Editor’s Note: Saverio Spera
is an Italian lawyer and LL.M. graduate in International Business Law at King’s
College London. He is currently an intern at the ASSER International Sports Law
football world the use of unilateral extension options (hereafter UEOs) in
favour of the clubs is common practice. Clubs in Europe and, especially, South
America make extensive use of this type of contractual clauses, since it gives
them the exclusive possibility to prolong the employment relationship with
players whose contracts are about to come to an end. This option gives to a
club the right to extend the duration of a player’s contract for a certain
agreed period after its initial expiry, provided that some previously
negotiated conditions are met. In particular, these clauses allow clubs to sign
young promising players for short-term contracts, in order to ascertain their
potential, and then extend the length of their contracts.
Here lies the great value of UEOs for clubs: they can let the player go if he
is not performing as expected, or unilaterally retain him if he is deemed
valuable. Although an indisputably beneficial contractual tool for any football
club, these clauses are especially useful to clubs specialized in the
development of young players. After
case, clubs have increasingly used these clauses in order to prevent players
from leaving their clubs for free at the end of their contracts. The
FIFA Regulations do not contain any provisions regulating this practice,
consequently the duty of clarifying the scope and validity of the options lied
with the national courts, the FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber (DRC) and the
CAS. This two-part blog will attempt to provide the first general overview on
the issue. My
first blog will be dedicated to the validity of UEOs clauses in light of
national laws and of the jurisprudence of numerous European jurisdictions. In a
second blog, I will review the jurisprudence of the DRC and the CAS on this
Editor's note: Adriaan Wijckmans is an associate specialized in sports law at the Belgium law firm Altius.
In a recent judgment, the Brussels Court of
First Instance confirmed the legality of a so-called surety undertaking, i.e. an
agreement in which the parents of a minor playing football guarantee that their
child will sign a professional contract with a football club as soon as the child
reaches the legal age of majority.
This long-awaited ruling was hailed, on the one hand, by clubs as a
much needed and eagerly anticipated confirmation of a long-standing practice in
Belgian football and, on
the other hand, criticised by FIFPro, the international
player’s trade union, in a scathing press release. More...
Tomáš Grell comes from Slovakia and is currently an LL.M. student
in Public International Law at Leiden University. He contributes also to
the work of the ASSER International Sports Law Centre as a part-time
This is a follow-up
contribution to my previous blog on FIFA's responsibility for human rights abuses
in Qatar published last week. Whereas the previous part has examined the lawsuit
filed with the Commercial Court of the Canton of Zurich ('Court') jointly by the Dutch trade union FNV, the
Bangladeshi Free Trade Union Congress, the Bangladesh Building and Wood Workers
Federation and the Bangladeshi citizen Nadim Shariful Alam ('Plaintiffs')
against FIFA, this second part will focus on the Court's ruling dated 3 January
Editor’s note: Tomáš Grell comes from Slovakia and is currently an LL.M. student in Public International Law at Leiden University. He contributes also to the work of the ASSER International Sports Law Centre as a part-time intern.
On 2 December 2010, the FIFA Executive Committee elected Qatar as host of the 2022 FIFA World Cup ('World Cup'), thereby triggering a wave of controversies which underlined, for the most part, the country's modest size, lack of football history, local climate, disproportionate costs or corruption that accompanied the selection procedure. Furthermore, opponents of the decision to award the World Cup to the tiny oil-rich Gulf country also emphasized the country's negative human rights record.
More than six years later, on 3 January 2017, the Commercial Court of the Canton of Zurich ('Court') dismissed the lawsuit filed against FIFA jointly by the Dutch trade union FNV, the Bangladeshi Free Trade Union Congress, the Bangladesh Building and Wood Workers Federation and the Bangladeshi citizen Nadim Shariful Alam ('Plaintiffs'). The Plaintiffs requested the Court to find FIFA responsible for alleged human rights violations of migrant workers in connection with the World Cup in Qatar. Had the Plaintiffs' claims been upheld by the Court, such decision would have had far-reaching consequences on the fate of thousands of migrants, mostly from India, Nepal and Bangladesh, who are currently working on the construction of sporting facilities and other infrastructure associated with organization of the World Cup. More...
Note: Emre Bilginoglu
is an attorney in Istanbul and the co-founder of the Turkish E-Sports Players
Association, a non-profit based in Istanbul that aims to provide assistance to
professional gamers and to work on the relevant laws affecting them.
The world is witnessing the
rise of a new sport that is growing at an incredible speed: E-Sports. We are
only starting to understand its legal implications and challenges.
recent years, E-Sports has managed to attract thousands of fans to arenas to
see a group of people play a video game. These people are literally
professional gamers (cyber athletes)
who make money by competing in tournaments. Not all video games have tournaments
in which professional players compete against each other.
The most played
games in E-Sports competitions are League of Legends (LoL),
Defense of the Ancients 2 (DotA 2) and Counter-Strike: Global
Offensive (CS:GO). LoL and DotA are both Multiplayer online
battle arena (MOBA) games, a genre of strategy video games in which the player
controls a single character in one of two teams. The goal of the game is to
destroy the opponent’s main structure. CS:GO is a first-person shooter (FPS)
game, a genre of video games where the player engages combat through a
first-person perspective. The main objective in CS:GO is to eliminate the opposing team
or to terrorize or counter-terrorize, planting bombs or rescuing hostages. Other
games that have (popular) E-Sports competitions include Starcraft II (real time
strategy), Hearthstone (collectible card video game), Call of Duty (FPS) and
gaming requires cooperation between team players, a high level of concentration,
rapid reactions and some seriously fast clicking. E-Sports is a groovy term to
describe organized competitive computer gaming. The E-Sports industry is
exponentially growing, amounting to values expressed in billions of dollars. According
a website dedicated to the collection of E-Sports data, there are some 250
million occasional viewers of E-Sports with Asia-Pacific accounting for half of
the total amount. The growth of the industry is indubitably supported by online
streaming media platforms. This article aims to explain what E-Sports is and to give the readers
an insight on the key legal questions raised by it. More...
Editor's note: Marine Montejo is a graduate from the College of
Europe in Bruges and is currently an intern at the ASSER International Sports
The result of the Brexit referendum on 23
June 2016 took the European Union (almost) by surprise. A lot has been said and
written about the impact of the United Kingdom leaving the EU. As in all other
areas, the British sport sector will also face the effects of the modification
of the relationship between the EU and its (probable) former Member State, the
UK. It is nearly impossible to foresee all consequences as the UK has not even
triggered article 50 TFEU yet to officially start the exit negotiations.
However, as the UK position toward the EU will change in any case, this two-part
blog aims to examine the main practical implications of such an exit for the
UK, but also for the EU, in relation to the actual application of EU law in
sport and the EU sport policy.
Unless stated otherwise, the use of the
terms Brexit in this blog should be understood as a complete exit of the UK
from the European Union. This blog focus in particular on this worst case
scenario and its consequences for UK sport. However, it is highly improbable
that the future Brexit negotiations with the EU will end up without some kind
of special agreement between the two parties the first of which being an EEA
type of agreement with full access to the internal market and applicability of
The first part of this blog will examined
the consequences for UK sport in terms of access to the EU internal market and
the applicability of free movement principles. The second part is focused on specific
impacts with regard of others domain of EU law for professional and grassroots
UK sport. More...
Editor’s note: Kester Mekenkamp is an LL.M. student in European Law at Leiden University and an intern at the ASSER International Sports Law Centre.
On 17 February 2016,
the Landesarbeitsgericht Rheinland-Pfalz
delivered its highly anticipated decision in the appeal
proceedings between German goalkeeper Heinz Müller and his former employer,
German Bundesliga club Mainz 05.
The main legal debate revolved around the question (in general terms) whether
the use of a fixed term contract in professional football is compatible with
German and EU law.
In first instance (see
our earlier blog posts, here and here), the Arbeitsgericht Mainz had ruled that the
‘objective reasons’ provided in Section 14 (1) of the German
Part-time and Fixed-term Employment Act (Gesetz über Teilzeitarbeit und befristete
Arbeitsverträge, “TzBfG”), the national law implementing EU
Directive 1999/70/EC on fixed-term work, were not applicable
to the contract between Müller and Mainz 05 and therefore could not justify the
definite nature of that contract.
In its assessment the court devoted special attention to the objective reason
relating to the nature of the work, declining justifications based thereupon.
Tension rose and the verdict was soon labelled to be able to have Bosman-like
implications, if held up by higher courts.
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 overlooked.
The eagerly awaited FIFA Presidential elections of 26 February provided
for a “new face” at the pinnacle of international football for the first time
since 1998. One could argue whether Infantino is the man capable
of bringing about the reform FIFA so desperately needs or whether he is simply
a younger version of his predecessor Blatter. More...
Zlatka Koleva is a graduate from the Erasmus University Rotterdam and is currently an Intern at the ASSER International Sports Law Centre.
The decision on appeal in the case
of O’Bannon v. NCAA seems,
at first sight, to deliver answers right on time regarding the unpaid use of
names, images and likenesses (NILs) of amateur college athletes, which has been
an ongoing debate in the US after last year’s district court decision that
amateur players in the college games deserve to receive compensation for their
The ongoing struggle for compensation in exchange for NILs used in TV
broadcasts and video games in the US has reached a turning point and many have
waited impatiently for the final say of the Court of Appeal for the 9th
circuit. The court’s ruling on appeal for the 9th circuit, however,
raises more legitimate concerns for amateur sports in general than it offers
consolation to unprofessional college sportsmen. While the appellate court
agreed with the district court that NCAA should provide scholarships amounting
to the full cost of college attendance to student athletes, the former rejected
deferred payment to students of up to 5,000 dollars for NILs rights. The
conclusions reached in the case relate to the central antitrust concerns raised
by NCAA, namely the preservation of consumer demand for amateur sports and how
these interests can be best protected under antitrust law. More...
The first part of the present blog article provided a
general introduction to the compatibility of fixed-term contracts in football
with Directive 1999/70/EC
(Directive). However, as the Member States of the European Union enjoy a
considerable discretion in the implementation of a directive, grasping the
impact of the Directive on the world of football would not be possible without considering
the national context. The recent ruling of the Arbeitsgericht Mainz (the lowest
German labour court; hereinafter the Court) in proceedings brought by a German
footballer Heinz Müller provides an important example in this regard. This second
part of the blog on the legality of fixed-term contract in football is devoted
to presenting and assessing the Court’s decision.
I. Facts and Procedure
Heinz Müller, the main protagonist of this case, was a goalkeeper
playing for 1.FSV Mainz 05 a club partaking to the German Bundesliga. More...