By Dr Justin Koo, The University of the West Indies, St Augustine, Trinidad & Tobago
A Sports Law clinic targeted at representing Caribbean athletes has been launched in the Caribbean.
Described as the first of its kind in the Caribbean, the clinic aims to provide representation to athletes across a wide range of matters, including doping allegations, team selection, general sporting disputes and disciplinary matters. Based in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, the clinic is staffed by Dr Emir Crowne, Toronto-based attorney, Amanda Fowler and Matthew Gayle.
The launch of the clinic comes at an important time in the Caribbean, where there have been a number of high-profile cases involving athletes such as Nesta Carter (Jamaican sprinter – doping); Andre Russell (Jamaican cricketer – doping); Thema Williams (Trinidadian gymnast – team selection dispute); and Rheann Chung and Dexter St Louis (Trinidadian table tennis – team selection dispute).
It was stated that the clinic aims to address the imbalance between athletes and the governing sports bodies. The reality is that many, if not most Caribbean athletes, are financially incapable of affording adequate representation where they are subject to sporting disputes.
Consequently, athletes often lack sound legal advice, giving rise to unfair results, harsh but avoidable sanctions and even, in extreme cases, forced retirement. Thus, the clinic offers pro bono legal representation (on satisfying a means test).
However, the clinic is not just for athletes. Crowne commented that the clinic will also create job opportunities for young lawyers graduating from law school.
It is hoped that the clinic can achieve its goal of providing adequate legal representation to the plethora of talented but financially handicapped Caribbean athletes; and, moreover, that the concept of Sports Law can be further developed. In particular, the creation of further Sports Law jurisprudence in the Caribbean.
More information on the clinic can be found at https://www.thesportslawclinic.com.
Dr Justin Koo may be contacted by e-mail at ‘Justin.Koo@sta.uwi.edu’