The Combat Sports Authority (the Authority) has made rules pursuant to section 107 of the Combat Sports Act 2013 (the Act) (“the Authority Rules“) in respect to combat sports in NSW.
The Authority Rules must be read in conjunction with the Act and the Combat Sports Regulation 2014 (the Regulation).
The Authority is the regulator of combat sports in NSW, not a sport administration body. As a consequence, the Authority does not develop the contest rules for combat sports. This is the responsibility of the relevant sport administration body. However, the Authority has used its powers under the Act to make a number of Authority Rules to support contest rules developed by sports administration bodies, and to reduce the risk of harm to combatants when the contest rules are deemed to be insufficient or inconsistent across combat sport disciplines. Therefore, while combat sport contests held in NSW are conducted in accordance with the contest rules developed by the relevant sport administration body, the contests must not be conducted in a manner that contravenes an Authority Rule or any provision of the Act or the Regulation.
For example, if a sport administration body’s contest rule conflicts with an Authority Rule, the contest must be conducted in accordance with the Authority Rule. If a sport administration body’s contest rule conflicts with a provision of the Act and/or the Regulation, the contest must be conducted in accordance with the provision of the Act and/or the Regulation.
The Objects of the Combat Sports Act 2013 are to:
- promote the health and safety of combat sport contestants,
- promote the integrity of combat sport contests,
- regulate combat sport contests on a harm minimisation basis,
- promote the development of the combat sport industry.
Some of the key changes from the Combat Sports Act 2008 are as follows:
- The role of the Combat Sports Authority will expand to supervise and regulate amateur contests held for public entertainment, as well as professional contests
- Sport will no longer be regulated on basis of whether a combatant is or has been paid (which can be easy to conceal). Regulation will be extended to all contests held for profit, to which the public is admitted on payment of a fee or that are held in licensed premises/casinos. This change is in line with most other jurisdictions across Australia
- Changes include more robust health and safety requirements particularly for amateur combatants and better protection of personal health information
- All combat sports will be covered unless exempted by regulation which ensures new sports are captured
- Amateur combatants will be required to register with the Combat Sports Authority
- All combatants, including amateurs, will be issued with a single medical record book backed up by an online records system that provides up to date information on the health status of combatants
- Move from annual to three yearly registrations
- A more stringent fit-and-proper-person test will apply to everyone registering with the Authority
- New police background checks for promoters, managers and matchmakers
- Clearer definition of promoters and their duties including ensuring serology clearances are current for combatants
- The Authority will gain expanded powers to discipline registered members, exclude people from combat sports related activities, and stop contests for safety and security reasons
- A modernised framework for disciplinary action including provisions for the Authority to issue penalty notices and cautions for relevant offences
- Ministerial approval required for amateur sanctioning bodies to be Approved Amateur Bodies. Approval may be withdrawn or have conditions placed on it
- Co-regulatory model with Approved Amateur Bodies (AAB) for amateur combat sports will be adopted, with capacity for well-functioning AABs to appoint representatives to serve as combat sport inspectors and for reduced government regulation over time.
Combat Sports Regulation 2014
Combat Sports Regulation 2014 commenced on 15 December 2014.
The Regulation provision for the following matters under the Combat Sports Act 2013 (the Act), which regulates the conduct of combat sports and combat sport contests:
- the sports, martial arts and activities that are not included in the definition of the term combat sport, and, therefore, are not regulated by the Act,
- the registration of persons who engage or propose to engage as contestants in combat sport contests (who are called combatants in the Act), including the fee for registration, the conditions that must be imposed on registration, the provision of access to the register of combatants and the granting of clearances for registered combatants,
- the issue of medical books to registered combatants, their replacement, their endorsement or alteration and their surrender,
- the registration of industry participants (match-makers, managers, trainers, seconds, judges, referees and timekeepers) and promoters, including the fee for registration, the conditions that must be imposed on registration and the provision of access to the register of industry participants and promoters,
- the grounds for taking disciplinary action against registered combatants, registered industry participants and registered promoters,
- the granting of permits for combat sport contests, including the fee for permits, the conditions that must be imposed on any permit and the additional conditions that must be imposed on any permit for an amateur combat sport contest,
- the conduct of weigh-ins before combat sport contests,
- the conduct of medical examinations of combatants before, during and after combat sport contests,
- the checking and wearing of protective clothing and equipment during combat sport contests and other aspects of the conduct of combat sport contests, including the persons required to be present and the conduct of persons who are present,
- the obligations of promoters in relation to the conduct of combat sport contests,
- exemptions from obligations under the Act,
- serological clearances for combatants,
- the authorisation of police officers to exercise the functions of combat sport inspectors,
- the issue of penalty notices for offences under the Act or the Regulation.