Season 2 of #FootballLeaks is now underway
since more than a week and already a significant number of episodes (all the articles published can be found on the European Investigative Collaborations’ website) covering various aspect of the (lack of)
transnational regulation of football have been released (a short German documentary sums up pretty much the state of play). For
me, as a legal scholar, this new series of revelations is an exciting
opportunity to discuss in much more detail than usual various questions related
to the operation of the transnational private regulations of football imposed by
FIFA and UEFA (as we already did during the initial football leaks with our series of blogs on TPO in 2015/2016). Much of what
has been unveiled was known or suspected by many, but the scope and precision
of the documents published makes a difference. At last, the general public, as
well as academics, can have certainty about the nature of various shady practices
in the world of football. One key characteristic that explains the lack of
information usually available is that football, like many international sports,
is actually governed by private administrations (formally Swiss associations),
which are not subject to the similar obligations in terms of transparency than
public ones (e.g. access to document rules, systematic publication of decisions,
etc.). In other words, it’s a total black box! The football leaks are offering
a rare sneak peak into that box.
Based on what I have read so far
(this blog was written on Friday 9 November), there are three main aspects I
find worthy of discussion:
- The (lack of) enforcement of UEFA’s
Financial Fair Play (FFP) Regulations
- The European Super League project and
EU competition law
(lack of) separation of powers inside FIFA and UEFA More...
Editor's note: In the coming days we will introduce the supporters of our upcoming ISLJ Annual International Sports Law Conference 2018 (also known as #ISLJConf18). To do so, we have sent them a tailored questionnaire aimed at reflecting both their activities and their expectations for the conference. It is a good opportunity for us to thank them for their enthusiastic support and commitment to international sports law research. We are very happy to finish this series of interviews with Sven Demeulemeester from Altius, a Belgian law firm based in Brussels with a very fine (and academically-minded!) sports law team.
1. Can you explain to our readers the work of Altius in international sports law?
Across different sports’ sectors, Altius’ sports law practice advises and assists some of the world’s most high-profile sports governing bodies, clubs and athletes, at both the national and the international level. The team has 6 fully-dedicated sports lawyers and adopts a multi-disciplinary approach, which guarantees a broad range of legal expertise for handling specific cases or wider issues related to the sports industry. We are proud to be independent but, in cross-border matters, are able to tap into a worldwide network.
2. How is it to be an international sports lawyer? What are the advantages and challenges of the job?
Sports law goes beyond one specific field of law. The multiplicity of legal angles keeps the work interesting, even after years of practising, and ensures that a sports lawyer rarely has a dull moment. The main downside is that the sports industry is fairly conservative and sometimes ‘political’. While the law is one thing, what happens in practice is often another. Bringing about change is not always easy.
3. What are the burning issues in international sports law that you would like to see discussed at the conference?
The much-anticipated overhaul of the football transfer system is eagerly anticipated and is worth a thorough debate, also in terms of possible, viable alternatives. The impact of EU law - both internal market rules, competition law and fundamental rights – can hardly be underestimated. Also, dispute resolution mechanisms within the realm of sports - and an accessible, transparent, independent and impartial sports arbitration in particular - will remain a ‘hot’ topic in the sector for years to come. Furthermore, ethics and integrity issues should remain top of the agenda, as is being demonstrated by the current money-laundering and match-fixing allegations in Belgium. Finally, in a sector in which the use of data is rife, the newly-adopted GDPR’s impact remains somewhat ‘under the radar’.
4. Why did you decide to support the ISLJ Annual International Sports Law Conference?
The ISLJ Annual International Sports Law Conference is refreshing, both in terms of its topics and participants. The academic and content-driven approach is a welcome addition to other sports law conferences in which the networking aspect often predominates.
Editor's note: Panagiotis
Roumeliotis holds an LL.B. degree from National and Kapodistrian University of
Athens, Greece and an LL.M. degree in European and International Tax Law from
University of Luxembourg. He is qualified lawyer in Greece and is presently
working as tax advisor with KPMG Luxembourg while pursuing, concomitantly, an
LL.M. in International Sports Law at Sheffield Hallam University, England. His
interest lies in the realm of tax and sports law. He may be contacted by e-mail
The landmark Bosman
the Europeanization of the labour market for football players by banning
nationality quotas. In turn, in conjunction with the boom in TV revenues, this
led to a flourishing transfer market in which players’ agents or intermediaries
play a pivotal role, despite having a controversial
As a preliminary remark, it is important to touch upon the fiduciary
duty of sports agents towards their clients. The
principal-agent relationship implies that the former employs the agent so as to
secure the best employment and/or commercial opportunities. Conversely, the
latter is expected to act in the interest of the player as their relationship should be
predicated on trust and confidence, as much was made
clear in the English
Court of Appeal case of Imageview Management
Ltd v. Kelvin Jack. Notably, agents are bound to exercise the utmost
degree of good faith, honesty and loyalty towards the players.
At the core of this blog
lies a comparative case study
of the implementation of the FIFA Regulations on working with intermediaries (hereinafter “FIFA RWI”) in eight European FAs covering most of the transfers during the mercato. I will then critically analyze
the issues raised by the implementation of the RWI and, as a conclusion, offer
some recommendations. More...
Rumours are swirling around the
decision (available in French here) of the Court of Appeal of Brussels in the
case opposing RFC Seraing United to FIFA (as well as UEFA and the Belgian
Football Federation, URSBFA) over the latter’s ban on third-party ownership.
The headlines in various media are quite dramatic (see here and here), references are made to a new Bosman, or to a shaken sport’s legal system. Yet, after swiftly reading the
decision for the first time on 29th August, I did not have, unlike with the Pechstein
ruling of the Oberlandesgericht München, the immediate impression that this
would be a major game-changer for the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and
the role of arbitration in sports in general. After careful re-reading, I
understand how certain parts of the ruling can be misunderstood or
over-interpreted. I believe that much of the press coverage failed to accurately
reflect the reasoning of the court and to capture the real impact of the
decision. In order to explain why, I decided to write a short Q&A
(including the (not water-proof) English translations of some of the key
paragraphs of the decision).
Editor’s note: Daniela Heerdt is a PhD candidate at
Tilburg Law School in the Netherlands. Her PhD research deals with the
establishment of responsibility and accountability for adverse human rights impacts
of mega-sporting events, with a focus on FIFA World Cups and Olympic Games. She
recently published an article in
the International Sports Law Journal that discusses to what extent the
revised bidding and hosting regulations by FIFA, the IOC and UEFA strengthen
access to remedy for mega-sporting events-related human rights violations.
The 21st FIFA World Cup is currently
underway. Billions of people around the world follow the matches with much enthusiasm
and support. For the time being, it almost seems forgotten that in the final
weeks leading up to the events, critical reports on human rights issues related to the event piled up. This
blog explains why addressing these issues has to start well in advance of the
first ball being kicked and cannot end when the final match has been played. More...
Call for papers: Annual International Sports Law Conference of the International Sports Law Journal
Asser Institute, The Hague
25 and 26 October 2018
The editorial board of the International Sports Law Journal (ISLJ) is inviting you to submit abstracts for its second ISLJ Annual Conference on International Sports Law, which will take place on 25 and 26 October at the Asser Institute in The Hague. The ISLJ published by Springer in collaboration with Asser Press is the leading academic publication in the field of international sports law. Its readership includes academics and many practitioners active in the field. This call is open to researchers as well as practitioners.
We are also delighted to announce that Prof. Franck Latty (Université Paris Nanterre), Prof. Margareta Baddeley (Université de Genève), and Silvia Schenk (member of FIFA’s Human Rights Advisory Board) have confirmed their participation as keynote speakers.
Abstracts could, for example, tackle questions linked to the following international sports law subjects:
- The interaction between EU law and sport
- Antitrust and sports regulation
- International sports arbitration (CAS, BAT, etc.)
- The functioning of the world anti-doping system (WADA, WADC, etc.)
- The global governance of sports
- The regulation of mega sporting events (Olympics, FIFA World Cup, etc.)
- The transnational regulation of football (e.g. the operation of the FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players or the UEFA Financial Fair Play Regulations)
- The global fight against corruption in sport
- Comparative sports law
- Human rights in sport
Please send your abstract (no more than 300 words) and CV no later than 30 April 2018 to email@example.com. Selected speakers will be informed by 15 May.
The selected participants will be expected to submit a draft paper by 1 September 2018. All papers presented at the conference are eligible for publication in a special edition of the ISLJ. To be considered for inclusion in the conference edition of the journal, the final draft must be submitted for review by 15 December 2018. Submissions after this date will be considered for publication in later editions of the Journal.
The Asser Institute will cover one night accommodation for the speakers and will provide a limited amount of travel grants (max. 300€). If you wish to be considered for a grant please justify your request in your submission.
Editor’s Note: Etienne
Gard graduated from the University of Zurich and from King's College London. He
currently manages a project in the field of digitalization with Bratschi Ltd.,
a major Swiss law firm where he did his traineeship with a focus in
international commercial arbitration.
10th of June, 1958, the Convention on the Recognition and
Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, widely known as the “New York
Convention”, was signed in New York by 10 countries. This rather shy figure progressively grew over the decades to now
reach 157 signatory countries, turning the New York Convention into the global
recognition and enforcement instrument it is today. As V.V. Veeder’s puts it, “One English law lord is said to have said, extra judicially, that the
New York Convention is both the Best Thing since sliced bread and also whatever
was the Best Thing before sliced bread replaced it as the Best Thing.”
among the overall appraisal regarding the New York Convention, some criticisms
have been expressed. For instance, some states use their public policy rather
as a pretext not to enforce an award than an actual ground for refusal. A further issue is the
recurring bias in favor of local companies. Additionally, recognition and enforcement procedures in application
of the New York Convention take place in front of State authorities, for the
most part in front of courts of law, according to national proceeding rules.
This usually leads to the retaining of a local law firm, the translation of
several documents, written submissions and one, if not several hearings. Hence,
the efficiency of the New York Convention as a recognition and enforcement
mechanism comes to the expense of both money and time of both parties of the
contrast with the field of commercial arbitration, where the New York
Convention is often considered the only viable option in order to enforce an
award, international football organizations, together with the Court of
Arbitration for Sport (“CAS”), offer an effective enforcement alternative. This
article aims at outlining the main features of the indirect enforcement of CAS
awards in football matters in light of a recent case. More...
Editor's note: Prof. Thomas Kruessmann is key expert in the EU Technical Assistant Project "Strengthening Teaching and Research Capacity at ADA University" in Baku (Azerbaijan). At the same time, he is co-ordinator of the Jean-Monnet Network "Developing European Studies in the Caucasus" with Skytte Institute of Political Studies at the University of Tartu (Estonia).
The notion that “fish
rots from the head down” is known to many cultures and serves as a practical
reminder on what is at stake in the current wave of anti-corruption / integrity
and good governance initiatives. The purpose of this blog post is to provide a
short update on the recent founding of the International Partnership against
Corruption in Sport (IPACS), intermittently known as the International Sports
Integrity Partnership (IPAS), and to propose some critical perspectives from a
legal scholar’s point of view.
During the past couple
of years, the sports world has seen a never-ending wave of corruption
allegations, often followed by revelations, incriminations and new allegation.
There are ongoing investigations, most notably in the United States where the
U.S. Department of Justice has just recently intensified its probe
into corruption at the major sports governing bodies (SGBs). By all accounts,
we are witnessing only the tip of the iceberg. And after ten years of debate
and half-hearted reforms, there is the widespread notion, as expressed by the
Council of Europe’s (CoE’s) Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) Resolution
2199/2018 that “the sports movement cannot be left to resolve its failures
Editor's note: This report compiles all relevant news, events and
materials on International and European Sports Law based on the daily coverage
provided on our twitter feed @Sportslaw_asser. You
are invited to complete this survey via the comments section below, feel free
to add links to important cases, documents and articles we might have
Anti-doping whereabouts requirements declared
compatible with the athletes' right to privacy and family life
On 18 January 2018,
the European Court of Human Rights rendered a judgment with important consequences for the world of sport in
general and the anti-doping regime in particular. The Strasbourg-based court
was called upon to decide whether the anti-doping whereabouts system – which requires that a limited number of top elite
athletes provide their National Anti-Doping Organisation or International
Federation with regular information about their location, including identifying
for each day one specific 60-minute time slot where the athlete will be
available for testing at a pre-determined location – is compatible with the
athletes' right to private and family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and their freedom of movement pursuant to Article 2
Protocol No. 4 of the Convention. The case was brought by the French cyclist
Jeannie Longo and five French athlete unions that had filed their application
on behalf of 99 professional handball, football, rugby, and basketball players.
that the whereabouts requirements clash with the athletes' right to private and
family life, the judges took the view that such a restriction is necessary in
order to protect the health of athletes and ensure a level playing field in
sports competitions. They held that ''the
reduction or removal of the relevant obligations would lead to an increase in
the dangers of doping for the health of sports professionals and of all those
who practise sports, and would be at odds with the European and international
consensus on the need for unannounced testing as part of doping control''. Accordingly,
the judges found no violation of Article 8 of the Convention and, in a similar
vein, ruled that Article 2 Protocol No. 4 of the Convention was not applicable
to the case.
Football stakeholders preparing to crack down on
agents' excessive fees
It has been a
record-breaking January transfer window with Premier League clubs having spent
an eye-watering £430 million on signing new acquisitions. These spiralling
transfer fees enable football agents, nowadays also called intermediaries, to
charge impressive sums for their services. However, this might soon no longer
be the case as the main stakeholders in European football are preparing to take
action. UEFA, FIFPro, the European Club Association and the European
Professional Football Leagues acknowledge in their joint resolution that the 2015 FIFA Regulations on Working with Intermediaries failed to address serious concerns in relation to the
activities of intermediaries/agents. They recognise in broad terms that a more
effective regulatory framework is needed and call among other things for a
reasonable and proportionate cap on fees for intermediaries/agents, enhanced
transparency and accountability, or stronger provisions to protect minors.
The CAS award in Joseph Odartei Lamptey v. FIFA
On 15 January 2018,
FIFA published on its website an arbitral award delivered on 4 August 2017 by the Court of
Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in the dispute between the
Ghanian football referee Joseph Odartei Lamptey and FIFA. The CAS sided with
FIFA and dismissed the appeal filed by Mr Lamptey against an earlier decision
of the FIFA Appeal Committee which (i) found him to have violated Article 69(1)
of the FIFA Disciplinary Code as he unlawfully influenced the 2018 World Cup
qualifying match between South Africa and Senegal that took place on 12
November 2016; (ii) as a consequence, banned him for life from taking part in
any football-related activity; and (iii) ordered the match in question to be
replayed. In reaching its conclusion, the CAS relied heavily on multiple
reports of irregular betting activities that significantly deviated from usual
market developments. More...
The first part of this two-part blog examined the new bidding
regulations adopted by the IOC and UEFA, and concluded that it is the latter
who gives more weight to human rights in its host selection process. This
second part completes the picture by looking at FIFA's bidding regulations
for the 2026 World Cup. It goes on to discuss whether human rights now constitute
a material factor in evaluating bids to host the mega-sporting events organised
by these three sports governing bodies. More...