Founding Board Members and Advisors
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.
Bryce Blum is a lawyer and avid gamer. Bryce is a co-founder of IME Law, where he maintains a full-time practice in esports law, representing teams, leagues, tournament organizers, influencers and other service providers in the esports industry. Bryce’s work spans across virtually every major esports title. He counsels clients on entertainment, employment, intellectual property, business, and gaming law issues. Bryce is also the Director of Esports and In-House Counsel at Unikrn, the world’s premiere esports wagering platform, where he has spearheaded Unikrn’s industry-leading competitive integrity certification program.
Bryce is an active member of the esports community. He is a guest columnist for ESPN, frequently participates in discussions surrounding esports disputes on Twitter and Reddit under the handle @esportslaw, and appears on various esports talk shows.
Anti-Doping Advice and Liaison
LLM (Sports Law), MA (Ed), B.Ed Hons, Cert. Ed
Michele Verroken is Founding Director of Sporting Integrity, the international sports consultancy specialising in integrity and governance advancement in sport. Clients include Sport Accord, International and National Sports Federations, Professional Sports (Golf, Mixed Martial Arts, ESports), as well as athletes, medical, media and law professionals. Michele is Secretary and Member of the Commonwealth Games Federation Medical Commission, a role she has held since 2002.
Initially a teacher and lecturer in human and sports sciences before taking a management role at The Sports Council in 1987, later UK Sport. Her first assignment with Sports Minister Colin Moynihan and Sebastian Coe was to create the UK’s first Independent Anti-Doping Programme. As Director of Ethics and Anti-Doping, Michele achieved a number of other firsts (ISO certified procedures for Anti-Doping, Illicit/Recreational drugs programme, Drug Information Database and whistleblowing line).
Michele is a member of several sports arbitration panels and visiting lecturer in Sports Ethics for several university MSc courses.