State Sport Dispute Centre

The State Sport Dispute Centre (SSDC)  was established to provide a confidential and impartial mediation and dispute resolution service for the South Australian sporting community. The SSDC will supply trained and independent member protection information officers, mediators, facilitators and arbitrators who will assist the parties* in a dispute to reach an agreement. 

*Parties must be a member of Sport SA.
In most cases, the SSDC will only be able to provide assistance where the State Sporting Organisation (SSO) has been unable to resolve an issue and the SSDC is engaged by the SSO.


Why is the State Sport Dispute Centre needed?

The SSDC provides an alternative way of settling disputes prior to potential litigation.


Who can use the services of the State Sport Dispute Centre?

Members of Sport SA who enter into a Memorandum of Agreement and ensure that their rules and by-laws are consistent with the process of the SSDC.


What type of disputes can the State Sport Dispute Centre manage?

The Centre can handle a diverse range of disputes, including but not limited to, the following:
• Disputes in the workplace between colleagues, staff and management or between staff and the Board
• Issues relating to disciplinary hearings, selection/non-selection for either teams/squads
• Disputes relating to appointment of coaches/managers/officials
• Employment related matters
• Member complaints of harassment, equal opportunities and discrimination
• Similar grievances under Member Protection Policy or volunteer screening.


Management

The SSDC is managed by Sport SA and overseen by an Advisory Management Committee comprising of a Sport SA Director and staff, current mediators, state sporting organisation representative and Office for Recreation and Sport nominee, supported by a panel of trained Member Protection Information Officers, Mediators and Arbitrators, all with extensive experience in the field.


Memorandum of Agreement

Organisations (must be a member of Sport SA) wishing to utilise the services of the SSDC will enter into an agreement (MOA) with Sport SA which confirms the ability of their organisation to successfully integrate the services provided by the SSDC and to pay applicable fees and charges in return for the provision of a specific service.


What services are provided by the SSDC?

Advice and Referral

Provision of free independent, impartial advice provided in a confidential setting and where it is deemed inappropriate for the SSDC to deal with the specific issue, referral to a more appropriate agency/organisation may be deemed as the most suitable outcome.

These agencies include:
• Equal Opportunities Commission
• Industrial Relations Commission
• Office of the Employee Ombudsman
• South Australian Police
• Families SA (formerly Department of Families and Communities).

Member Protection Information Officers (MPIOs)

Trained MPIOs are the first point of call in a club or sporting organisation for any enquiries, concerns or complaints about harassment and abuse. The officer provides confidential information and moral support to the person with the concern or who is alleging harassment.

Independent Chair (Fees apply)

The provision of a trained and independent person to chair a Tribunal, Disciplinary Hearing or Appeal.

Arbitration (Fees apply)

The formal settling of a dispute by an impartial party who will make a ruling (a binding decision being the outcome) on the matter and will compel both parties to adhere to the ruling.

Policy Development 

Assistance can be provided to sporting organisations to develop grievance policies and procedures, hearing guidelines and appeal processes.


Fees and Charges

Independent Chair: $125 (up to 3 hours) then $100 per hour
Other Services: $125 (up to 3 hours) then $100 per hour
Arbitration: Based on market rates.

Information Brochure

State Sport Dispute Centre process / checklist

Memorandum of Agreement

Evaluation form


Useful links:

Managing allegations of child abuse in sport and recreation - An ORS resource

Play By the Rules - Provides information and online learning about how to prevent and deal with discrimination, harrassment and child abuse for the sport and recreation industry.

ANZSLA the sports law association - Australian and New Zealand Sports Law Association Inc. is a non-profit organisation dedicated to providing education, advocacy and networking opportunities on legal issues in sport to Australian and New Zealand sporting industries.

Everyone in sport deserves respect - Fair Enough - The Office for Recreation and Sport (ORS) initated the "Fair Enough - Everyone in sport deserves respect" campaign, which targets South Australian sport and recreation clubs and encourages them to share the message of unconditional respect with their members.
The aim is to get everyone to respect each other – whether it be parents respecting their kids, kids respecting their coaches or players respecting officials.
The campaign also encourages sport and recreation participants, parents and officials to keep the right perspective when taking part in sport, reminding everyone: 'These are kids, this is a game, the coaches volunteer, the umpires are human, this is not the...'. It is a message the ORS hopes will help deter unwarranted behaviours on and off the field of play.
To assist clubs in sharing the importance they place on respect for all, the ORS has produced a resource kit and a USB.
The resource kit includes:

  • a five-minute 'Fair Enough' DVD
  • discussion notes to help get things started
  • a 'Fair Enough' certificate
  • online resources handout
  • a Fair Enough poster for printing.

The USB contains an introduction featuring elite sportspeople Natalie von Bertouch, Luke Schenscher and Gary Putland and discusses the ways people fail to show respect in sport and suggestions for improvement. It also contains seven 30-second videos from baseball, basketball, cricket, hockey, netball, SANFL and touch footy that organisations can use to enforce the message of respect in fun way. For additional information on Fair Enough or to obtain materials for your organisation, contact Andrew Caldwell, Senior Project Officer Sport Culture and Ethics at the Office for Recreation and Sport, on 8457 1408.

For further information on how the SSDC may be able to assist you, or to discuss issues in a confidential manner, please contact Jan Sutherland on 8353 7755 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Fair Enough             Play by the Rules2