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

International and European Sports Law – Monthly Report – June 2017. By Tomáš Grell

 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.

 

The Headlines

 
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...



Mitigating Circumstances and Strict Liability of Clubs in Match-fixing: Are We Going in the Wrong Direction? An Analysis of the Novara and Pro Patria Cases - By Mario Vigna


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.


I.               Introduction 

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.[1] 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 attention.  More...




Overdue payables in action: Reviewing two years of FIFA jurisprudence on the 12bis procedure – Part 2. By Frans M. de Weger and Frank John Vrolijk.

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 surveyed.


Introduction

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[1] and the creditor have put the debtor club in default in writing, granting a deadline of at least 10 days.[2] 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...





Overdue payables in action: Reviewing two years of FIFA jurisprudence on the 12bis procedure – Part 1. By Frans M. de Weger and Frank John Vrolijk.

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. [1] 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...

International and European Sports Law – Monthly Report – May 2017. By Tomáš Grell

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.

The Headlines

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...

The Olympic Games and Human Rights – Part II: Human Rights Obligations Added to the Host City Contract: Turning Point or Empty Promise? – By Tomáš Grell


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...


The Olympic Games and Human Rights – Part I: Introduction to the Host City Contract – By Tomáš Grell

Editor’s note: 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 intern.


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 rights obligations.

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...



Exploring the Validity of Unilateral Extension Options in Football – Part 2: The view of the DRC and the CAS. By Saverio Spera

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...

Nudging, not crushing, private orders - Private Ordering in Sports and the Role of States - By Branislav Hock

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: b.hock@uvt.nl.


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...



What Pogba's transfer tells us about the (de)regulation of intermediaries in football. By Serhat Yilmaz & Antoine Duval

Editor’s note: Serhat Yilmaz (@serhat_yilmaz) is a lecturer in sports law in Loughborough University. His research focuses on the regulatory framework applicable to intermediaries. Antoine Duval (@Ant1Duval) is the head of the Asser International Sports Law Centre.


Last week, while FIFA was firing the heads of its Ethics and Governance committees, the press was overwhelmed with ‘breaking news’ on the most expensive transfer in history, the come back of Paul Pogba from Juventus F.C. to Manchester United. Indeed, Politiken (a Danish newspaper) and Mediapart (a French website specialized in investigative journalism) had jointly discovered in the seemingly endless footballleaks files that Pogba’s agent, Mino Raiola, was involved (and financially interested) with all three sides (Juventus, Manchester United and Pogba) of the transfer. In fine, Raiola earned a grand total of € 49,000,000 out of the deal, a shocking headline number almost as high as Pogba’s total salary at Manchester, without ever putting a foot on a pitch. This raised eyebrows, especially that an on-going investigation by FIFA into the transfer was mentioned, but in the media the sketching of the legal situation was very often extremely confusing and weak. Is this type of three-way representation legal under current rules? Could Mino Raiola, Manchester United, Juventus or Paul Pogba face any sanctions because of it? What does this say about the effectiveness of FIFA’s Regulations on Working with Intermediaries? All these questions deserve thorough answers in light of the publicity of this case, which we ambition to provide in this blog.More...


Asser International Sports Law Blog | Human Rights as Selection Criteria in Bidding Regulations for Mega-Sporting Events – Part I: IOC and UEFA – By Tomáš Grell

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

Human Rights as Selection Criteria in Bidding Regulations for Mega-Sporting Events – Part I: IOC and UEFA – By Tomáš Grell

Editor’s note: 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 intern.


It has been more than seven years since the FIFA Executive Committee awarded the 2022 World Cup to Qatar. And yet only in November 2017 did the Qatari government finally agree to dismantle the controversial kafala system, described by many as modern-day slavery. Meanwhile, hundreds of World Cup-related migrant workers have reportedly been exposed to a wide range of abusive practices such as false promises about the pay, passport confiscation, or appalling working and living conditions.[1] On top of that, some workers have paid the highest price – their life. To a certain extent, all this could have been avoided if human rights had been taken into account when evaluating the Qatari bid to host the tournament. In such a case, Qatar would not have won the bidding contest without providing a convincing explanation of how it intends to ensure that the country's poor human rights record will not affect individuals, including migrant workers, contributing to the delivery of the World Cup. An explicit commitment to abolish the kafala system could have formed an integral part of the bid.

Urged by Professor John Ruggie and his authoritative recommendations,[2] in October 2017 FIFA decided to include human rights within the criteria for evaluating bids to host the 2026 World Cup, following similar steps taken earlier this year by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and UEFA in the context of the Olympic Winter Games 2026 and the Euro 2024 respectively. This two-part blog critically examines the role human rights play in the new bidding regulations adopted by the IOC, UEFA, and FIFA. The first part sheds light on the IOC and UEFA. The second part then takes a closer look at FIFA and aims to use a comparative analysis to determine whether the new bidding regulations are robust enough to ensure that selected candidates abide by international human rights standards.

 

IOC: Olympic Winter Games 2026

About the host selection process

Compared to the past, cities bidding to host the 2026 Games could expect lower costs, simplified procedures, and more assistance provided by the IOC.[3] All interested cities[4] might enter a Dialogue Stage[5] and engage with the IOC to learn more about the benefits and responsibilities associated with the hosting and staging of the Games. Although the Dialogue Stage is non-committal, cities that join are supposed to present their consolidated Games concepts,[6] outlining their vision, long-term plan alignment, or initial financial strategy, as well as providing information with regard to a potential referendum.[7] These consolidated concepts, together with the IOC's own research, will serve as a basis for a preliminary report exploring the capacity of interested cities to deliver successful Games.[8] The IOC Executive Board will review this report and recommend to the IOC Session which cities should be invited to the Candidature Stage.[9] The IOC Session will designate Candidate Cities in October 2018 during its meeting in Buenos Aires.[10]

Candidate Cities will then have until 11 January 2019 to prepare and submit their Candidature Files together with an initial set of core guarantees.[11] In their Candidature Files, Candidate Cities shall provide answers to a variety of questions as set out in the Candidature Questionnaire, covering areas such as sustainability and legacy, transport, accommodation, safety and security, finance, or marketing. Thereafter, Candidate Cities will be visited by the IOC Evaluation Commission that is tasked with conducting an in-depth assessment of each bid and producing a report to help the IOC Session elect the most suitable candidate. The Host City of the 2026 Games will be elected in September 2019.[12]

Human rights as selection criteria

Little attention is paid to human rights in the Candidature Questionnaire. Candidate Cities are only required to provide a guarantee whereby the national government and relevant local authorities undertake to respect and protect human rights and ensure that any violation of human rights is remedied ''in a manner consistent with international agreements, laws and regulations applicable in the Host Country and in a manner consistent with all internationally-recognised human rights standards and principles, including the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, applicable in the Host Country''.[13] This language is somewhat ambiguous because when defining human rights that should be respected and protected in connection with the hosting and staging of the Games, the guarantee first refers to human rights applicable in the Host Country and only then to the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UN Guiding Principles).[14] The latter make clear that the responsibility of business enterprises to respect human rights extends to specific international treaties and other instruments.[15] However, some of these treaties could be inapplicable in the Host Country if not ratified. This would make the guarantee to some extent self-contradictory. Apart from the guarantee, the IOC does not ask for any other human rights-related information from Candidate Cities. In the absence of such information, it is difficult to see how the Evaluation Commission[16] will assess the Candidate Cities' capacity to respect and protect human rights.

 

UEFA: Euro 2024

About the host selection process

While the Euro 2020 will be a bit of an experiment with games scheduled to take place in 12 different cities across the continent, the Euro 2024 returns to its classic format as only one member association will host the tournament. In March 2017, UEFA confirmed that it would be either Germany or Turkey. The next step for both member associations is to submit their Bid Dossiers to UEFA by no later than 27 April 2018.[17] In principle, the bidders must demonstrate in their Bid Dossiers that they meet all Tournament Requirements. Importantly, UEFA reserves the right to appoint independent consultants when evaluating bids.[18] A written evaluation report on each bid will be circulated in September 2018 before the UEFA Executive Committee finally decides which member association will host the Euro 2024.[19]

Human rights as selection criteria

UEFA requires that the bidders and then the Host Association respect, protect, and fulfil human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the rights of workers and children, in line with international treaties and other instruments such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, or the Convention on the Rights of the Child.[20] In order to meet this obligation, the bidders should in particular seek to culturally embed human rights, proactively address human rights risks, engage with relevant stakeholders, and implement means of reporting and accountability.[21] The bidders' capacity to respect, protect, and fulfil human rights will be evaluated based on their human rights strategy that must be included in their Bid Dossiers.[22] As part of this strategy, the member associations bidding to host the Euro 2024 should explain how they are going to integrate the UN Guiding Principles in their activities related to the organisation of the tournament.[23] While no further details are given about the required content of this strategy, UEFA suggests that a successful bid should not fail to: (i) outline proposed measures aimed at preventing human rights abuses, in particular child labour in supply chains and violations of workers' rights; (ii) provide evidence of meaningful consultation with vulnerable groups; or (iii) describe grievance mechanisms that will be available for victims of human rights abuses.[24]

 

Conclusion

Unlike UEFA, the IOC has attracted widespread criticism for being involved with negative human rights impacts.[25] Nevertheless, it is the former who gives more weight to human rights in its new bidding regulations. This is even more surprising given that the IOC introduced its bidding regulations later than UEFA. It seems that the IOC deliberately avoids including human rights within the criteria for evaluating bids to host the Olympic Games, hoping that this would encourage more cities to participate in the host selection process. Further reflections on human rights as selection criteria in bidding regulations for mega-sporting events will be presented in the second part of this blog that will focus on FIFA and provide some comparative perspectives.


[1]    Amnesty International, The Ugly Side of the Beautiful Game: Exploitation of Migrant Workers on a Qatar 2022 World Cup Site, 30 March 2016. See also Human Rights Watch, Qatar: Take Urgent Action to Protect Construction Workers, 27 September 2017.

[2]    John G. Ruggie, For the Game. For the World. FIFA and Human Rights, p. 32.

[3]    IOC, IOC Approves New Candidature Process for Olympic Winter Games 2026, 11 July 2017.

[4]    To the best of my knowledge, Calgary (Canada), Salt Lake City (United States), Sapporo (Japan), Sion (Switzerland), and Telemark (Norway) consider bidding.

[5]    The Dialogue Stage runs from September 2017 to October 2018. Interested cities can join until 31 March 2018. See IOC, Candidature Process for the Olympic Winter Games 2026, pp. 11-17.

[6]    Ibid.

[7]    On 15 October 2017, a referendum was held in the Austrian province of Tirol. A negative outcome prevented the city of Innsbruck from launching a bid to host the 2026 Games.

[8]    This report is to be drawn up by the Olympic Winter Games 2026 Working Group overseen by an IOC member and consisting of individuals representing the International Paralympic Committee, the IOC's Athletes Commission, International Winter Sports Federations, and National Olympic Committees. See Candidature Process for the Olympic Winter Games 2026, p. 16.

[9]    Ibid.

[10]   The capital of Argentina will host the 2018 Youth Olympic Games.

[11]   IOC, Candidature Process for the Olympic Winter Games 2026, p. 18.

[12]   Ibid. p. 22.

[13]   IOC, Candidature Questionnaire for the Olympic Winter Games 2026, pp. 86, 88.

[14]   Ibid.

[15]   These include, at a minimum, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the principles concerning fundamental rights in the eight ILO core conventions as set out in the Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. See UN Guiding Principles, Principle 12.

[16]   The Evaluation Commission may be assisted by experts. See IOC, Olympic Charter, Bye-Law to Rule 33.

[17]   UEFA, Bid Regulations for the UEFA Euro 2024, Article 5.05.

[18]   Ibid. Article 14.

[19]   Ibid. Articles 6.02 and 6.04.

[20]   UEFA, Tournament Requirements for the UEFA Euro 2024, Sector 03 – Political, Social and Environmental Aspects, p. 5.

[21]   Ibid. pp. 5-6.

[22]   UEFA, Bid Dossier Template for the UEFA Euro 2024, Sector 03 – Political, Social and Environmental Aspects, p. 5.

[23]   Ibid.

[24]   UEFA, Tournament Requirements for the UEFA Euro 2024, Sector 03 – Political, Social and Environmental Aspects, p. 6.

[25]   Jonathan Watts, Rio Olympics linked to widespread human rights violations, report reveals, 8 December 2015. See also Human Rights Watch, Race to the Bottom: Exploitation of Migrant Workers Ahead of Russia's 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, 6 February 2013. See also Human Rights Watch, 'One Year of My Blood': Exploitation of Migrant Construction Workers in Beijing, 11 March 2008. 

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