2023 The year the Silverware went South

Anthony Lo Surdo SC
David Stanton
Simon Philips

The NSW Bar Football Club (Bar FC), now in its 16th season, is open to barristers, members of the judiciary, associates and tipstaves, clerks and employees of the Bar Association regardless of gender, level of ability or fitness. It currently consists of over 95 members.

Domain Soccer League

Between April and September each year Bar FC compete in the Domain Soccer League, a lunchtime competition in the CBD that includes bankers, lawyers, recruiters and other business teams. 2023 saw the competition reduced for the second year to one division. It was a tough year for Bar FC, often meeting younger and fitter teams. Nevertheless, Bar FC stayed true to its principles and ensured that all players, regardless of ability or experience, were included in the team. Though it was tough, Bar FC managed to draw on five occasions and pulled off a win during the competition.

Bar FC was also able to blood some new talent with Anthony Khoury, Lachlan White (tipstaff to Lindsay J), Ajay Sivanathan, Alexander Ionita, Ahmed Rizk, Sudarshan Kanagaratnam and Elizabeth Lambert joining the team.

Bar FC would like to thank Peden J and Lo Surdo SC for officiating in the competition, both bringing impartiality and professionalism to the task at hand, sometimes in the face of strong opposition. Those bankers and recruiters can get a little rowdy at times.

The NSW and Victorian teams (bookended by Qld stalwarts Andrew Skoein (L) and Johnny Selfridge(R)) at the end of the 2023 Tri-State Bar Football Tournament

Annual Sports Law Conference

The Annual Sports Law Conference was held at the Green Gully Soccer Club, Keilor Downs, Victoria on 16 September 2023. The Conference was chaired by Justice Melanie Sloss of the Supreme Court of Victoria and was attended by more than 40 barristers (including the President of the Victorian Bar, Simon Hay KC and the former president of the Queensland Bar, Rebecca Treston KC).

Victorian Coroner Simon McGregor provided an interesting overview of the work of the Coroner including a fascinating insight into ‘death trends’ in Victoria over the last 12 months and the ongoing inquest into the death of former AFL player and professional boxer Shane Tuck, who was diagnosed with CTE.

Daniel Nguyen of the Victorian Bar introduced the history of CTE, provided an overview of the differing concussion rules across some the major codes and explored the potential liability of clubs and sports administrators in respect of play-induced injuries.

Justice Jack Forrest of the Supreme Court of Victoria spoke about anti-corruption in sport noting that the extraordinary growth of sports betting and especially online betting platforms has given rise to complex regulatory challenges. He addressed the difficulties experienced by sports administrators and regulators in detecting and curbing corrupt activities.

David ‘Patchaldino’ Patch and Simon Philips exchange pleasantries with Victorian Bar President, Sam Hay

Ivan Griscti of the NSW Bar led a discussion on the topic ‘Jurisdiction in sports’ with a case study involving a contractual dispute between an A-League club and a former player of international repute which was the subject of arbitral proceedings in the Football Australia Dispute Resolution Chamber and where the enforceability of the award was challenged in the Supreme Court of NSW based on a jurisdictional argument.

The ‘State of Origin’ or Tri-State Football Tournament – Suncorp Perpetual Trophies

At the conclusion of the Conference some 45 barristers converged on the Green Gully Soccer Club football ground under warm, sunny, early spring skies, to compete in the Tri-State Football Tournament. NSW Bar FC was defending each of the Suncorp Perpetual Trophies.

The NSW Bar FC squad comprised David Stanton (Manager), David Patch, Adrian Canceri, Rohan de Meyrick, Danielle Wood, Simon Philips (C), Nicholas Olson, Thomas Liu, Hugh Morrison, Ivan Griscti, Andy Munro, Vahan Bedrossian SC, Gillian Mahony SC, Despina Christofis and (on debut) Elizabeth Lambert and Ajay Sivanathan.

The first game saw NSW pitted against Queensland. Rumour had it that Rebecca Treston KC used all her powers of persuasion (including the incentive of dinner at a swanky Melbourne eatery) to lure some of Queensland’s best and brightest footballers to Melbourne. Even so, NSW proved too strong for Queensland with unanswered goals to Liu, Morrison, Olson and Sivanathan sealing Queensland’s fate in a commanding 4-nil victory to NSW, refereed by Anthony Lo Surdo SC.

Queensland was, to use a cricketing analogy, forced to follow on, to play the Victorians. Despite a gutsy and spirited performance, the Queenslanders were no match for a refreshed and energetic Victorian team which prevailed 4-nil.

This result set up what became a winner-take-all battle for the final game of the tournament between Victoria and NSW. The Victorians were pumped from their win over Queensland, and from the opening whistle it was clear that they meant business. That enthusiasm was curbed by NSW who repelled sortie after sortie with keeper Philips keeping a clean sheet for the first half. NSW had its chances in the first term but failed to convert.

The break heralded a change of keeper (Patchildino). A physically ailing NSW could not deny the combination of tenacity and self-belief which Victoria carried into the second half, with two goals conceded sealing NSW’s fate, falling to Victoria 2-nil.

All smiles for the NSW Bar FC 2023 touring party

Victoria emerged as comfortable and well-deserving overall winners. The Suncorp Perpetual Trophies have a new home for a year. Special thanks to the President of the Victorian Bar Association, Sam Hay KC who presented the trophies to Tony Klotz on behalf of the Victorian Bar team, and to Suncorp for their continuing and generous support of the Tri-State Tournament and NSW Bar FC.

The future

The Bar Football State of Origin and Annual Sports Law Conference will be hosted by the Queensland Bar Association on a date to be advised in September 2024.

NSW Bar FC provides an ideal opportunity for barristers to meet and mix with other barristers, judges and members of the profession in a healthy way. We look forward to welcoming new members to the squad.

If you are interested in playing please email David Stanton (d.stanton@mauricebyers.com) to join the mailing list. BN

If you would like to attend or speak at the Annual Sports Law Conference, please email Anthony Lo Surdo SC (losurdo@8wentworth.com.au).

Rohan de Meyrick appeals a dodgy decision!

Anthony Lo Surdo SC

8 Wentworth Chambers

David Stanton

Maurice Byers Chambers

Simon Philips

12 Wentworth Selborne Chambers