Ian Smith is the esports Integrity Commissioner and has held that role since ESIC was founded in July 2016. Ian is a UK lawyer with over 20 years’ experience in traditional sports, primarily in regulation and governance. While still in private practice, Ian advised clients in football, cricket, rugby, motorsport, golf and other sports. His particular focus has always been the connection between the athlete and the rules and regulations that govern the athletes’ professional life – contracts of employment and endorsement and the link from team to domestic governing body to regional governing body to international governing body – who owns what and who can sell what and what rules apply when!
Ian left private practice in 2004 to go in-house as legal director of the Professional Cricketers’ Association in the UK where he was responsible for advising players on a range of issues, but also negotiating, on their behalf, the contracts, rules and regulations that applied to them, such as the Anti-Doping and Anti-Corruption Codes. For two years between 2013 and 2015 Ian also ran the Federation of International Cricketers Associations (FICA), the umbrella body for all the Player Associations in International cricket, which meant he dealt with the terms and conditions under which players participated in the Cricket World Cup, the World T20 Championships and the Champions Trophy and was the player representative on the Security Directorate of all major events through to 2015. He sat on the Athletes Committee of UK Anti-Doping for five years.
A by-product of his work in cricket was having to develop an expertise in match-fixing and how to combat it. He drafted the first set of Anti-Corruption Directives implemented in English cricket in 2000. He learned the human impact of these regulatory issues whilst advising and representing players who were perpetrators and witnesses to some of the biggest challenges to cricket’s integrity over the last 15 years. Ian is a passionate advocate of sporting integrity and the eradication of all forms of corruption in sport from the top level of governance down. He has been instrumental in the formation of ESIC and drafting and establishing the ESIC Programme.
Ian was born in Durban, South Africa, and got his law degree at the University of Natal before emigrating to the UK in 1989. He is married and has twin sons who are far better gamers than him (except at Gran Turismo, where Ian considers himself amongst the best in the world). When not on the road for this role, he lives a quiet life with his family in Bristol and runs trails when he needs to stop thinking.