Sport Solution Clinic

Sport Solution Clinic

The Sport Solution Clinic is a program of AthletesCAN, the association of Canada’s National Team and Olympic Athletes, in conjunction with Western Law School. Sport Solution is the only program of its kind in North America and is available to all members of AthletesCAN.

Our Mission

Sport Solution is committed to supporting an athlete-centred sport system and strives to achieve this objective by counselling and advocating on behalf of Canada’s high performance athletes so their voices are properly represented when resolving the sport related issues that affect them.

The Clinic

Sport Solution offers Western Law students the opportunity to assist Canadian athletes in preventing and resolving sport-related legal issues. Each year 8 first-year law students join the Clinic as caseworkers, whose responsibilities range from legal research to drafting of athlete agreements. 4 upper-year students provide mentor support as case managers, facilitating the relationship between athletes and caseworkers. 6 upper-year Program Managers oversee the Clinic as a whole, interacting with athletes and National Sport Organizations (NSOs) while directing the day-to-day operation of the Clinic in a leadership role. Program Managers are hired following their first year and hold the position until graduation, but are able to seek summer employment away from the Clinic following second year.

Clinic Director

Layth GafoorLayth H. Gafoor

Layth is a proud alumnus of York University, where he received both of his degrees. He is a partner at Lucentem Sports & Entertainment in downtown Toronto. In his practice he advises on legal and business matters within the sports and entertainment industries. His practice has allowed him to serve as a counsel and agent to a variety of sporting organizations, teams, elite professional athletes and artists. He also provides legal advice and representation to clients in the music, film and television industries.

His experience in the area of sports law has allowed him to become one of Canada’s leading television and media legal commentators. He is called upon to cover a wide variety of national and international sports stories and analyze them from a Canadian legal frame work. He regularly lectures at leading universities throughout Canada and the United States in the area of comparative American and Canadian jurisprudence as it relates to sports and entertainment matters.

Layth is the Director of the Sport Solution Legal Clinic at the University of Western Ontario Faculty of Law, where he is also an adjunct faculty member teaching sport law. He also holds seats on the Sports Lawyers Association (SLA) Board of Directors and the York University Alumni Association Board.

Program Managers

James SifakisJames Sifakis

James is a third-year student at Western Law. He graduated with distinction from Western’s Honours Finance specialization as part of the BMOS program. James has been involved in competitive sports from an early age, competing in both football and hockey. In 2009, he represented Team Canada at the Junior World Football Championships in Canton, Ohio winning silver. In January 2010, James was selected to the IFAF World Select Team to play against Team USA as part of the International Bowl in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Having joined the Western Mustangs in 2011, James represented the school for five seasons, making three appearances in the Yates Cup, winning the trophy in 2013. Off the field, James participated in school visits and football camps, teaching basic drills to students and young players, as well as giving anti-bullying speeches. Prior to attending Western Law, James’ work experience has ranged from sales clerk at a sporting goods store to logistics and client service in the hospitality industry.

James is eager to continue his support of Canadian athletes throughout his third year at Sport Solution Legal Clinic. This is an unparalleled opportunity to give back to the athletic community while continuing his legal studies.

Rachel IslamRachel Islam

Rachel is a third year law student at Western. She earned a degree in Political Science with a concentration in Pre-law and graduated Magna Cum Laude honours from Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU). She was recruited to MTSU on a full athletic scholarship for track and cross country running. During her time as an NCAA Division I student-athlete, she was a Conference finalist six times, and a Conference Champion with her relay team in 2013. Additionally, her cross country team earned Academic All-American honours in 2014. Rachel served as a student-athlete leader and ambassador during her undergraduate years. She also had the opportunity to work as an intern on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. for a Congressman during the summer of 2013.

Rachel’s sports background also included elite participation in soccer and figure skating, as well as being an accomplished dancer. Rachel remains active by running and partaking in soccer intramurals. She also is the co-chair for the Western Law Games team.

Rachel has been involved for two years with the Sport Solution Legal Clinic and is motivated to remain involved with Sport Solution while maintaining its standards of excellence in serving and supporting Canadian athletes.

Connor AllisonConnor Allison

Connor is a second year student at Western Law. Prior to law school, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree with an Honours Specialization in Kinesiology as well as a Master’s degree in Sport Management and Leadership, both from Western University.  His graduate research focused on executive leadership development in sport.  As a component of the Master’s degree, Connor completed a full-term internship with the Canadian Olympic Committee in Montreal. At Western Law, Connor is the Chair of the Sports Committee, holds an executive position on the Wellness Committee and the Entertainment and Sports Law Association, and is a class representative on the Student Legal Society.

Connor’s sport background includes elite participation in hockey and lacrosse.  While in undergrad, he joined the London Nationals Junior Hockey Club, representing the team for two seasons, winning two conference championships and the organization’s first Sutherland Cup.  After finishing hockey, Connor gained valuable work experience with the Western Sport and Recreation Services. There he was responsible for the coordination of game-day operations for the Western Mustang varsity athletic teams/clubs.

The Sport Solution Legal Clinic is an incredible opportunity to support and empower Canada’s high performance athletes, and Connor is excited to serve their legal needs.

Umar KhanUmar Khan

Umar is currently in his 2nd year of the JD program at Western. He graduated from York University with both a B.A. in Law and Society and an M.A. in Political Science. During his first year at Western Law, Umar was a Caseworker with the Sport Solution Clinic and a Student Ambassador. He was also awarded the Malcolm J. McKinnon award. Prior to attending Western Law, Umar spent 12 years as a competitive track and field athlete, specializing in the shot put. He is a 15-time Provincial medalist, and 4-time National medalist. He was also a member of the CIS Men’s National Championship Team. In his graduating year, he was awarded the Charles Saundercook Memorial Trophy.

Umar is still heavily involved in the track and field community. He regularly coaches, officiates, and conducts clinics so that others may benefit and gain from his knowledge. In 2015, he worked for the CBC at the Toronto Pan Am/Parapan Am Games as a media spotter stationed at the throwing events.

Umar is excited to support athletes through the Sport Solution Legal Clinic. This is a unique and unparalleled opportunity to combine his passion for sports with his legal studies.

Claudia Warner-RomanoClaudia Warner-Romano

Claudia is a second year student at Western Law. She recently earned a Master of Library and Information Science from the University of Toronto (UofT). She also holds a Bachelor of Arts with Honours from Trent University, as well as a Master of Arts in History (also from UofT). Prior to joining Western Law’s Class of 2019, Claudia worked in various researcher and information specialist roles in both the academic library and not-for-profit settings. In her first year as a law student, she worked as a caseworker for the Sport Solution Clinic and sees the experience as one of the highlights of her law school career thus far. Moving into the role of program manager, Claudia is excited to continue to draw upon the skills her research background has afforded her so as to serve the legal needs of Canadian athletes. 

In recognizing the pivotal role the Clinic plays in advocating on behalf of Canada’s athletes, Claudia is motivated to continue to uphold the standards of excellence Sport Solution has become synonymous.

Lucy WuLucy Wu

Lucy is a 2nd year law student at Western. She earned a double major in Forensic Science and Biology from the University of Toronto. During her last year of undergraduate studies, Lucy completed an internship with Halton Regional Police Service. Her research led to the first purchase of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) for the division. She subsequently presented her research at the annual Toronto Police Education Conference.

Lucy was involved in competitive swimming at a high level with Scarborough Swim Club. She then went on to race with the University of Toronto Mississauga Masters Swim Club during her undergraduate years. She has ten years of combined racing and coaching experience, working with children and adult alike.

Lucy joined Sport Solution in 2016 as a 1L Caseworker. She appreciates the opportunity she has been given and is looking forward to continuing to work with the Clinic in her new role.

Services

Sport Solution responds to the needs of athletes on a full range of issues including:

General Inquiries and Concerns
Call Early! Sport Solution provides athletes with the relevant information to answer any sport-related legal question. This can often have a preventative function – if the athlete is given the proper information regarding a seemingly small inquiry at an early stage, this will reduce the likelihood that the situation will evolve into a more serious issue in the future.

National Sport Organization Procedures
National Sport Organizations (NSOs) are the bodies that govern sports in Canada (for example, Volleyball Canada). When procedural issues between athletes and NSOs arise, Sport Solution students research and analyze established policies to provide athletes with a clear understanding of their claim or the tools to resolve the situation.

Mediation and Arbitration
The Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada (SDRCC) is a national alternative dispute mechanism tailored to the fit the needs of the Canadian sport community. If an athlete has an issue that is serious enough to require the services of the SDRCC, Sport Solution students advocate on behalf of athletes throughout the entire process, whether it is through mediation or the more advanced stages of an arbitration.

Appeals
If an NSO renders a decision that an athlete disagrees with, Sport Solution can assist the athlete in appealing the decision (on procedural grounds). Common appeal issues include team selection, funding and doping. Sport Solution students assist athletes at all levels of appeal, from the internal appeal within the NSO to the SDRCC.

Specific Issues We Handle

  • General Inquiries and Concerns
  • NSO Procedures
  • How to Prepare for NSO Appeals and Arbitration at the SDRCC
  • Athlete Agreements
  • Corresponding With an NSO

The areas of administrative sport law dealt with at the clinic are:

  • Team Selection
  • AAP Funding / Carding
  • Discipline
  • Harassment
  • Other Sports Related Legal Concerns

Sport Solution Publications

AthletesCAN produces a quarterly newsletter called AthletesNOW. Sport Solution provides regular content that reviews common concerns within the sporting community and tips on how to deal with these topics.

The 2008 Western Law Alumni Magazine featured an article about the Sport Solution Clinic.

Hours of Operation

2017 Summer Office Hours: [May 1st – September 1st]

  • Monday to Friday 10am-5pm Eastern Standard Time

2017 Fall Semester Regular Office Hours: [September 6th – December 1st]

  • Monday to Friday 10am-5pm Eastern Standard Time

2018 Winter Semester Regular Office Hours: [January 8th – April 13th]

  • Monday to Friday 10am-5pm Eastern Standard Time

2017/18 Sessional Dates Where the Clinic Will Be Closed

  • November 6th – 8th ADR (First Year)/Study Days (Upper Years)
  • December 11th – 22nd Fall Term Examination Period
  • December 22nd – January 7th Winter Break

Contact Information

Toll Free: 1-888-434-8883
Tel: (519) 661-4163
Fax: (519) 661-2153
Email: sportsolution@athletescan.com
Skype: Sport_Solution_Clinic

Check out our Facebook page!

Prospective Students: If you have any questions regarding Sport Solution, or how to get involved, do not hesitate to email us.

Athletes: CALL EARLY! Sport Solution can better address your needs before the problem escalates. At the Sport Solution, you, the athlete, control the dispute resolution process - we're here to give you the tools to resolve the problem.

Before making contact, it is recommended to organize any relevant information you may have available into digital files creating a background of your situation. This will allow the program managers to efficiently investigate the issue and provide you with a timely response.

Disclaimer

Sport Solution is a program of AthletesCAN, the association of Canada's national team athletes. The Program Managers, case managers and caseworkers of the Sport Solution program are law students who can provide athletes with legal information and resources on: sport dispute resolution procedures, athlete agreements and contracts, selection and discipline procedures in sport, and related legal and policy issues.

The Sport Solution Program Managers, case managers and caseworkers are not lawyers and they cannot provide legal advice or opinion. AthletesCAN respects an individual's privacy and any personal or confidential information that is provided to the Sport Solution will be used solely to assist the athlete with their issue or concern, and will not be shared with others without the athlete's consent.