The Sports Law Conference 2016 was held recently at the Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration (“KLRCA”) on 8 December 2016. MahWengKwai & Associates (“MWKA”) is proud to be associated with this annual event, not only as one of the sponsors, but also having our Partner and Head of the Sports Law Practice Group, Mr Richard Wee, leading the conference as the Chairman of the Organising Committee.
The conference, in its 4th year, had grown to be the premiere conference for the area of Sports Law in Malaysia. KLRCA was the principal partner and driving force for this year’s edition, collaborating with the newly-formed Sports Law Association of Malaysia (“SLAM”).
The theme for the 2016 conference is “Play by the Rules”, which highlights the value and importance of rules in sports.
H.R.H. Tunku Tan Sri Imran Tuanku Ja’afar took to the rostrum to give the Keynote Address and officiate the opening of the conference. In Tunku’s Keynote Address, Tunku turned the spotlight on the future of Malaysian sports, particularly the Malaysian Sports Tribunal, especially in view of the upcoming SEA Games in 2017 which Malaysia will be hosting. Tunku eloquently presented his vision of the intent of the Olympic Council Malaysia (“OCM”) for the years to come.
The following presentation on sports doping was delivered by our legendary men’s 200 metres champion, the “Flying Doctor”, Tan Sri Dr. Mani Jegathesan, who spoke passionately about rules related to anti-doping steps all over the world and in Malaysia. With the recent doping scandal of the Russian Olympic team, Tan Sri Dr. Mani’s talk was much needed to enhance the understanding of the anti doping process.
For the first time, a unique session called “Hypothetical” took place at the conference. In this discussion, nine leaders of their respective sporting fields took the stage and hypothetical scenarios related to doping and match fixing were posed by the moderator, Mr. Richard Wee. The speakers spoke off-the-cuff and gave insights into the concerns and solutions to overcome some of these dilemmas involving sports. The distinguished panel included:
Speakers from Fédération Internationale de Football Association (“FIFA”), Mr Omar Ongaro, and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), Mr Kelly Sathiraj, presented papers with regards to the rules of the transfer of players and the rules governing security of stadiums respectively. Other than the foreign speakers from FIFA and AFC, a barrister from the UK, Mr Nick De Marco, presented an overview in sports arbitration and its potential in Malaysia. With the proposed Malaysian Sports Tribunal in the horizon, Nick’s talk was not only educational but also inspirational.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Stadium Board of Malaysia, Encik Azman Fahmi bin Osman, delivered a visionary paper of the future of Malaysia’s stadiums. His presentation opened much imagination amongst the delegates.
The conference wrapped up with a special session featuring the captains of three new and emerging sports in Malaysia. Olympian and national swimmer, Mr Jeffrey Ong, moderated the discussion. This session was created to provide a platform for leaders of new and emerging sports to share their concerns and aspirations about their respective sports. The highly engaging and energetic dialogue, talk-show style, was very well received by the delegates to the point that the session extended beyond its prescribed time. The delegates were able to hear about the success stories of the dodgeball and floorball teams, the rise of the cheerleading sports, and the romance of the old traditional dragon boat race re-emerging in Malaysia as a new team event. We hope that through this conference, the exposure to these new and emerging sports will bring them to the forefront of sports.
MWKA hopes to continue to be part of this project to develop and build the practice area of sports law in Malaysia. We are pleased to contribute through our Partner, Mr Richard Wee, who is blazing the way forward.