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. Our Senior Associate, Ms Lesley Lim also served as the conference emcee.

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.

Session 2 panelists: (L-R) Ms Beverly Hon, Mr Nick De Marco, Mr Benoit Pasquier, Dato’ Low Beng Choo, H.R.H Tunku Tan Sri Imran Tuanku Ja’afar, Tan Sri Dr. Mani Jegathesan, Ms Khoo Cai Lin, Ms Cheong Jun Hoong and Ms Esti Sciucatti.

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:

  • H.R.H Tunku Tan Sri Imran Tuanku Ja’afar (President, Olympic Council Malaysia)
  • Tan Sri Dr. Mani Jegathesan (Chairman, Medical Committee for the Olympic Council of Asia)
  • Dato’ Low Beng Choo (Secretary General, Olympic Council Malaysia)
  • Ms Khoo Cai Lin (Olympian and National Swimmer)
  • Ms Cheong Jun Hoong (Olympian and National Diver)
  • Mr Benoit Pasquier (Director of Legal Affairs, Asian Football Confederation)
  • Mr Nick De Marco (Barrister at Law, UK)
  • Ms Esti Sciucatti (Owner of Persijap Jepara)
  • Ms Beverly Hon (President, Cheerleading Association and Register of Malaysia (CHARM) and former journalist)

(L-R): Mr Kelly Sathiraj, Mr Omar Ongaro and Mr Nick De Marco

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.

Mr Jeffrey Ong, moderating the final session with Ms Beverly Hon (Cheerleading Association and Register of Malaysia (CHARM)), En Mohamad Heidy bin Mohd Yusoff (Malaysia Dodgeball Federation), En Rizal bin Mohd Razman (Malaysia Floorball Association) and Mr Lee Shih (KL Barbarians Dragon Boat Team).

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.

Some of the delegates who attended the conference with our Mr Richard Wee and Ms Lesley Lim.

MWKA hopes to continue to be part of this project to develop and build the practice area of sports law in Malaysia.

Team MWKA out in full force at this year’s conference!

21 Dec 2016