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
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
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?
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 !