Sports law


Sports are evolving at a fast pace and the law has an important role to play – especially in a world of growing commercialism. This may be the reason you, as an individual, would be better off choosing a professional solicitor for legal help and advice. Sports law is a particularly niche area of law.

When do you need legal advice?

Attempting to capitalise on marketing opportunities includes a lot of legal and contractual issues which should be dealt by a solicitor. These contracts may be on a small level or on an international level in which millions of pounds are involved, for example in player transactions.

There are now various practical examples of where law and sports is required. For example, a sporting event may be being sponsored by a multinational company, or there may be mergers or stadium relocations involved.

And players, athletes, are more of a commercial entity, with product placement, endorsements and insurance more important than they ever used to be. These aspects should always be placed within a legal framework for the security of the individual.

Doping in sport

Sports law now covers a wide range of issues including match fixing, unfair dismissals and subjects including doping.

Concerns like these are now more commonly being referred to the Court of Arbitration for Sport which is one of many regulatory bodies, including the British Association of Sport and Exercise.

These bodies have a variety of regulatory functions, some of which involve rule changes and looking over disciplinary action.

Court of Arbitration for Sport

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) is in Lausanne, Switzerland. There are additional courts in New York and Sydney. All sport-related disputes can be heard in CAS.

As a general rule, a dispute can only be submitted to CAS if there is a clause in the agreement between the parties that provides for this. For example, such a clause may read:

“All disputes between the parties shall be referred to the Court of Arbitration for Sport for resolution”.

In recent years, many of the cases heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport have related to transfer disputes in professional football.

Cases on doping have also been heard, as well as match fixing by football clubs. Below are a couple of cases that have been brought to CAS in recent years:

  • Besiktas, Fenerbahce and Metalist Kharkiv all had their appeals against match fixing dismissed by CAS in August 2013, and were subsequently banned from European competition
  • Richard Gasquet, a French tennis player, was defended by CAS over cocaine use in 2009 in a very interesting case

The Court of Arbitration for Sport also heard Chelsea FC’s appeal against the transfer ban imposed on them by FIFA for allegedly inducing Gael Kakuta to breach his contract with Lens FC to join them.

This took place in 2010, and after CAS were involved a settlement was reached and Chelsea’s ban was lifted.

Looking for a solicitor specialising in sports law contracts or disputes? Contact Law can put you in touch with a recommended sports law solicitor for your case. Please call us on 0800 1777 162 or complete the web-form above.

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