Experts from across sport and legal came together at Brabners' first annual sports update, State of Play 2017, to share their view of the current state of play for UK sports organisations.

The half day seminar hosted by Brabners' Head of Sports Sector, Lydia Edgar, brought key issues facing sporting clubs and bodies of all sizes to the table with presentations from experts in the field.

In an opening state of the nation address, Maurice Watkins CBE, who has operated and advised at senior level in the sports sector for over 40 years, highlighted the challenges facing UK sport particularly Olympic sport following Rio and addressed the question 'are we entering a new era of sports funding and revenue in the UK?' 

With new data regulations due to come into force in May 2018, Brabners' GDPR expert Matt Brown took the room through the rational behind the new regulations and the ICO's emphasis on documentation that data controllers keep to demonstrate accountability. 

  • Understanding what is meant by personal data and how you handle your data under the GDPR Principles.
  • The need to look at employment and membership contracts.
  • The importance of cleansing your data, updating your privacy notices & reviewing your data sharing contracts. 
  • The emphasis on ensuring compliance and training your staff.

Just looking at recent headlines, the state of play in the world of sport and media is tough. Phil Steele, litigation partner and expert in sports and media related disputes, shared his tips for sports bodies, clubs and individuals including: 

  • Understand how to prepare and be aware of the legal issues particularly reporting restrictions.
  • Assemble a team and get the right people around you including PR agents, players agents, legal, HR etc.
  • Set clear goals around what you want to achieve and best and worst outcomes. 
  • When a crisis hits, it is wise to prepare to be doorstepped and know what your responses and remedies are.

Director of Legal at British Swimming, Ash Cox, explored the Code for Sports Governance a year on from its launch. 

  • The four commitments - recognising  and rewarding good governance, single assessment procedure, single assessment programme and databank of qualified candidates.
  • Challenges to integrity in sport including safeguarding, anti-doping, corruption and match-fixing.
  • Structure -  primacy moving decision making from Council to Board.

Olympic medallist and Director of Switch the Play, Beth Tweddle MBE, joined the panel with a closing talk to share her transition story, along with her role at Switch the Play to support current and former athletes to fulfil their potential both through and beyond sport. 

The transition journey and the world beyond the sport; the importance of the 'dual world' and understanding identity away from sport - are key for athletes across all sporting disciplines. 

And a key theme threading through the morning is the key role sport plays in society and the importance of being able to navigate the current challenges to 'stay in the game!' for the future of UK sport.