Forward thinking leads to sports podcast

MLS sports law students Annie Poulton, Chloe Fabbro and Emily Thompson are celebrating women in sport with their podcast 'The Forward Line'.

L-R: Forward Line co-host Annie Poulton, Australian female 800m national track and field record holder Catriona Bisset and Forward Line co-host Chloe Fabbo. 

Why a podcast?

While studying the MLS JD Sports Law elective last year, Annie Poulton, Chloe Fabbro and Emily Thompson formed a close friendship through their shared love of sports and the law. They also shared a passion for podcasts, which inspired the three law students to start one of their own.

“Podcasts are how I consume all of my news, but as a consumer of sport I couldn’t find the content I was craving,” says Forward Line co-host Annie. “There were very few female sports podcasts on the market, let alone shows that were hosted by young females which is who I wanted to hear from.”

For Forward Line producer Emily, it was also important to capture what she saw as the true essence of sport.

“While it is exciting and a privilege to watch individuals perform at their peak in a sport they love, it is the unifying and positive effect of sport that I truly love.

“Through the podcast we are able promote this effect and make the technical and legal aspects of sport accessible to all.”

A passion for sport and law

“I vividly remember the day I found out that I could combine my love of sports and law into my career. I have never looked back!” says Emily.

Taught by Professor Jack Anderson, Sports Law evaluates the connection between sport and law, including the ways in which law is used to regulate sport and how sport can serve as an agent of legal change. The conversations and debates they had during class left a lasting impression on the students.

“Basically, when we were deciding whether or not to create the podcast, the first person we had a meeting with was Jack,” says Annie.

“From day one, Jack was incredibly supportive of the concept, our mission and the broader 'women in sport movement'. He immediately put us in contact with other female leaders in this space including the Outer Sanctum podcast co-host Kate Seear and journalist and The Ticket podcast co-host Tracey Holmes. From this initial introduction, we were able to arrange meetings and grow our network,” says Annie.

L-R: Three times Australian national womens road cycling champion Sarah Gigante and Forward Line co-host Annie Poulton.

Speaking up

The Forward Line aims to encourage women to build up confidence in talking about sport. While this is an area that is predominantly male dominated, Annie feels there is a clear shift occurring – which was evident in the Sports Law classroom. “The most important contribution that Professor Anderson made to The Forward Line was belief,” she says. “He gave the three of us the confidence and encouragement we needed to actually take the leap of faith and do this.”

“It’s important to just swallow back the fear and speak up – your voice as a woman in sport is so important, and when one person decides to speak up, you have the power to inspire so many others,” says Chloe.

Emily agrees, summing it up with her favourite sporting quote:

“’Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game’, whether that is speaking up in class or taking any opportunities available.”

Future goals

“We have had so many amazing insights into the industry through the interviews we have done so far, and I really want us keep engaging with people in such an open way and share their thoughts with our audience,” says Chloe.

Emily wants to see the podcast continue to grow and be a leading source of sports news in Australia. “I am very excited to continue interviewing inspirational guests which allows us to learn about different sports as well as explore legal issues through their lens,” she says.

All three women hope to pursue careers that can combine their love of both law and sport.

“I find the business side of things fascinating, so I am interested in sports administration long-term,” says Annie, “but I believe having legal knowledge is critical to success in these jobs.

“I feel very grateful having the JD behind me and knowing that this skillset is adaptable to so many fields."

Listen to The Forward Line podcast.

Sports Law is an elective subject of the Melbourne Law School JD program. Professor Jack Anderson also teaches Sport and the Law as a breadth subject and a Masters of Sports Industry and the Law at Melbourne Law School.