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...
Editor's note: Deeksha Malik is a final-year student at
National Law Institute University, India. Her main interest areas are corporate
law, arbitration, and sports law. She can be reached at email@example.com.
In 2015, while interrogating
cricketer Sreesanth and others accused in the IPL match-fixing case, Justice
Neena Bansal, sitting as Additional Sessions Judge, made the following observations as regards betting on cricket matches.
as a game of skill requires hand-eye-coordination for throwing, catching and
hitting. It requires microscopic levels of precision and mental alertness for
batsmen to find gaps or for bowlers to produce variety of styles of deliveries’
(medium pace, fast, inswing, outswing, offspin, legspin, googly). The sport
requires strategic masterminds that can select the most efficient fielding
positions for piling pressure on the batsmen. Based on above description,
cricket cannot be described anything, but as a game of skill.”
The debate on the
issue of betting in sports has since resurfaced and gained the attention of
sportspersons, media, sports bodies, policymakers, and the general public. In
April 2017, the Supreme Court bench comprising of Justices Dipak Misra and AM
Khanwilkar agreed to hear a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking an order
directing the government to come up with an appropriate framework for
regulating betting in sports. The arguments put forth in the PIL present
various dimensions. One of these pertains to economic considerations, a
submission that regulated betting would be able to generate annual revenue of Rs. 12,000 crores by bringing the earnings therefrom within the tax
net. As for policy considerations, it was submitted that a proper regulation in
this area would enable the government to distinguish harmless betting from
activities that impair the integrity of the game such as match-fixing. Further,
betting on cricket matches largely depends on the skill of the concerned
players, thereby distinguishing it from pure chance-based activities.
The issue of
sports betting witnesses a divided opinion till this day. This is understandable, for both sides to the issue have equally pressing
arguments. Aside from its regulation being a daunting task for authorities,
sports betting is susceptible to corruption and other unscrupulous activities.
At the same time, it is argued that it would be better for both the game and
the economy if the same is legalised. More...
Editor’s Note: Oytun
Azkanar holds an LLB degree from Anadolu University in Turkey and an LLM degree
from the University of Melbourne. He is currently
studying Sports Management at the Anadolu University.
October 2017, the Turkish Professional Football Disciplinary Committee (Disciplinary
Committee) rendered an extraordinary decision regarding the fixing of the
game between Manisaspor and Şanlıurfaspor played on 14 May 2017. The case
concerned an alleged match-fixing agreement between Elyasa Süme (former
Gaziantepspor player), İsmail Haktan Odabaşı and Gökhan Sazdağı (Manisaspor
players). The Disciplinary Committee
acknowledged that the evidence
relevant for proving the match-fixing allegations was obtained illegally and therefore
inadmissible, and the remaining evidence was not sufficient to establish that the game
was fixed. Before discussing the allegations, it is important to note that the
decision is not only significant for Turkish football but is also crucial to the
distinction between disciplinary and criminal proceedings in sports. More...
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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...