Editor's Note: Pedro is an intern at the
Asser Institute and currently studying the Erasmus Mundus Master Degree in
Sports Ethics and Integrity (KU Leuven et al.) He worked as a research fellow for the Centre for Sport and
Human Rights, and his
primary research interests lie in the fields of International Human Rights
can’t do everything and I can’t do it alone. I need allies.” These are the words of the seven-time Formula 1 (F1) world champion,
Lewis Hamilton. He was urging more support to advocate for the protection of
human rights in the countries visited by Formula 1. During the last years, Hamilton together with Sebastian Vettel, have become the leaders of a movement demanding
accountability and greater awareness of the impact of F1 on society.
inclusion of the Bahrain GP on the F1 racing calendar for the first time in
2004 ignited concerns, which have grown with the inclusion of Abu Dhabi in
2007, Russia in 2014, Azerbaijan in 2017, and Saudi Arabia and Qatar in 2021.
The inability and lack of commitment of state authorities to protect and
respect human rights, the ineffectiveness of judicial procedures and the
systematic repression of political opposition are some of the factors that make
these countries prone to human rights violations. Academics and CSOs regularly argue that F1, by signing multi-million dollar contracts with these countries, is complicit in sportwashing. Those pulling the sport’s strings deny
these accusations and claim that human rights are at the centre of their agenda when they visit these countries. They
claim F1 can drive the improvement of human rights standards in a particular
country. However, reality tells a different story. The Bahrain GP has been
running for more than a decade and the situation in the country has only worsened, without any signs of F1 contributing to the
improvement of the protection of human rights there.
blog aims to provide an overview of the human rights challenges F1 is facing when
hosting a Grand Prix. For this purpose, a case study of the Bahrain GP, one of
the longest-running on the modern
F1 calendar, will be carried out. This will allow us to examine in detail the
historical evolution of the GP, the complaints from civil society organisations
and the reaction of the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) and
other stakeholders to the ongoing allegations of human rights violations.More...
Call for papers
on International Sports Law
Institute, The Hague
25 and 26
The Editors of the International Sports Law Journal
(ISLJ) invite you to submit abstracts for the ISLJ Conference on International
Sports Law, which will take place on 25 and 26 October 2022 at the Asser
Institute in The Hague. The ISLJ, published by Springer and TMC Asser Press, is
the leading academic publication in the field of international sports law. The
conference is a unique occasion to discuss the main legal issues affecting
international sports and its governance with renowned academic experts.
We are delighted to announce the following confirmed
- Jonathan Grix (Professor of Sport Policy and Politics at Manchester
Metropolitan University), and
- Mary Harvey (CEO
at the Centre for Sport and Human Rights),
- Ben Van Rompuy (Assistant Professor at Leiden University).
We welcome abstracts from academics and practitioners
on all issues related to international sports law and governance. We also welcome
panel proposals (including a minimum of three presenters) on a specific issue.
For this year’s edition, we specifically invite submissions on the following themes
- International sports law and governance in times of conflict:
- The emergence of the idea(l) of political neutrality of
SGBs and its translation in legal/governance practice
- The intersection between public international law and
international sports law and governance in the context of international
- The role of sports diplomacy/conditionality in the
context of international conflicts
- International sports law and the Russian invasion of
- Human rights and mega sporting events (MSEs)
- The adverse or positive impact of MSEs on (specific) human
- The influence of human rights commitments on the
organisation of MSEs
- The effects of MSEs on human rights in organising
- The responsibilities and strategies of SGBs to ensure
respect of human rights at MSEs
- The role and responsibilities of states in ensuring
respect of human rights in the context of MSEs
- Competition law and challenges to the governance monopoly of SGBs
- The impact of competition law on SGBs and their
- The limits of competition law on effecting change in the
governance of sport
- The specific modalities of application of competition
law to sports governance
- The legitimacy of competition authorities in
Please send your abstract of 300 words and CV no later
than 1 July 2022 to firstname.lastname@example.org. Selected speakers will be informed by 15 July.
The selected participants will be expected to submit a
draft paper by 10 October 2022. Papers accepted and presented at the conference
are eligible for publication in a special issue of the ISLJ subject to
peer-review. Submissions after this date will be considered for
publication in later editions of the Journal.
Asser Institute will cover one night accommodation for the speakers and may
provide a limited amount of travel grants (max. 250€). If you wish to be considered for a
grant, please indicate it in your submission.
Daniela is a researcher at the Asser Institute in the field of sport and human rights. She has a
background in public international law and human rights law and defended
her PhD project entitled “Blurred Lines of Responsibility and
Accountability – Human Rights Abuses at Mega-Sporting Events” in April
2021 at Tilburg University. She also works as independent consultant in the field of sport and human rights for the Centre for Sport and Human Rights, or the European Parliament among other clients from the sports ecosystem
As Head of Policy and Outreach, Guido is in charge of the Centre for Sport & Human Rights engagement with governments, international and intergovernmental organisations and sports organisations. He represents the Centre at conferences, events and bilateral dialogues to reach new audiences and partners and raise public awareness and understanding of the Centre’s work .
On February 24,
2022, the Russian military invaded Ukrainian territory. What followed was an
escalation of the war, day by day, causing thousands of victims and forcing
millions of people to flee. On March 2, the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly adopted a resolution deploring "in the strongest possible terms" Russia's
aggression against Ukraine by a vote of 141 to 5, with 35 abstentions. On March
29, Russian and Ukrainian representatives met in Istanbul for another round of
negotiations. No ceasefire has been agreed and hostilities continue.
international organizations and corporations quickly took measures in response
to this invasion. Hundreds of companies decided to withdraw
from Russia. Some countries decided to strengthen economic
sanctions against Russia and Belarus and to provide military and economic help
to Ukraine. Many civil society actors mobilised to organize and provide humanitarian
support for Ukraine. Interestingly, international sports organisations like the
International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Fédération Internationale de Football
Association (FIFA), World Athletics and many other international federations, issued
statements condemning the invasion and imposed bans and sanctions on Russian
and Belarussian sports bodies and athletes.
This blog post provides
an overview of the measures adopted by a number of international sports
federations (IFs) that are part of the Olympic Movement since
the beginning of the war and analyses how they relate to the statements issued
by the IOC and other sanctions and measures taken by international sports organisations
in reaction to (geo)political tensions and conflict.
Sport events, especially when they are of a global scale, have
been facing more and more questions about their impact on local
communities, the environment, and human rights.
It has become clear that their social legitimacy is not a
given, but must be earned by showing that sport events can positively
contribute to society. During this half-day conference, we will debate
the proposal of a European Social Charter for Sport Events in order to
achieve this goal.
In January 2021, a consortium of eight partners launched a
three-year project, supported by the European Commission under the
Erasmus+ scheme, aimed at devising a European Social Charter for Sport
Events (ESCSE). The project ambitions to develop a Charter which will
contribute to ensuring that sport events taking place in the European
Union are socially beneficial to the local communities concerned and,
more generally, to those affected by them. The project is directly
inspired by the decision of the Paris 2024 bid to commit to a social
charter enforced throughout the preparation and the course of the 2024
This first public event in the framework of the ESCSE project,
will be introducing the project to a wider public. During the event we
will review the current state of the implementation of the Paris 2024
Social Charter, discuss the expectations of stakeholders and academics
for a European Social Charter and present for feedback the first draft
of the ESCSE (and its implementing guidelines) developed by the project
members. It will be a participatory event; we welcome input from the
The Asser International Sports Law Centre, powered by the Asser
Institute, is contributing to the project through the drafting of a
background study, which we will introduce during the conference.
Please note that we can
provide some financial support (up to 100 euros) towards travel
and/or accommodation costs for a limited number of participants
coming from other EU Member States or the UK. To apply for this
financial support please reach out to ConferenceManager@asser.nl. `
Editor's note: Jeremy Abel
is a recent graduate of the LL.M in International Business Law and Sports of
the University of Lausanne.
South African athlete Caster Semenya is in the last lap of her long legal
battle for her right to run without changing the natural testosterone in her
body. After losing her cases before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS)
and the Swiss Federal Tribunal, she filed an application
before the European Court of Human Rights (Court). In the meantime, the Court
a summary of her complaint and a series of questions addressed to the parties
of the case.
As is well
known, she is challenging the World Athletics’ Eligibility
Regulations for the Female Classification (Regulations) defining the conditions under which female
and intersex athletes with certain types of differences of sex development
(DSDs) can compete in international athletics events. Despite the Regulations
emanating from World Athletics, the last round of her legal battle is against a
new opponent: Switzerland.
of this article is to revisit the Semenya case from a European
Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) perspective while considering certain
excellent points made by previous contributors (see here,
to this blog. Therefore, the blog will follow the basic structure of an ECHR
case. The following issues raised by Semenya shall be analysed: the applicability
of the ECHR, Semenya’s right to private life (Article 8 ECHR) and to non
discrimination (Article 14 ECHR), as well as the proportionality of the
On Thursday 14 October 2021 from 16.00-17.30 CET, the Asser International Sports Law Centre, in collaboration with Dr Marjolaine Viret (University of Lausanne), will be launching the second season of the Zoom-In webinar series, with a first episode on Diversity at the Court of Arbitration for Sport: Time for a Changing of the Guard?
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) is a well-known mainstay of
global sport. It has the exclusive competence over challenges against
decisions taken by most international sports governing bodies and its
jurisprudence covers a wide range of issues (doping, corruption,
match-fixing, financial fair play, transfer or selection disputes)
including disciplinary sanctions and governance disputes. In recent
years, the CAS has rendered numerous awards which triggered world-wide
public interest, such as in the Semenya v World Athletics case or the
case between WADA and RUSADA resulting from the Russian doping scandal
(we discussed both cases in previous Zoom-In discussion available here and here). In short, the CAS has tremendous influence on the shape of global sport and its governance.
However, as we will discuss during this webinar, recent work has
shown that the arbitrators active at the CAS are hardly reflective of
the diversity of people its decisions ultimately affect. This in our
view warrants raising the question of the (urgent) need to change the
(arbitral) guard at the CAS. To address these issues with us, we have
invited two speakers who have played an instrumental role in putting
numbers on impressions widely shared by those in contact with the CAS:
Prof. Johan Lindholm (Umea University) and attorney-at-law Lisa Lazarus (Morgan Sports Law). Johan recently published a ground-breaking monograph on The Court of Arbitration for Sport and Its Jurisprudence
in which he applies empirical and quantitative methods to analyse the
work of the CAS. This included studying the sociological characteristics
of CAS arbitrators. Lisa and her colleagues at Morgan Sports Law very
recently released a blog post on Arbitrator Diversity at the Court of Arbitration for Sport,
which reveals a stunning lack of diversity (based on their
calculations, 4,5% of appointed CAS arbitrators are female and 0,2% are
black) at the institution ruling over global sport.
Register for free HERE.
Zoom In webinar series
In December 2020, The Asser International Sports Law Centre in collaboration with Dr Marjolaine Viret launched a new series of zoom webinars on transnational sports law: Zoom In. You can watch the video recordings of our past Zoom In webinars on the Asser Institute’s Youtube Channel.
Editor's note: Rhys was an intern at the T.M.C. Asser Institute. He now advises on investments and Notre acquisitions in sport (mainly football) via Lovelle Street Advisory. Following a career as a professional athlete, Rhys has spent much of his professional life as an international sports agent, predominantly operating in football. Rhys has a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) and a Bachelor of Philosophy (B.Phil.) from the University of Dame, Sydney, Australia. He is currently completing an LL.M at the University of Zurich in International Business Law / International Sports Law.
Having looked at the different types of
investors in football in part one of this two-part blog series, “A
non-exhaustive Typology”, it is fitting to now consider the regulations
that apply to investors who seek to build a portfolio of football clubs.
One way to measure the momentum of a
particular practice and how serious it ought to be taken, might be when that
practice earns its own initialism. Multi-club ownership or MCO as it is
increasingly known today, is the name given to those entities that have an
ownership stake in multiple clubs. Within the little research and writing that
has been undertaken on the topic, some authors submit that investors with
minority stakes in multiple clubs ought not to be captured by the MCO
definition. This position appears
problematic given some of the regulations draw the line at influence rather
are now approximately 50 MCO’s across the football world that own approximately
Given the way MCO is trending, one might consider it important that the
regulations keep up with the developing MCO practice, so as to ensure the
integrity of football competitions, and to regulate any other potentially
questionable benefit an MCO might derive that would be contrary to football’s
In this blog, I focus on the variety of
ways (and levels at which) this practice is being regulated. I will move through the football pyramid from
member associations (MA’s) to FIFA, laying the foundations to support a proposition
that FIFA and only FIFA is positioned to regulate MCO. More...
On Wednesday 14 July 2021 from 16.00-17.30 CET, the Asser International Sports Law Centre, in collaboration with Dr Marjolaine Viret, is organizing a Zoom In webinar on Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter and the right to free speech of athletes.
As the Tokyo Olympics are drawing closer, the International Olympic Committee just released new Guidelines on the implementation of Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter.
The latter Rule provides that ‘no kind of demonstration or political,
religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues
or other areas’. The latest IOC Guidelines did open up some space for
athletes to express their political views, but at the same time continue
to ban any manifestation from the Olympic Village or the Podium. In
effect, Rule 50 imposes private restrictions on the freedom of
expression of athletes in the name of the political neutrality of
international sport. This limitation on the rights of athletes is far from uncontroversial
and raises intricate questions regarding its legitimacy,
proportionality and ultimately compatibility with human rights standards
(such as with Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights).
This webinar aims at critically engaging with Rule 50 and its
compatibility with the fundamental rights of athletes. We will discuss
the content of the latest IOC Guidelines regarding Rule 50, the
potential justifications for such a Rule, and the alternatives to its
restrictions. To do so, we will be joined by three speakers, Professor Mark James from Manchester Metropolitan University, who has widely published on the Olympic Games and transnational law; Chui Ling Goh, a Doctoral Researcher at Melbourne Law School, who has recently released an (open access) draft of an article on Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter; and David Grevemberg, Chief
Innovation and Partnerships Officer at the Centre for Sport and Human
Rights, and former Chief Executive of the Commonwealth Games Federation
- Prof. Mark James (Metropolitan Manchester University)
- Chui Ling Goh (PhD candidate, University of Melbourne)
- David Grevemberg (Centre for Sport and Human Rights)
Free Registration HERE