Asian Cup: Behind the scenes with Victoria Wark

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The job: Senior Legal Counsel, Asian Cup Local Organising Committee
Name: Victoria Wark

How does one go about becoming legal counsel for the Asian Cup 2015 Local Organising Committee (LOC)?

I’ve been with the LOC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Football Federation Australia, since January 2013. Previously, I worked as a senior associate at leading law firm Allens, where I specialised in commercial work for clients in the media, IT and telecommunications sectors and was co-chair of the Law Institute of Victoria’s sports law committee. 

What does your role entail?

As senior legal counsel my role is to assist Stuart Corbishley, the LOC’s General Counsel and Company Secretary, provide legal advice in relation to all aspects of the AFC Asian Cup 2015. In particular I’m responsible for the day-to-day operation of the contract management policy, while assisting in the development of major event legislation and brand protection management. I also provide advice in relation to compliance, corporate governance, employment law, intellectual property, ticketing and general commercial matters.

Hardest part of the job?

A key challenge for any organising committee is that there is a significant amount of work to do in a relatively short period of time. The LOC needs to organise, deliver and pack-up the AFC Asian Cup 2015 very quickly. The legal function is responsible for working with governments to put in place necessary legislation, negotiating agreements to hire venues and buy services and helping to engage a large work force including 1300 volunteers. Everyone is very focused on delivery and all decisions need to be made quickly with the end in mind.

Do you have any sport-related qualifications, or is a law degree sufficient?

I have a double degree in Arts/Law and I am undertaking a masters in commercial law specialising in sports law. I’ve always wanted to work in sport and during my undergraduate studies and private practice days I wrote articles, organised and attended sports industry conferences, developed a network of sports lawyers and built as much industry knowledge as I could – this meant I was able to hit the ground running when I started with the LOC.

What has been the most surprising aspect of organising the 2015 Asian Cup?

One of the most enjoyable and different aspects of working within a sporting organisation is that you really are part of a larger team responsible for delivering an event. As a result, legal work is not all that I do. There are lots of opportunities to represent the LOC or participate in functions that promote the tournament in multicultural settings, community football days, schools or events within the legal profession. Also, in January I’ll be juggling legal work with my role as one of the managers of the main operations centre – the area that will be responsible for co-ordinating information, reporting and decision making systems across all event stakeholders.