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

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...


International and European Sports Law – Monthly Report – April 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.More...

The Reform of FIFA: Plus ça change, moins ça change?

Since yesterday FIFA is back in turmoil (see here and here) after the FIFA Council decided to dismiss the heads of the investigatory (Cornel Borbély) and adjudicatory (Hans-Joachim Eckert) chambers of the Independent Ethics Committee, as well as the Head (Miguel Maduro) of the Governance and Review Committee. It is a disturbing twist to a long reform process (on the early years see our blogs here and here) that was only starting to produce some tangible results. More...

Asser International Sports Law Blog | The FIFA Business – Part 1 – Where Does The Money Come From? - By Antoine Duval and Giandonato Marino

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

The FIFA Business – Part 1 – Where Does The Money Come From? - By Antoine Duval and Giandonato Marino

On next Thursday the 2014 World Cup will kick off in Sao Paulo. But next week will also see the FIFA members meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday at a much awaited FIFA congress. For this special occasion we decided to review FIFA’s financial reports over the last ten years. This post is the first of two, analysing the reports and highlighting the main economic trends at play at FIFA. First, we will study the revenue streams and their evolution along the 2003-2013 time span. In order to ensure an accurate comparison, we have adjusted the revenues to inflation, in order to provide a level playing field easing the comparative analysis over the years and types of revenues. Our first two graphs gather the main revenue streams into two comparative overviews. Graph 1 brings together the different types of revenues in absolute numbers, while Graph 2 lays down the share of each type of revenues for any given year (the others category covers a bundle of minor revenue streams not directly relevant to our analysis).

 

 


Graph 1: FIFA revenues in Millions of Dollars, 2003-2013 (adjusted for inflation).

 


Graph 2: Share of each revenue stream in Total FIFA revenues 2003-2013

 

Since 2003, FIFA’s total revenues have more than doubled, from 685 Million$ to 1406 Million$. Its constant growth over the last decade turned negative only in 2011 and 2012 due to a fallout in broadcasting revenues (see below Graph 4). In terms of economic power this means that FIFA has doubled its financial capacity within ten years.  It has succeeded in developing new income streams, while also consolidating its traditional source of revenue: broadcasting rights.




Graph 3: Total FIFA revenues in Million$ 2003-2013 (adjusted for inflation)

 

Key to FIFA’s continuous enrichment were the broadcasting revenues. From 2006 to 2010 they nearly doubled from 391 Million$ to 779 Million$. A huge 100% jump! Since this peak, revenues have settled for a more modest amount of around 600 Million$, but still much higher than at the turn of the century. In any given year the broadcasting revenues represent 40 to 50% of FIFA’s total revenues. Thus, one can understand the paramount importance of broadcasting rights for the economic stability and health of FIFA. The progressive bite of the revised TV without frontier directive of the EU (revised in 1997), enabling countries to define certain World Cup games as “major events” which therefore must be broadcasted freely, might explain the recent fall in broadcasting revenues. In this context, recent decisions of the EU Courts, in cases T-68/08, C‑205/11 P and  C‑204/11 P reinforce the rights of the Member States to make use of the “major events” listing, this could, on the long run, limit the rise of the broadcasting revenues for FIFA.


 

Graph 4: FIFA Broadcasting Revenues 2003-2013 (adjusted to Inflation)

 

The marketing rights (see graph 5) constitute the second leg of FIFA’s financial income stream. They have been constantly growing since 2003. From 168 Million$ in 2003 to 419 Million$ in 2013, reaching quasi 150% growth (at constant prices). In recent years, this has been a more dynamic revenue stream than broadcasting rights, but it has remained less important in absolute terms. It seems that the FIFA Partners Programme launched by FIFA, probably inspired by the TOP Programme created by the IOC, is a tremendous success. Nowadays, marketing rights constitute 30 to 35% of FIFA’s total revenues. Together, broadcasting revenues and marketing rights amount to a staggering 75 to 85% of FIFA’s total revenues. A share which remained more or less stable over the latest years (see Graph2).


Graph 5: FIFA Revenues from Marketing rights 2003-2013

 

The rather minor revenue streams are constituted by the FIFA hospitality rights, licensing and brand licensing revenues. Hospitality rights revenues (Graph 6) are a relic from the past. They derive from the profits made by MATCH Hospitality, the sole company authorised by FIFA to offer and guarantee exclusive hospitality packages for every match of the FIFA World Cup directly or through its appointed sales agents. With the competition of internet-based travel agencies and the evolution of the ticketing system of FIFA under the pressure of the European Commission, the revenues of match hospitality have been dwindling over the last 10 years.




Graph 6: FIFA Hospitality Rights Revenues 2003-2013 (adjusted for inflation)


The FIFA licensing programme (Graph 7) derives its revenues from fixed royalty payments and variable profit shares paid for the use of the FIFA brand. FIFA’s licensing programme covers a broad range of activities, including for example numismatic and philatelic collections and the more classical retail & merchandising. After a peak at the World Cup 2006 in Germany, where FIFA licensing brought in 51 Million$, licensing revenues have remained more or less stable averaging at 10 to 20 Million$ a year.


 

Graph 7: FIFA Licensing Revenues 2003-2013 (adjusted for inflation)

 

Another closely related, but distinct for accountancy purposes, income stream, is the one generated by brand licensing (Graph 8). Five companies dispose of a specific agreement with FIFA: Adidas, Electronic Arts, Hublot, Louis Vuitton and Panini. Each of these companies holds a licence to use the FIFA Brand Marks in the advertising, marketing, promotion and sale of its licensed products or programmes. These long-term licensing agreements bring in more and more money, from 5 Million$ in 2003, to 58 Million$ in 2013. The biggest jump for a category of FIFA revenues.  Its success is exemplified by the world-wide fame of the eponym Electronic Arts video game: FIFA. However, all three revenue streams amount to less than 10% of FIFA’s total revenues in 2013, the lion share is still constituted by the broadcasting rights.



Graph 8: FIFA Brand Licensing Revenues 2003-2013 (adjusted for inflation)

 

Conclusion: Get rich and die getting richer?

Economically the last 10 years have been a phenomenal success for FIFA. Its revenues have grown substantially and it has, to some extent, managed to diversify its revenue streams. Indeed, FIFA is less and less dependent on broadcasting revenues, while relying more and more on marketing and brand licensing income streams. This diversification appears judicious as the broadcasting market seem to be losing steam, especially in light of a public will, at least at the European level, to control and tame the monopoly of FIFA over the broadcasting of the World Cup. Thus, FIFA is in a paradoxical situation. It will enter its congress engulfed in an unending governance crisis, but financially it looks as profitable as ever. In some way the big leap forward of FIFA’s recent, and highly successful, commercialization might cause the existential crisis it is now confronted with. Indeed, all this fresh money influx may have destabilized even more a governance system prone to favour nepotism. Hence, the paradox might be that FIFA got rich and might die (at least as we know it) because of it. This is also connected to the way FIFA distributes the revenues it collects, which will be the focus point of the second part of this blog series.

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