Editor’s note: Mario Vigna is a Senior
Associate at Coccia De Angelis Vecchio & Associati in Rome, Italy. His main
practice areas are sports law, commercial law, and IP law. He also has
extensive experience in the Anti-doping field, serving as Deputy-Chief
Prosecutor of the Italian NADO and as counsel in domestic and international sports
proceedings. He is a frequent speaker at various conferences and workshops. He was
not involved in either of the cases discussed below.
Gambling in football is a
popular and potentially lucrative activity. It also raises numerous issues. When
faced with the issue of gambling, the European Court of Justice (now Court of
Justice of the EU) determined that gambling was economic activity per se, notwithstanding gambling’s
vulnerability to ethical issues, and thus could not be prohibited outright.
With the legality of gambling established, it was left to the proper
legislative bodies (national legislatures, national and international federations,
etc.) to regulate gambling in order to guard against fraud and corruption. Gambling
was not going to disappear; the dangers inherent to gambling would require
note: Emilio García (email@example.com) is a doctor in law and head of disciplinary and
integrity at UEFA. Before joining UEFA, he was the Spanish Football
Federation’s legal director (2004–12) and an arbitrator at the CAS (2012–13).In
this blog, Emilio García provides a brief review of a recent case before the Court
of Arbitration for Sport (CAS): Klubi
Sportiv Skënderbeu v UEFA
(CAS 2016/A/4650), in
which he acted as main counsel for UEFA.
match-fixing – A quick overview
Match-fixing is now legally defined as “an intentional
arrangement, act or omission aimed at an improper alteration of the result or
the course of a sports competition in order to remove all or part of the
unpredictable nature of the aforementioned sports competition with a view to
obtaining an undue advantage for oneself or for others”.
It has been said that there has always been match-fixing in sport.
From the ancient Olympic Games to the most important global sports competitions
of today, manipulation of results has always been an all-too-frequent occurrence.
We have seen a number of very prominent instances of
this kind of issue over the years. One of the most remarkable examples, which was
even the subject of a film,
was the match-fixing episode during the 1919 World Series, where several
players from the Chicago White Sox were found guilty of accepting bribes and
deliberately losing matches against the Cincinnati Reds.
The situation has changed considerably since then. In particular,
the globalisation of the sports betting industry has had a massive impact, with
recent studies estimating that between €200bn and €500bn is betted on sport
Match-fixing does not just affect football either;
it is also affecting other sports, most notably tennis. More...
Editor’s note: Our first innovation for the
year 2016 will be a monthly report compiling 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 world of professional sport has been making
headlines for the wrong reasons in January. Football’s governing body FIFA is
in such a complete governance and corruption mess that one wonders whether a
new President (chosen on 26 February)
will solve anything. More recently, however, it is the turn of the athletics
governing body, IAAF, to undergo “the walk of shame”. On 14 January the WADA
Independent Commission released its second report into doping in international
Media reports and interested stakeholders often suggest that
certain types of sports bets would significantly increase the risks of match
fixing occurring. These concerns also surface in policy discussions at both the national and European level.
Frequently calls are made to prohibit the supply of “risky” sports bets as a
means to preserve the integrity of sports competitions.
Questions about the appropriateness of imposing such
limitations on the regulated sports betting, however, still linger. The
lack of access to systematic empirical evidence on betting-related match fixing
has so far limited the capacity of academic research to make a proper risk
assessment of certain types of sports bets.
The ASSER International Sports Law Centre has conducted the first-ever study that assesses the integrity risks of certain sports bets on the
basis of quantitative empirical evidence.
We uniquely obtained access to key statistics from
Sportradar’s Fraud Detection System (FDS). A five-year dataset of football
matches worldwide, which the FDS identified as likely to have been targeted by
match fixers, enabled us to observe patterns and correlations with certain
types of sports bets. In addition, representative samples of football bets
placed with sports betting operator Betfair were collected and analysed.
The results presented in this report, which challenge several claims
about the alleged risks generated by certain types of sports bets, hope to
inform policy makers about the cost-effectiveness of imposing limits on the
regulated sports betting offer.More...
With this blog post, we continue the
blog series on Turkish match-fixing cases and our attempt to map the still unchartered
waters of the CAS’s match-fixing jurisprudence.
The first blog post addressed two issues
related to the substance of match-fixing disputes, namely the legal
characterization of the match-fixing related measure of ineligibility under
Article 2.08 of the UEL Regulations as administrative or disciplinary measure
and the scope of application of Article 2.08. In addition, The Turkish cases have
raised procedural and evidentiary issues that need to be dealt with in the framework
of match-fixing disputes.
The CAS panels have drawn a clear line
between substantial and procedural matters. In this light, the Eskişehirspor panel declared the nature of
Article 2.08 UEL Regulations to be administrative and rejected the application
of UEFA Disciplinary Regulations to the substance. Nonetheless, it upheld that disciplinary
rules and standards still apply to the procedure. This conclusion, however, can
be considered puzzling in that disciplinary rules apply to the procedural matters
arising by a pure administrative measure. To this extent, and despite the
bifurcation of different applicable rules into substantial and procedural
matters, the credibility of the qualification of Article 2.08 as administrative
seems to be undermined. And here a question arises: How can the application of
rules of different nature to substantial and procedural matters in an identical
match-fixing dispute be explained?More...
Two weeks ago we received the
unpublished CAS award rendered in the Eskişehirspor case
and decided to comment on it. In this post Thalia Diathesopoulou (Intern at the
ASSER International Sports Law Centre) analyses the legal steps followed and
interpretations adopted by CAS panels in this case and in a series of other
Turkish match-fixing cases. The first part of the post will deal with the
question of the legal nature of the ineligibility decision opposed by UEFA to
clubs involved in one way or another into match-fixing and with the personal
and material scope of UEFA’s rule on which this ineligibility is based. The
second part is dedicated to the procedural rules applied in match-fixing cases.
The unpredictability of the outcome is a
sine qua non feature of sports. It is
this inherent uncertainty that draws the line between sports and entertainment
and triggers the interest of spectators, broadcasters and sponsors. Thus, match-fixing
by jeopardising the integrity and unpredictability of sporting outcomes has been
described, along with doping, as one of the major threats to modern sport. More...
The European Commission has published the “Study
on Sports Organisers’ Rights in the EU”, which was carried out by
the ASSER International Sports Law Centre (T.M.C. Asser Institute) and the
Institute for Information Law (University of Amsterdam).
The study critically examines the legal protection of
rights to sports events (sports organisers’ rights) and various issues
regarding their commercial exploitation in the field of media and sports
betting, both from a national and EU law perspective.
In a number of posts, we will highlight some of the key
findings of the study.
“It was Hyde, after all, and
Hyde alone, that
In recent years, numerous national and European sports
organisers have called for the adoption of a specific right to consent to the
organisation of bets (“right to consent to bets”), by virtue of which no
betting operator could offer bets on a sports event without first entering into
a contractual agreement with the organiser. More...