioners must:
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 SPORTING ORGANISATIONS
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.
Fees are prescribed in regulation.
Fees will be prescribed in regulation.
Sanctions and Offences
Administrative sanctions under the Act include:
Offences under the Act relate to:
Proposed administrative sanctions include:
Proposed offences include:
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:
Inspectors will be used to monitor the conduct of both registrable and non-registrable events.
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.