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. 5 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

Matt McGuckinMatt McGuckin

Matt is a third-year law student at Western. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with an Honours Distinction Major in Political Studies and a Minor in History from Queen’s University. Prior to joining Western Law’s Class of 2020, Matt worked as a Project Coordinator at Fermar Paving. In his first year of law school, he worked as a caseworker for the Sport Solution Clinic and sees the experience as one of the highlights of his law school career to date. 

Matt’s sport background includes elite participation in hockey and lacrosse. Further, it includes participation in soccer, golf and rugby. He remains active by participating in Western Law’s Competitive Hockey team as well as various intramural sports.

Matt is looking forward expanding his role with the clinic as a Program Manager with the Sport Solution Clinic. This is a unique opportunity to continue to empower Canadian athletes while continuing his legal studies. Matt is motivated to remain involved in the athletic community while maintaining the Clinic’s standards of excellence in serving and supporting Canadian athletes.

Christina SkinnerChristina Skinner

Christina is a third-year law student at Western. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with an Honors Double Major in French Studies and Criminal Justice, graduating with distinction from Western University. Prior to law school, she gained valuable experience while living and working in France, and also while doing negotiation and mediation work as a caseworker for Toyota Canada. During her first year at Western Law, she won the Dispute Resolution Centre Mediation Competition with her partner, and has been involved as an executive committee member on the Health Care Law Association. 

Christina has been involved in competitive soccer at a high level with a variety of clubs from a young age, totaling over 17 years of playing experience. Her sport background also includes elite participation in volleyball, basketball, and badminton. She remains active by participating in Western intramural teams, as well as other competitive soccer leagues. 

Christina is looking forward to the incredible opportunity to work with and support Canadian athletes as a program manager with the Clinic. This is an unparalleled opportunity to combine her experience and passion for sports with her legal studies.

Vanetia RVanetia R

Vanetia R is a 3rd year law student who is interested in the health law aspect within sport and entertainment law. Through the Sport Solution Clinic, Vanetia has had the opportunity to represent athletes in disputes, whilst discovering her passion for helping individuals navigate the sport-specific world of conflict resolution. Vanetia plans to continue to her clinical work, and hopes to apply the theoretical knowledge she receives as a student in the litigation stream, to her work as a Program Manager of the Sport Solution Clinic.

Margaret MacKinnonMargaret MacKinnon

Margaret is currently a second-year student in the JD program at Western Law. Margaret earned her Bachelor of Commerce degree from Ryerson University where she was in the Business Management program, majoring in Business Law. Prior to coming to Western Law, Margaret gained valuable and practical legal experience working at a boutique law firm in downtown Toronto.

Upon coming to Western Law, Margaret joined the Sport Solution Clinic as a 1L caseworker, and found it to be one of the most rewarding experiences of her life. She also enjoys playing a variety of intramurals at Western Law, including ice hockey and ball hockey. Margaret’s sport background includes participation in a variety of sports including ice hockey, soccer, and ball hockey. She has a particular interest in improving access to, and the promotion of, women’s sports, particularly women’s hockey. Margaret is very much looking forward to continuing in her role as a Program Manager at the Sport Solution Clinic.

Tyler O’HenlyTyler O’Henly

Tyler is a second-year law student at Western. He spent his undergraduate career at the University at Buffalo, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a specialization in Finance. Tyler spent his first year of law school as a case worker for the Sport Solution Clinic.

During his undergraduate career, Tyler was also a three-time letterman on Buffalo’s football team. He developed a passion for athlete advocacy as a Representative on the school’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, an NCAA organization designed to give student-athletes a voice in the formation and administration of policy nationwide. 

Tyler is looking forward expanding his role with the Sport Solution Clinic as a Program Manager. The clinic is a tremendous opportunity to continue supporting and empowering athletes while developing relevant legal skills. Tyler is committed to preserving the Clinic’s standard of excellence in serving and supporting Canadian athletes.

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

2019 Fall Semester Regular Office Hours: [September 3rd – December 6th]

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

2019 Winter Semester Regular Office Hours: [January 6th – April 9th]

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

2019/20 Sessional Dates Where the Clinic Will Be Closed

  • November 4th– 6th ADR (First Year)/Study Days (Upper Years)
  • December 9th– 20th Fall Term Examination Period
  • December 21st– January 5th Winter Break
  • February 17th– 21st Study Week
  • April 13th – May 24th – Winter Term Examination Period

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.