Asser International Sports Law Blog

Our International Sports Law Diary
The Asser International Sports Law Centre is part of the T.M.C. Asser Instituut

Supporters of the ISLJ Annual International Sports Law Conference 2018: Women in Sports Law

Editor's note: In the coming days we will introduce the supporters of our upcoming ISLJ Annual International Sports Law Conference 2018 (also known as #ISLJConf18). To do so, we have sent them a tailored questionnaire aimed at reflecting both their activities and their expectations for the conference. It is a good opportunity for us to thank them for their enthusiastic support and commitment to international sports law research. We are very proud to start this series of interviews with Women in Sports Law, an association launched in 2016 and which has already done so much to promote and advance the role of women in international sports law (many thanks to Despina Mavromati for kindly responding to our questions on behalf of WISLaw).


1. Can you explain to our readers what WISLaw is about?

Women In Sports Law (WISLaw, www.wislaw.co) is an international association based in Lausanne that unites more than 300 women from 50 countries specializing in sports law. It is a professional network that aims at increasing the visibility of women working in the sector, through a detailed members’ directory and various small-scale talks and events held in different countries around the world. These small-scale events give the opportunity to include everyone in the discussion and enhance the members’ network. Men from the sector and numerous arbitral institutions, conference organizers and universities have come to actively support our initiative.


2. What are the challenges and opportunities for women getting involved in international sports law?

Women used to be invisible in this sector. All-male panels were typical at conferences and nobody seemed to notice this flagrant lack of diversity. WISLaw created this much-needed platform to increase visibility through the members’ directory and through a series of small-scale events where all members, independent of their status or seniority, can attend and be speakers.

Another difficulty is that European football (soccer) is traditionally considered to be a “male-dominated” sport, despite the fact that there are so many great female football teams around the world. The same misperception applies to sports lawyers!

Last, there is a huge number of women lawyers working as in-house counsel and as sports administrators. There is a glass ceiling for many of those women, and the WISLaw annual evaluation of the participation of women in those positions attempts to target their issues and shed more light into this specific problem.


3. What are the burning issues in international sports law that you would like to see discussed at the conference?

The ISLJ Annual Conference has already set up a great lineup of topics combining academic and more practical discussions in the most recent issues in international sports law. 


4. Why did you decide to support the ISLJ Annual International Sports Law Conference?

The Asser International Sports Law Centre has promoted and supported WISLaw since the very beginning. The ISLJ Annual International Sports Law Conference was the first big conference to officially include a WISLaw lunch talk in its program, allowing thus the conference attendees to be part of a wider informal discussion on a specific topical issue and raise their questions with respect to WISLaw. Another important reason why WISLaw supports this conference is because the conference organizers are making sincere efforts to have increased diversity in the panels : this year’s ISLJ Annual International Sports Law Conference is probably the first sports law conference to come close to a full gender balance in its panels, with 40% of the speakers being women !

The proportionality test under Art. 101 (1) TFEU and the legitimacy of UEFA Financial fair-play regulations: From the Meca Medina and Majcen ruling of the European Court of Justice to the Galatasaray and AC Milan awards of the Court of Arbitration for Sport – By Stefano Bastianon

Editor’s note: Stefano Bastianon is Associate Professor in EU Law and EU sports law at the University of Bergamo and lawyer admitted to the Busto Arsizio bar. He is also member of the IVth Division of the High Court of Sport Justice (Collegio di Garanzia dello sport) at the National Olympic Committee.

 

1. On the 20th July 2018, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (hereinafter referred to as “CAS”) issued its decision in the arbitration procedure between AC Milan and UEFA. The subject matter of this arbitration procedure was the appeal filed by AC Milan against the decision of the Adjudicatory Chamber of the UEFA Financial Control Body dated 19th June 2018 (hereinafter referred to as “the contested decision”). As many likely know, the CAS has acknowledged that, although AC Milan was in breach of the break-even requirement, the related exclusion of the club from the UEFA Europe League was not proportionate. To date, it is the first time the CAS clearly ruled that the sanction of exclusion from UEFA club competitions for a breach of the break-even requirement was not proportionate. For this reason the CAS award represents a good opportunity to reflect on the proportionality test under Art. 101 TFEU and the relationship between the landmark ruling of the European Court of Justice (hereinafter referred to as “ECJ”) in the Meca Medina and Majcen affair and the very recent case-law of the CAS. More...

The “Victory” of the Court of Arbitration for Sport at the European Court of Human Rights: The End of the Beginning for the CAS

My favourite speed skater (Full disclosure: I have a thing for speed skaters bothering the ISU), Claudia Pechstein, is back in the news! And not from the place I expected. While all my attention was absorbed by the Bundesverfassungsgericht in Karlsruhe (BVerfG or German Constitutional Court), I should have looked to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg (ECtHR). The Pechstein and Mutu joint cases were pending for a long time (since 2010) and I did not anticipate that the ECtHR would render its decision before the BVerfG. The decision released last week (only available in French at this stage) looked at first like a renewed vindication of the CAS (similar to the Bundesgerichtshof (BGH) ruling in the Pechstein case), and is being presented like that by the CAS, but after careful reading of the judgment I believe this is rather a pyrrhic victory for the status quo at the CAS. As I will show, this ruling puts to rest an important debate surrounding CAS arbitration since 20 years: CAS arbitration is (at least in its much-used appeal format in disciplinary cases) forced arbitration. Furthermore, stemming from this important acknowledgment is the recognition that CAS proceedings must comply with Article 6 § 1 of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR), in particular hearings must in principle be held in public and decisions freely available to all. Finally, I will criticise the Court’s finding that CAS complies with the requirements of independence and impartiality imposed by Article 6 § 1 ECHR. I will not rehash the  well-known facts of both cases, in order to focus on the core findings of the decision. More...

ISLJ International Sports Law Conference 2018 - Asser Institute - 25-26 October - Register Now!

Dear all,

Last year we decided to launch the 'ISLJ Annual International Sports Law Conference' in order to give a public platform to the academic discussions on international sports law featured in the ISLJ. The first edition of the conference was a great success (don't take my word for it, just check out #ISLJConf17 on twitter), featuring outstanding speakers and lively discussions with the room. We were very happy to see people from some many different parts of the world congregating at the Institute to discuss the burning issues of their field of practice and research.

This year, on 25 and 26 October, we are hosting the second edition and we are again welcoming well-known academics and practitioners in the field. The discussions will turn around the notion of lex sportiva, the role of Swiss law in international sports law, the latest ISU decision of the European Commission, the Mutu/Pechstein ruling of the European Court of Human Rights, or the reform proposal of the FIFA Regulations on the Transfer and Status of Players. It should be, it will be, an exciting two days!

You will find below the final programme of the conference, please feel free to circulate it within your networks. We have still some seats left, so don't hesitate to register (here) and to join us.

Looking forward to seeing you and meeting you there!

Antoine

Football Intermediaries: Would a European centralized licensing system be a sustainable solution? - By Panagiotis Roumeliotis

Editor's note: Panagiotis Roumeliotis holds an LL.B. degree from National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece and an LL.M. degree in European and International Tax Law from University of Luxembourg. He is qualified lawyer in Greece and is presently working as tax advisor with KPMG Luxembourg while pursuing, concomitantly, an LL.M. in International Sports Law at Sheffield Hallam University, England. His interest lies in the realm of tax and sports law. He may be contacted by e-mail at ‘p.roumeliotis@hotmail.com’.


Introduction

The landmark Bosman Ruling triggered the Europeanization of the labour market for football players by banning nationality quotas. In turn, in conjunction with the boom in TV revenues, this led to a flourishing transfer market in which players’ agents or intermediaries play a pivotal role, despite having a controversial reputation.

As a preliminary remark, it is important to touch upon the fiduciary duty of sports agents towards their clients. The principal-agent relationship implies that the former employs the agent so as to secure the best employment and/or commercial opportunities. Conversely, the latter is expected to act in the interest of the player as their relationship should be predicated on trust and confidence, as much was made clear in the English Court of Appeal case of Imageview Management Ltd v. Kelvin Jack. Notably, agents are bound to exercise the utmost degree of good faith, honesty and loyalty towards the players.[1]

At the core of this blog lies a comparative case study of the implementation of the FIFA Regulations on working with intermediaries (hereinafter “FIFA RWI”) in eight European FAs covering most of the transfers during the mercato. I will then critically analyze the issues raised by the implementation of the RWI and, as a conclusion, offer some recommendations. More...



Seraing vs. FIFA: Why the rumours of CAS’s death have been greatly exaggerated

Rumours are swirling around the decision (available in French here) of the Court of Appeal of Brussels in the case opposing RFC Seraing United to FIFA (as well as UEFA and the Belgian Football Federation, URSBFA) over the latter’s ban on third-party ownership. The headlines in various media are quite dramatic (see here and here), references are made to a new Bosman, or to a shaken sport’s legal system. Yet, after swiftly reading the decision for the first time on 29th August, I did not have, unlike with the Pechstein ruling of the Oberlandesgericht München, the immediate impression that this would be a major game-changer for the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and the role of arbitration in sports in general. After careful re-reading, I understand how certain parts of the ruling can be misunderstood or over-interpreted. I believe that much of the press coverage failed to accurately reflect the reasoning of the court and to capture the real impact of the decision. In order to explain why, I decided to write a short Q&A (including the (not water-proof) English translations of some of the key paragraphs of the decision).

 More...

New Article Published! The Olympic Charter: A Transnational Constitution Without a State?

My latest article has just been published online by the Journal of Law and Society. It is available open access here.

The article stems from a conference organised by Jiri Priban from Cardiff University on Gunther Teubner's idea of societal constitutionalism applied to transnational regimes. My role was to test whether his descriptive and normative framework was readily applicable to the lex sportiva, and in particular its overarching "constitutional" text: the Olympic Charter.

As you will see my conclusion is mixed. I find that the Olympic Charter (OC) displays many constitutional features and is even able to regularly defend successfully its autonomy vis-à-vis national states and their laws. However, while I document some inception of limitative constitutional rules, such as the ban on discrimination or the principle of fair play, I also conclude that those have limited impact in practice. While constitutional changes to the OC can be triggered by scandal, resistance and contestation, as illustrated by the emergence of environmental concerns after the Albertville Games and the governance reshuffle of the IOC after the Salt Lake City scandal, I am also sceptical that these were sufficient to tackle the underlying problems, as became obvious with the unmatched environmental damage caused by the Sotchi Games in 2014.

In conclusion, more than sporadic public outrage, I believe that the intervention of national law and, even more, European Union law will be capable and needed to rein the Olympic regime and impose external constitutional constraints on its (at least sometimes) destructive operations.

Here is the abstract of the article: This article examines various aspects of Teubner's theory of societal constitutionalism using the lex sportiva as an empirical terrain. The case study focuses on the operation of the Olympic Charter as a transnational constitution of the Olympic movement. It shows that recourse to a constitutional vocabulary is not out of place in qualifying the function and authority of the Charter inside and outside the Olympic movement. Yet, the findings of the case study also nuance some of Teubner's descriptive claims and question his normative strategy.

Good read! (And do not hesitate to share your feedback)


New Position - Internship in International Sports Law - Deadline 15 August


The T.M.C. Asser Instituut offers post-graduate students the opportunity to gain practical experience in the field of international and European sports law.  The T.M.C. Asser Instituut, located in The Hague, is an inter-university research institute specialized in international and European law. Since 2002, it is the home of the ASSER International Sports Law Centre, a pioneer in the field of European and international sports law. More...


Human Rights Protection and the FIFA World Cup: A Never-Ending Match? - By Daniela Heerdt

Editor’s note: Daniela Heerdt is a PhD candidate at Tilburg Law School in the Netherlands. Her PhD research deals with the establishment of responsibility and accountability for adverse human rights impacts of mega-sporting events, with a focus on FIFA World Cups and Olympic Games. She recently published an article in the International Sports Law Journal that discusses to what extent the revised bidding and hosting regulations by FIFA, the IOC and UEFA strengthen access to remedy for mega-sporting events-related human rights violations.


The 21st FIFA World Cup is currently underway. Billions of people around the world follow the matches with much enthusiasm and support. For the time being, it almost seems forgotten that in the final weeks leading up to the events, critical reports on human rights issues related to the event piled up. This blog explains why addressing these issues has to start well in advance of the first ball being kicked and cannot end when the final match has been played. More...



Call for papers: Annual International Sports Law Conference of the International Sports Law Journal - 25 & 26 October - Asser Institute, The Hague

 Call for papers: Annual International Sports Law Conference of the International Sports Law Journal

Asser Institute, The Hague

25 and 26 October 2018

The editorial board of the International Sports Law Journal (ISLJ) is inviting you to submit abstracts for its second ISLJ Annual Conference on International Sports Law, which will take place on 25 and 26 October at the Asser Institute in The Hague. The ISLJ published by Springer in collaboration with Asser Press is the leading academic publication in the field of international sports law. Its readership includes academics and many practitioners active in the field. This call is open to researchers as well as practitioners. 

We are also delighted to announce that Prof. Franck Latty (Université Paris Nanterre), Prof. Margareta Baddeley (Université de Genève), and Silvia Schenk (member of FIFA’s Human Rights Advisory Board) have confirmed their participation as keynote speakers.

Abstracts could, for example, tackle questions linked to the following international sports law subjects:

  • The interaction between EU law and sport
  • Antitrust and sports regulation
  • International sports arbitration (CAS, BAT, etc.)
  • The functioning of the world anti-doping system (WADA, WADC, etc.)
  • The global governance of sports
  • The regulation of mega sporting events (Olympics, FIFA World Cup, etc.)
  • The transnational regulation of football (e.g. the operation of the FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players or the UEFA Financial Fair Play Regulations)
  • The global fight against corruption in sport  
  • Comparative sports law
  • Human rights in sport 

Please send your abstract (no more than 300 words) and CV no later than 30 April 2018 to a.duval@asser.nl. Selected speakers will be informed by 15 May.

The selected participants will be expected to submit a draft paper by 1 September 2018. All papers presented at the conference are eligible for publication in a special edition of the ISLJ.  To be considered for inclusion in the conference edition of the journal, the final draft must be submitted for review by 15 December 2018.  Submissions after this date will be considered for publication in later editions of the Journal.

The Asser Institute will cover one night accommodation for the speakers and will provide a limited amount of travel grants (max. 300€). If you wish to be considered for a grant please justify your request in your submission. 

Asser International Sports Law Blog | How 2019 Will Shape the International Sports Law of the 2020s - By Thomas Terraz

Asser International Sports Law Blog

Our International Sports Law Diary
The Asser International Sports Law Centre is part of the T.M.C. Asser Instituut

How 2019 Will Shape the International Sports Law of the 2020s - By Thomas Terraz

Editor’s note: Thomas Terraz is a fourth year LL.B. candidate at the International and European Law programme at The Hague University of Applied Sciences with a specialisation in European Law. Currently he is pursuing an internship at the T.M.C. Asser Institute with a focus on International and European Sports Law.

 

1.     Introduction

As we begin plunging into a new decade, it can be helpful to look back and reflect on some of the most influential developments and trends from 2019 that may continue to shape international sports law in 2020 and beyond. Hence, this piece will not attempt to recount every single sports law news item but rather identify a few key sports law stories of 2019 that may have a continued impact in the 2020s. The following sections are not in a particular order.

2.     Court of Justice of the European Union’s TopFit Decision

The Court of Justice of the European Union’s decision in TopFit in June sent shockwaves in the EU sports law world by finally providing some answers to a long untouched issue of purely amateur sport. The case concerned an Italian amateur athlete, living in Germany for several years who had been precluded from participating in a German national championship in the senior category due to no longer fulfilling the nationality requirements because of a change of the Deutscher Leichtathletikverband’s (DLV) regulations governing this issue. Daniele Biffi, the athlete in the case, argued that this violated his European citizenship rights under Articles 18 and 21 TFEU. Leading up to the final decision, the Advocate General’s opinion in the case, analyzed in an earlier blog, had sidelined this argument in favor of embracing a more familiar economic argument based on the freedom of establishment. AG Tanchev contended that an analysis based on Article 18 and 21 TFEU may open a pandora’s box by giving horizontal direct effect to Article 21 TFEU. In the end, the CJEU took the issue of European citizenship rights head on. The CJEU’s decision, also analyzed in our blog, focused on three themes: the general applicability of EU law to amateur sport, the horizontal applicability of European citizenship rights, and the justifications and accompanied proportionality requirements to nationality restrictions in national championships. It found that Mr. Biffi could rely on Articles 18 and 21 TFEU and ruled that the DLV’s justifications for the rule change were disproportionate.

All things considered, there are a variety of ways TopFit may have a lasting impact. For example, the ‘golden rule’ of EU sports law had once been that an economic dimension was always needed to trigger the applicability of EU law. This is clearly no longer the case as the CJEU in TopFit expressly confirmed that European citizenship rights, which do not require an economic dimension to be invoked, could be relied upon in a sports related case, meaning that all sport activity is subject to EU law. Additionally, TopFit may have unlocked the true potential behind European citizenship rights by giving them horizontal direct effect, which may have ramifications far beyond sports law.[1]  In the years ahead, it will be interesting to see whether this will trigger a flood of new cases based on European citizenship rights.

3.     Decision of the Bundeskartellamt (German Competition Authority) Concerning Rule 40 of the Olympic Charter

As has become tradition in the lead up to an Olympic year, athletes have once more been pushing back against bye-law 3 of rule 40 of the Olympic Charter (OC), which restricts advertisements from athletes participating in the Olympic Games. While rule 40’s intent is to combat ambush marketing at the Games to protect the value of the Olympic Partner Programme (TOP), athletes have argued that it severely restricts their ability to financially exploit their sport achievements during the Olympic Games, which for many is a once in a lifetime opportunity for greater exposure.[2] This is compounded by the fact that many athletes struggle to make a living from their sport. This situation most recently culminated in a decision of the Bundeskartellamt (the German competition law authority) that focused on this issue. In its preliminary assessment of the case, the Bundeskartellamt took a restrictive view of when limitations on athlete advertisements could be justified by narrowly interpreting ambush marketing and finding that restrictions on advertisement must aim to protect specific intellectual property rights. In the end, the Deutscher Olympischer Sportbund (Germany’s national Olympic committee) made several commitments to resolve the case.[3]

The decision is likely to (and has already to a certain extent[4]) help spark a shift in the IOC’s position on this issue. Furthermore, the British Olympic Association has just recently faced a new complaint on behalf of some of its athletes. Regardless, it is clear the European Commission is closely following the situation and given the Bundeskartellamt’s decision is only enforceable within Germany, there is a continued possibility that the Commission and ultimately the CJEU may eventually have a final say on this issue. Rule 40 undoubtedly is an issue that deserves attention, especially with Tokyo 2020 around the corner.

4.     Sun Yang’s Public Hearing at the CAS

2019 also proved to be quite the historic year for sport arbitration since for the second time in its 35-year history, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) conducted a public hearing. It signals that the European Court of Human Rights’ (ECtHR) Pechstein decision is starting to have a transformative effect at the CAS. To quickly recap, the ECtHR had found in Pechstein that clauses that impose CAS arbitration as a condition to participate in sport activity amount to forced arbitration, meaning that in cases resulting from such circumstances (especially disciplinary cases) the CAS must observe Article 6§1 of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR), which sets out the right to a fair trial.[5] This includes that ‘in principle, litigants have a right to a public hearing’.[6] Consequently, parties have greater room to request a public hearing at the CAS, especially when the dispute is of a disciplinary nature.[7] Hence, Sun Yang’s public hearing may be heralding a new era where public hearings at the CAS become a common display.

Sun Yang’s hearing also highlighted some of the practical challenges of conducting live hearings when the proceedings are in a different language as some of the parties and/or witnesses. As covered in our monthly report, the interpreters failed to properly translate multiple testimonies during the Sun Yang hearing. Many wondered whether there would be a need for greater safeguards in terms of the quality of translation given how it can affect one’s right to be heard. However, the CAS maintained that it could not directly hire its own ‘official’ translators because it would potentially threaten its ‘independence and neutrality’. Yet, one could envision that the CAS would set certain minimum standards for parties’ interpreters and or manages a list of accredited interpreters from which the parties could pick. In any event, this case signals the beginning of a new public era in sports arbitration that will profoundly shift the way the game is played at the CAS in the 2020s.

5.     New FIFA Legal Portal

FIFA has taken a step towards increasing its transparency through the launch of a new legal portal in which it has undertaken to publish all the decisions of the Disciplinary Committee, Appeal Committee, the Adjudicatory Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee, the Dispute Resolution Chamber, the Player Status Committee, the CAS where FIFA is a party, and a multitude of other documents with a legal dimension. According to FIFA, these decisions will be updated every 4 months, meaning that a new batch of decisions should be expected to be posted soon. The initiative for the FIFA Legal portal was resulting from a push for greater transparency in its governance as a cornerstone of its 2016 FIFA 2.0: The Vision for the Future.

Increasing transparency in this manner will give greater room for stakeholders and the general public to keep FIFA accountable, review the work of its disciplinary bodies and criticise the legal reasoning they use. However, only time will tell whether this portal will deliver a reliable and useful level of transparency enabling a rigorous public scrutiny on FIFA.

6.     Caster Semenya Case

Caster Semenya’s struggles with World Athletics (formerly IAAF) continued in 2019, culminating in a CAS award followed by an interim decision of the Swiss Federal Tribunal (SFT), both in favor of World Athletics. The case revolved around World Athletics’ DSD Regulations (difference of sex development) that required athletes competing in the female category in certain events (400m to one mile) at an international level to keep their testosterone levels below five nmol/L. Caster Semenya challenged these regulations arguing that they were ‘unfairly’ discriminating against females and especially those with ‘certain physiological traits’ because they were not scientifically based, they are ‘unnecessary to ensure fair competition within the female classification’ and would likely ‘cause grave, unjustified and irreparable harm’. The CAS award found that the DSD Regulations are discriminatory, however, they are also proportionate to World Athletics’ ‘aim of preserving the integrity of female athletics’. The award was subsequently appealed to the Swiss Federal Tribunal who in a second interim decision lifted its provisional suspension of the DSD Regulations. With this decision, Caster Semenya was barred from participating in the World Championships in Doha.

Looking at the case as a whole, some have underlined the manner in which World Athlete’s regulations only target women and argued that it is fundamentally rooted in gender stereotypes. It also illustrates how certain assumptions on sex[8] have shaped World Athletics policies on this issue, while others also contend that it is unethical to force athletes to have to reduce their testosterone levels if there is no underlying medical need.[9]  To be fair, the issue is not entirely black and white and nuanced arguments have also been made in support of testosterone testing.[10] In any event, this case will necessarily become an important classic of international sports law and most likely linger in the docket of the ECtHR (or of the South African constitutional court) for years to come. It will refine the scope of the autonomy of SGBs and test the reputation of the CAS.   

7.     Russian Doping Scandal Continues

The last, and perhaps the news item that received the most media attention, is the ongoing Russian doping scandal. Worries arose once again earlier this year after inconsistencies were uncovered from data retrieved from the Moscow Laboratory. In response, the WADA Executive Committee decided unanimously on December 9 in favor of a four-year period of non-compliance, following the recommendation of WADA’s Compliance Review Committee. RUSADA swiftly appealed the WADA’s decision to the CAS.

The reemergence of the Russian doping scandal has reignited discussions on whether the original decision to declare Russia compliant in September 2018 was perhaps premature. At the time, that decision had been especially criticized by athlete representative groups. This round of the Russian doping scandal may prove to be a greater test on WADA’s ability to keep credibility with the world’s athletes and the general public. Some, like Richard Pound have contended that the new sanctions are tough,[11] but others have argued that more could be done and that leaving the door open to certain ‘approved’ Russian athletes puts clean sport at risk. So far, Russia‘s leadership have mainly characterized the investigation and following sanctions as a witch-hunt stemming from anti-Russian sentiment. The scandal will loom large over the Tokyo Olympics and will probably lead to a fresh wave of Russian cases before the CAS and the SFT.

8.     Conclusion

2019 was a rich year for international and European sports law with many landmark decisions taken, which will have a long-lasting effect on the field. Changes linked to the transparency of sports justice and governance are more likely to have unpredictable transformative consequences as they will enhance the ability of the media to subject sports arbitrators and administrators to rigorous scrutiny. Furthermore, the Rule 40 case and the TopFit decision are also strong reminders of the power of EU law (be it competition law or citizenship rights) as a vehicle to check the decisions of the SGBs. Finally, the Semenya case is certainly the CAS award of the year. It pushed to the forefront a fundamental ethical and philosophical question: Should SGBs be entitled to define the sporting sex of an athlete? What is their legitimacy in taking such a decision?


[1] It is possible that these situations may still be limited since the CJEU’s decision indicates that a power disparity is needed between the parties. See Case C-22/18 TopFit e.V. Daniele Biffi v Deutscher Leichtathletikverband e.V. [2019] ECLI:EU:C:2019:497, para 39.

[2] See our previous blog on rule 40 (and the Bundeskartellamt’s decision), which goes in depth on rule 40’s inception and purpose.

[3] Commitments included: ‘(1) no more authorization required for advertisements during the frozen period and instead athletes can request that the DOSB review planned advertisements beforehand to confirm if it meets the admissibility criteria; (2) advertisement campaigns may now be launched during the frozen period; (3) pictures of athletes during Olympic competitions may be used for advertisement so long as it does not include protected Olympic logos, symbols or designations; (4) videos are restricted only to the German House, the Olympic village or the back of house areas and (5) sports related sanctions are no longer available (only economic sanctions are possible) and athletes may have recourse to German courts.’

[4] Rule 40 OC has been reformulated from a ban on athlete advertisement with certain exceptions to where athlete advertisements are allowed subject to restrictions.

[5] See Antoine Duval, ‘The “Victory” of the Court of Arbitration for Sport at the European Court of Human Rights: The End of the Beginning for the CAS’ (Asser International Sports Law Blog, 10 October 2018).

[6]Guide on Article 6 of the European Convention on Huma Rights’ (ECtHR 2019).

[7] The R57 of the Code was amended in January of last year. See the current version of R57 CAS Code.

[8] While this piece was written in relation to the previous IAAF regulations ‘Regulations Governing Eligibility of Females with Hyperandrogenism to Compete in Women's Competition’, it is still relevant to the current regulations: Cheryl Cooky and Shari L Dworkin, ‘Policing the Boundaries of Sex: A Critical Examination of Gender Verification and the Caster Semenya Controversy’ [2013] 50 Journal of Sex Research 103.

[9] This piece also was written concerning the previous IAAF regulations, it also is still relevant to the current discussion: Malcolm Ferguson-Smith and Dawn Bavington, ‘Natural Selection for Genetic Variants in Sport: The Role of Y Chromosome Genes in Elite Female Athletes with 46,XY DSD’ [2014] 44 Sports Medicine 1629.

[10] This piece also was written concerning the previous IAAF regulations, it also is still relevant to the current discussion: Francisco J. Sánchez , María José Martínez-Patiño and Eric Vilain, ‘The New Policy on Hyperandrogenism in Elite Female Athletes is Not About “Sex Testing”’ [2013] 50 Journal of Sex Research 112.

[11] See also LawInSport’s interview with Jonathan Taylor QC, chair of WADA’s Compliance Review Committee, explaining the reasoning behind the recommendations.

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