Tomáš Grell holds an LL.M.
in Public International Law from Leiden University. He contributes to
the work of the ASSER International Sports Law Centre as a research
Concerns about adverse
human rights impacts related to FIFA's activities have intensified ever since its
late 2010 decision to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cup to Russia and Qatar
respectively. However, until recently, the world's governing body of football
had done little to eliminate these concerns, thereby encouraging human rights
advocates to exercise their critical eye on FIFA.
In response to growing
criticism, the Extraordinary FIFA Congress, held in February 2016, decided to include an explicit
human rights commitment in the revised FIFA Statutes which came into force in April 2016. This commitment
is encapsulated in Article 3 which reads as follows: ''FIFA is committed to respecting all internationally recognized human
rights and shall strive to promote the protection of these rights''. At
around the same time, Professor John Ruggie, the author of the United Nations Guiding
Principles on Business and Human Rights ('UN Guiding
Principles') presented in his report 25 specific recommendations for FIFA on how to
further embed respect for human rights across its global operations. While
praising the decision to make a human rights commitment part of the
organization's constituent document, Ruggie concluded that ''FIFA does not have yet adequate systems in
place enabling it to know and show that it respects human rights in practice''.
With the 2018 World Cup
in Russia less than a year away, the time is ripe to look at whether Ruggie's
statement about FIFA's inability to respect human rights still holds true
today. This blog outlines the most salient human rights risks related to FIFA's
activities and offers a general overview of what the world's governing body of
football did over the past twelve months to mitigate these risks. Information
about FIFA's human rights activities is collected primarily from its Activity Update on Human Rights published alongside FIFA's Human Rights Policy in June 2017. More...
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.
ISLJ Annual Conference on International Sports Law
On 26 and 27 October, the T.M.C. Asser Institute in The Hague will host the first ever ISLJ Annual International Sports Law Conference. This year’s edition will feature panels on the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the world anti-doping system, the FIFA transfer regulations, human rights and sports, the labour rights of athletes, and EU law and sport. 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
Editor's Note: Frans M. de Weger is legal counsel for the Federation of Dutch Professional Football Clubs (FBO) and CAS arbitrator. De Weger is author of the book “The Jurisprudence of the FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber”, 2nd edition, published by T.M.C. Asser Press in 2016. Frank John Vrolijk specialises in Sports, Labour and Company Law and is a former legal trainee of FBO and DRC Database.
This second blog will focus
specifically on the sanctions available for FIFA under Article 12bis. It will provide
explanatory guidelines covering the sanctions imposed during the period
The possibility to impose
sanctions under article 12bis constitutes one of the pillars of the 12bis
procedure. Pursuant to Article 12bis of the RSTP, edition 2016, the DRC and the
PSC may impose a sanction on a club if the club is found to have delayed a due
payment for more than 30 days without a prima
facie contractual basis and the creditor have put
the debtor club in default in writing, granting a deadline of at least 10 days. The jurisprudence in
relation to Article 12bis also shows that sanctions are imposed ex officio by the DRC or the PSC and not
per request of the claimant.More...
Editor's Note: Frans M. de Weger is legal counsel
for the Federation of Dutch Professional Football Clubs (FBO) and CAS
arbitrator. De Weger is author of the book “The
Jurisprudence of the FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber”, 2nd
edition, published by T.M.C. Asser Press in 2016. Frank John
Vrolijk specialises in Sports, Labour and Company Law and is a former legal
trainee of FBO and DRC Database.
In this first blog, we will try to answer some questions raised in
relation to the Article 12bis procedure on overdue payables based on the
jurisprudence of the DRC and the PSC during the last two years: from 1 April
2015 until 1 April 2017.
 The awards of the Court of
Arbitration for Sport (hereinafter: “the CAS”) in relation to Article 12bis
that are published on CAS’s website will also be brought to the reader’s
attention. In the second blog, we will focus specifically on the sanctions applied
by FIFA under Article 12bis. In addition, explanatory guidelines will be
offered covering the sanctions imposed during the period surveyed. A more
extensive version of both blogs is pending for publication with the
International Sports Law Journal (ISLJ). If necessary, and for a more detailed
and extensive analysis at certain points, we will make reference to this more
extensive article in the ISLJ. More...
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
The end of governance reforms at FIFA?
The main sports governance
story that surfaced in the press (see here and here) during the last month is related to significant
personal changes made by the FIFA Council within the organization’s
institutional structure. In particular, the FIFA Council dismissed the heads of
the investigatory (Mr Cornel Borbély) and adjudicatory (Mr Hans-Joachim Eckert)
chambers of the Independent Ethics Committee, as well as the Head (Mr Miguel Maduro) of the Governance and Review Committee. The decision to remove Mr Maduro was taken arguably
in response to his active role in barring Mr Vitaly Mutko, a Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, from sitting on
the FIFA Council due to an imminent conflict of interests. These events
constitute a major setback to governance reforms initiated by the football’s
world governing body in 2015. For a more detailed insight into the governance
reforms at FIFA, we invite you to read the recent blog written by our senior researcher Mr
Antoine Duval. More...
This is a follow-up
contribution to my previous blog on human rights
implications of the Olympic Games published last week. Together with
highlighting some of the most serious Olympic Games-related human rights
abuses, the first part has outlined the key elements of the Host City Contract
('HCC') as one of the main legal instruments regulating the execution of the
Olympic Games. It has also indicated that, in February 2017, the International
Olympic Committee ('IOC') revised the 2024 HCC to include, inter alia, explicit human rights
obligations. Without questioning the potential significance of inserting human
rights obligations to the 2024 HCC, this second part will refer to a number of
outstanding issues requiring clarification in order to ensure that these
newly-added human rights obligations are translated from paper to actual practice. More...
Tomáš Grell is currently an LL.M. student
in Public International Law at Leiden University. He contributes to
the work of the ASSER International Sports Law Centre as a part-time
In its press release of 28 February 2017,
the International Olympic Committee ('IOC') communicated that, as part of the
implementation of Olympic Agenda 2020 ('Agenda 2020'), it is
making specific changes to the 2024
Host City Contract with regard to human
rights, anti-corruption and sustainable development. On this occasion, IOC
President Thomas Bach stated that ''this
latest step is another reflection of the IOC's commitment to embedding the
fundamental values of Olympism in all aspects of the Olympic Games''.
Although the Host City of the 2024 Summer Olympic Games is scheduled to be
announced only in September this year, it is now clear that, be it either Los
Angeles or Paris (as Budapest has recently withdrawn its bid), it will have to abide by an additional set of human
This two-part blog will
take a closer look at the execution of the Olympic Games from a human rights
perspective. The first part will address the most serious human rights abuses
that reportedly took place in connection with some of the previous editions of
the Olympic Games. It will also outline the key characteristics of the Host
City Contract ('HCC') as one of the main legal instruments relating to the
execution of the Olympic Games. The second part will shed light on the human
rights provisions that have been recently added to the 2024 HCC and it will seek
to examine how, if at all, these newly-added human rights obligations could be
reflected in practice. For the sake of clarity, it should be noted that the
present blog will not focus on the provisions concerning anti-corruption that
have been introduced to the 2024 HCC together with the abovementioned human
rights provisions. More...
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 Centre.
This blog is a follow up to my previous contribution on the validity of Unilateral Extension Options
(hereafter UEOs) under national and European law. It focuses on the different
approaches taken to UEOs by the FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber (DRC) and the
Court of arbitration for sport (CAS). While in general the DRC has adopted a
strict approach towards their validity, the CAS has followed a more liberal
trend. Nonetheless, the two judicial bodies share a common conclusion: UEOs are
not necessarily invalid. In this second blog I will provide an overview of the similarities
and differences of the two judicial bodies in tackling UEOs. More...
Editor's note: Branislav
Hock (@bran_hock) is PhD Researcher at the Tilburg Law and Economics Center at Tilburg
University. His areas of interests are transnational regulation of corruption, public
procurement, extraterritoriality, compliance, law and economics, and private
ordering. Author can be contacted via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This blog post is based on a paper
co-authored with Suren Gomtsian, Annemarie Balvert, and Oguz Kirman.
Game-changers that lead to financial
success, political revolutions, or innovation, do not come “out of the blue”;
they come from a logical sequence of events supported by well-functioning
institutions. Many of these game changers originate from transnational private
actors—such as business and sport associations—that produce positive spillover
effects on the economy. In a recent paper forthcoming
in the Yale Journal of International Law, using the example of FIFA, football’s
world-governing body, with co-authors Suren Gomtsian, Annemarie Balvert, and
Oguz Kirman, we show that the success of private associations in creating and
maintaining private legal order depends on the ability to offer better
institutions than their public alternatives do. While financial scandals and
other global problems that relate to the functioning of these private member
associations may call for public interventions, such interventions, in most
cases, should aim to improve private orders rather than replace them. More...