On 10 October 2015, around 30 barristers convened at the Neil McPhee Room, Owen Dixon Chambers East, in Melbourne to attend the 5rd Annual Sports Law Conference chaired by Anthony Klotz of the Victoria Bar.
Chris Nikou, Partner, K & L Gates, and director of Melbourne Victory and of Football Federation Australia spoke about the state of football in Australia including the fact that football has over 7.7 million fans in Australia and has the highest participation rates of any team sport with over 1,983,00 registered players, Scott Munn CEO Melbourne City spoke about “The City Group and A-League participation”, Anthony Nolan QC of the Victoria Bar spoke about a number of legal issues associated with and arising from “The Blackest Day in Australian Sport” and Rodrigo Vargas, ex-Melbourne Victory and Socceroo player spoke about the challenges faced by a professional athlete after sport and the work that he is undertaking in the community including with young offenders in prison.
A special thanks to Anthony Klotz, Chris Nikou, Scott Munn, Anthony Nolan QC and Rodrigo Vargas for giving generously of their time to ensure the success of the conference and to all those who attended.
Bar Football "State of Origin"
Immediately following the Sports Law Conference, 45 barristers drawn from Queensland, Victoria and NSW met at the Green Gully Soccer Club at St Albans to take part in the 8th Annual Suncorp NSW Bar v Vic Bar Annual Challenge Cup and the 6th Annual Suncorp NSW Bar v Victoria Bar v Queensland Bar Annual Football Challenge Cup.
The touring squad, keen on avenging the series defeat of 2014, comprised Adrian Canceri, Rohan de Meyrick, John Harris (Capt), Geoff O’Shea, Simon Philips (Acting Manager), Greg Watkins, Anais d’Arville, Colin Magee, Graham Turnbull SC, David Patch, Scott Goodman, Michael Fordham SC, Sebastian Hartford Davis, Richard Sergi, Oshie Fagir, Angus Lang and Anthony Lo Surdo SC. Important duties in Madrid and Barcelona (holidays) prevented Manager David (Sir Alex) Stanton from attending this year.
The first game was between a depleted Queensland team consisting of only 6 regular members (Lee Clark, Andrew Luchich, Andrew Skoien, David Purcell, Michael Hodge and David Chesterman) but ably assisted by NSW Bar FC members de Meyrick, Fagir, O’Shea, Fordham SC and Capt Harris (in goals) against a somewhat youthful and numerically strong Victorian team. Despite some individual brilliance, the Victorians were unable to convert with Queensland defeating Victoria 3 – 0 (with goals to de Meyrick and Fagir [NSW] and Lee Clark [Qld]).
The second game was between NSW and Queensland whose numbers were swelled by Victorian barristers who had already played an hour of football in warm conditions. NSW proved too strong for Queensland running in 3 goals (Di Michiel, Philips and Lang) to nil. Special mention must be made of the rock-solid defence provided by Magee, Philips, Fordham SC, de Meyrick, O’Shea and d’Arville. Best on ground for NSW was Angus Lang and for Queensland Andrew Luchich.
The last game saw NSW backing up for a second hour of football against a rested Victorian team in 28 degree temperatures and with storm clouds ominously building. NSW started strong with an opening goal within minutes of the whistle to di Michiel. Though the Victorians exhibited moments of brilliant passing football with occasional counter-attacks which sent the NSW backline scurrying to cover, very few if any serious attempts on goal materialised and the Victorian defence crumbled under the sustained pressure of the NSW mid-field shared by Lang, Watkins, Fagir and Sergi and of the forward line of Canceri, Di Michiel, Hartford Davis, and David (Patchaldino) Patch (before heroically hobbling off injured late in the second half). Di Michiel bagged a hat-trick and Canceri scored twice to hand NSW a resounding 5 nil victory. Best on ground for NSW was Richard di Michiel and for Victoria Andrew Babbianos.
World order has been restored with the silverware is now bound for the trophy cabinet in the NSW Bar Association.
Like all good football sides, NSW Bar FC will be recruiting heavily in the off-season. We look forward to welcoming new members to the squad in 2016. If you are interested in joining the team please email David Stanton (firstname.lastname@example.org) to join the mailing list. If you would like to attend or speak at the 6th Annual Sports Law Conference next year please contact Anthony Lo Surdo SC (email@example.com or 9223 3181).