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

Can (national or EU) public policy stop CAS awards? By Marco van der Harst (LL.M, PhD Candidate and researcher at the AISLC)

Introduction[1]

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) registers approximately 300 cases every year. Recently, the Swiss Federal Supreme Court – which is the sole judicial authority to review arbitral awards rendered in Switzerland – reminded in the Matuzalém Case (Case 4A_558/2011) that CAS awards may be enforced in other States that are parties to the New York Convention on the recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards.More...

Chess and Doping: Two ships passing in the Night? By Salomeja Zaksaite, Postdoctoral researcher at Mykolas Romeris University (Lithuania), and Woman International Chess Master (WIM)

It may come as a surprise to laymen, but chess players are subjected to doping testing. Naturally, then, the questions follow as to why they are tested, and if they are really tested (at least, with a level of scrutiny comparable to that which physically-oriented athletes are regularly subjected). Asser International Sports Law Blog | Our International Sports Law Diary <br/>The <a href="http://www.sportslaw.nl" target="_blank">Asser International Sports Law Centre</a> is part of the <a href="https://www.asser.nl/" target="_blank"><img src="/sportslaw/blog/media/logo_asser_horizontal.jpg" style="vertical-align: bottom; margin-left: 7px;width: 140px" alt="T.M.C. Asser Instituut" /></a>

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 European Commission’s ISU antitrust investigation explained. By Ben Van Rompuy

In June 2014, two prominent Dutch speed skaters, Mark Tuitert (Olympic Champion 1500m) and Niels Kerstholt (World Champion short track), filed a competition law complaint against the International Skating Union (ISU) with the European Commission.


ChanceToCompeteTwitter.png (50.4KB)


Today, the European Commission announced that it has opened a formal antitrust investigation into International Skating Union (ISU) rules that permanently ban skaters from competitions such as the Winter Olympics and the ISU World and European Championships if they take part in events not organised or promoted by the ISU. The Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager, stated that the Commission "will investigate if such rules are being abused to enforce a monopoly over the organisation of sporting events or otherwise restrict competition. Athletes can only compete at the highest level for a limited number of years, so there must be good reasons for preventing them to take part in events."

Since the case originates from legal advice provided by the ASSER International Sports Law Centre, we thought it would be helpful to provide some clarifications on the background of the case and the main legal issues at stake. More...





Interview with Wil van Megen (Legal Director of FIFPro) on FIFPro’s EU Competition Law complaint against the FIFA Transfer System

Editor’s note
Wil is working as a lawyer since 1980. He started his legal career at Rechtshulp Rotterdam. Later on he worked for the Dutch national trade union FNV and law firm Varrolaan Advocaten. Currently he is participating in the Labour Law Section of lawfirm MHZ-advocaten in Schiedam in the Netherlands. He is also a member of a joint committee advising the government in labour issues.

Since 1991 he is dealing with the labour issues of the trade union for professional football players VVCS and cyclists’ union VVBW. Since 2002, he works for FIFPro, the worldwide union for professional football players based in Hoofddorp in the Netherlands. He is involved in many international football cases and provides legal support for FIFPro members all over the world. Wil was also involved in the FIFPro Black Book campaign on match fixing and corruption in Eastern Europe. More...


The Scala reform proposals for FIFA: Old wine in new bottles?

Rien ne va plus at FIFA. The news that FIFA’s Secretary General Jérôme Valcke was put on leave and released from his duties has been quickly overtaken by the opening of a criminal investigation targeting both Blatter and Platini.

With FIFA hopping from one scandal to the next, one tends to disregard the fact that it has been attempting (or rather pretending) to improve the governance of the organisation for some years now. In previous blogs (here and here), we discussed the so-called ‘FIFA Governance Reform Project’, a project carried out by the Independent Governance Committee (IGC) under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Mark Pieth of the Basel Institute on Governance. Their third and final report, published on 22 April 2014, listed a set of achievements made by FIFA in the area of good governance since 2011, such as establishing an Audit and Compliance Committee (A&C). However, the report also indicated the reform proposals that FIFA had not met. These proposals included the introduction of term limits for specific FIFA officials (e.g. the President) as well as introducing an integrity review procedure for all the members of the Executive Committee (ExCo) and the Standing Committees. More...

Why the CAS #LetDuteeRun: the Proportionality of the Regulation of Hyperandrogenism in Athletics by Piotr Drabik

Editor's note
Piotr is an intern at the ASSER International Sports Law Centre.

Introduction

On 24 July the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) issued its decision in the proceedings brought by the Indian athlete Ms. Dutee Chand against the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) in which she challenged the validity of the IAAF Regulations Governing Eligibility of Female with Hyperandrogenism to Compete in Women’s Competition (Regulations). The Regulations were established in 2011 as a response to the controversies surrounding South African athlete Caster Semenya (see e.g. here, here, and here), and for the purpose of safeguarding fairness in sport by prohibiting women with hyperandrogenism, i.e. those with excessive levels of endogenous (naturally occurring) testosterone, from competing in women athletics competitions. Owing to the subject-matter that the Regulations cover, the case before the CAS generated complex legal, scientific and ethical questions. The following case note thus aims at explaining how the Panel addressed the issues raised by the Indian athlete. It follows a previous blog we published in December 2014 that analysed the arguments raised in favour of Ms. Chand. More...




Not comfortably satisfied? The upcoming Court of Arbitration for Sport case of the thirty-four current and former players of the Essendon football club. By James Kitching

Editor's note: James Kitching is Legal Counsel and Secretary to the AFC judicial bodies at the Asian Football Confederation. James is an Australian and Italian citizen and one of the few Australians working in international sports law. He is admitted as barrister and solicitor in the Supreme Court of South Australia. James graduated from the International Master in the Management, Law, and Humanities of Sport offered by the Centre International d'Etude du Sport in July 2012.


Introduction

On 12 May 2015, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) announced that the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) had filed an appeal against the decision issued by the Australian Football League (AFL) Anti-Doping Tribunal (AADT) that thirty-four current and former players of Essendon Football Club (Essendon) had not committed any anti-doping rule violation (ADRV) identified within the AFL Anti-Doping Code (AADC). The players had each been charged with using Thymosin-Beta 4 (TB4) during the 2012 AFL season.

On 1 June 2015, WADA announced that it had filed an appeal against the decision by the AADT to clear Mr. Stephen Dank (Dank), a sports scientist employed at Essendon during the relevant period, of twenty-one charges of violating the AADC. Dank was, however, found guilty of ten charges and banned for life.

This blog will solely discuss the likelihood of the first AADT decision (the Decision) being overturned by the CAS. It will briefly summarise the facts, discuss the applicable rules and decision of the AADT, review similar cases involving ‘non-analytical positive’ ADRVs relating to the use of a prohibited substance or a prohibited method, and examine whether the Code of Sports-related Arbitration (CAS Code) is able to assist WADA in its appeal.

This blog will not examine the soap opera that was the two years leading-up to the Decision. Readers seeking a comprehensive factual background should view the excellent up-to-date timeline published by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. More...


EU Law is not enough: Why FIFA's TPO ban survived its first challenge before the Brussels Court


Star Lawyer Jean-Louis Dupont is almost a monopolist as far as high profile EU law and football cases are concerned. This year, besides a mediatised challenge against UEFA’s FFP regulations, he is going after FIFA’s TPO ban on behalf of the Spanish and Portuguese leagues in front of the EU Commission, but also before the Brussels First Instance Court defending the infamous Malta-based football investment firm Doyen Sport. FIFA and UEFA’s archenemy, probably electrified by the 20 years of the Bosman ruling, is emphatically trying to reproduce his world-famous legal prowess. Despite a first spark at a success in the FFP case against UEFA with the Court of first instance of Brussels sending a preliminary reference to the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU), this has proven to be a mirage as the CJEU refused, as foretold, to answer the questions of the Brussels Court, while the provisory measures ordered by the judge have been suspended due to UEFA’s appeal. But, there was still hope, the case against FIFA’s TPO ban, also involving UEFA and the Belgium federation, was pending in front of the same Brussels Court of First Instance, which had proven to be very willing to block UEFA’s FFP regulations. Yet, the final ruling is another disappointment for Dupont (and good news for FIFA). The Court refused to give way to Doyen’s demands for provisional measures and a preliminary reference. The likelihood of a timely Bosman bis repetita is fading away. Fortunately, we got hold of the judgment of the Brussels court and it is certainly of interest to all those eagerly awaiting to know whether FIFA’s TPO ban will be deemed compatible or not with EU law. More...


The New FIFA Intermediaries Regulations under EU Law Fire in Germany. By Tine Misic

I'm sure that in 1985, plutonium is available in every corner drugstore, but in 1955, it's a little hard to come by.” (Dr. Emmett L. Brown)[1]


Back to the future?

Availing oneself of EU law in the ambit of sports in 1995 must have felt a bit like digging for plutonium, but following the landmark ruling of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in the Bosman case[2], 20 years later, with all the buzz surrounding several cases where EU law is being used as an efficient ammunition for shelling various sports governing or organising bodies, one may wonder if in 2015 EU law is to be “found in every drug store” and the recent cases (see inter alia Heinz Müller v 1. FSV Mainz 05, Daniel Striani ao v UEFA, Doyen Sports ao v URBSFA, FIFA, UEFA) [3] cannot but invitingly evoke the spirit of 1995.

One of the aforementioned cases that also stands out pertains to the injunction decision[4] issued on 29 April 2015 by the Regional Court (Landesgericht) in Frankfurt am Main (hereinafter: the Court) in the dispute between the intermediary company Firma Rogon Sportmanagement (hereinafter: the claimant) and the German Football Federation (Deutschen Fußball-Bund, DFB), where the claimant challenged the provisions of the newly adopted DFB Regulations on Intermediaries (hereinafter: DFB Regulations)[5] for being incompatible with Articles 101 and 102 TFEU.[6] The Court, by acknowledging the urgency of the matter stemming from the upcoming transfer window and the potential loss of clients, deemed a couple of shells directed at the DFB Regulations to be well-aimed, and granted an injunction due to breach of Article 101 TFEU. More...




Compatibility of fixed-term contracts in football with Directive 1999/70/EC. Part 2: The Heinz Müller case. By Piotr Drabik

Introduction
The first part of the present blog article provided a general introduction to the compatibility of fixed-term contracts in football with Directive 1999/70/EC[1] (Directive). However, as the Member States of the European Union enjoy a considerable discretion in the implementation of a directive, grasping the impact of the Directive on the world of football would not be possible without considering the national context. The recent ruling of the Arbeitsgericht Mainz (the lowest German labour court; hereinafter the Court) in proceedings brought by a German footballer Heinz Müller provides an important example in this regard. This second part of the blog on the legality of fixed-term contract in football is devoted to presenting and assessing the Court’s decision.


I. Facts and Procedure
Heinz Müller, the main protagonist of this case, was a goalkeeper playing for 1.FSV Mainz 05 a club partaking to the German Bundesliga. More...


Compatibility of Fixed-Term Contracts in Football with Directive 1999/70/EC. Part.1: The General Framework. By Piotr Drabik

Introduction
On 25 March 2015, the Labour Court of Mainz issued its decision in proceedings brought by a German footballer, Heinz Müller, against his (now former) club 1. FSV Mainz 05 (Mainz 05). The Courttag=/CAS" class="big" title="Tag: CAS">CAS

  • Caster Semenya
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    Asser International Sports Law Blog | Our International Sports Law Diary <br/>The <a href="http://www.sportslaw.nl" target="_blank">Asser International Sports Law Centre</a> is part of the <a href="https://www.asser.nl/" target="_blank"><img src="/sportslaw/blog/media/logo_asser_horizontal.jpg" style="vertical-align: bottom; margin-left: 7px;width: 140px" alt="T.M.C. Asser Instituut" /></a>

    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 EU State aid and Sport Saga: Hungary revisited? (Part 2)

    On 18 May 2016, the day the first part of this blog was published, the Commission said in response to the Hungarian MEP Péter Niedermüller’s question, that it had “not specifically monitored the tax relief (…) but would consider doing so. The Commission cannot prejudge the steps that it might take following such monitoring. However, the Commission thanks (Niedermüller) for drawing its attention to the report of Transparency International.”

    With the actual implementation in Hungary appearing to deviate from the original objectives and conditions of the aid scheme, as discussed in part 1 of this blog, a possible monitoring exercise by the Commission of the Hungarian tax benefit scheme seems appropriate. The question remains, however, whether the Commission follows up on the intent of monitoring, or whether the intent should be regarded as empty words. This second part of the blog will outline the rules on reviewing and monitoring (existing) aid, both substantively and procedurally. It will determine, inter alia, whether the State aid rules impose an obligation upon the Commission to act and, if so, in what way. More...

    The Rise and Fall of FC Twente

    Yesterday, 18 May 2016, the licensing committee of the Dutch football federation (KNVB) announced its decision to sanction FC Twente with relegation to the Netherland’s second (and lowest) professional league. The press release also included a link to a document outlining the reasons underlying the decision. For those following the saga surrounding Dutch football club FC Twente, an unconditional sanction by the licensing committee appeared to be only a matter of time. Yet, it is the sanction itself, as well as its reasoning, that will be the primary focus of this short blog.More...

    The EU State aid and Sport Saga: Hungary’s tax benefit scheme revisited? (Part 1)

    The tax benefit scheme in the Hungarian sport sector decision of 9 November 2011 marked a turning point as regards the Commission’s decisional practice in the field of State aid and sport. Between this date and early 2014, the Commission reached a total of ten decisions on State aid to sport infrastructure and opened four formal investigations into alleged State aid to professional football clubs like Real Madrid and Valencia CF.[1] As a result of the experience gained from the decision making, it was decided to include a Section on State aid to sport infrastructure in the 2014 General Block Exemption Regulation. Moreover, many people, including myself, held that Commission scrutiny in this sector would serve to achieve better accountability and transparency in sport governance.[2]

    Yet, a recent report by Transparency International (TI), published in October 2015, raises questions about the efficiency of State aid enforcement in the sport sector. The report analyzes the results and effects of the Hungarian tax benefit scheme and concludes that:

    “(T)he sports financing system suffers from transparency issues and corruption risks. (…) The lack of transparency poses a serious risk of collusion between politics and business which leads to opaque lobbying. This might be a reason for the disproportionateness found in the distribution of the subsidies, which is most apparent in the case of (football) and (the football club) Felcsút.”[3]

    In other words, according to TI, selective economic advantages from public resources are being granted to professional football clubs, irrespective of the tax benefit scheme greenlighted by the Commission or, in fact, because of the tax benefit scheme. More...

    International and European Sports Law – Monthly Report – April 2016. By Marine Montejo

    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

    This month saw the conflict between FIBA Europe and the Euroleague (more precisely its private club-supported organizing body, Euroleague Commercial Assets or ‘ECA’) becoming further entrenched. This dispute commenced with FIBA creating a rival Basketball Champions League, starting from the 2016-2017 season with the hope to reinstate their hold over the organization of European championships. The ECA, a private body that oversees the Euroleague and Eurocup, not only decided to maintain its competitions but also announced it would reduce them to a closed, franchise-based league following a joint-venture with IMG. In retaliation, FIBA Europe suspended fourteen federations of its competition (with the support of FIBA) due to their support for the Euroleague project.More...


    The boundaries of the “premium sports rights” category and its competition law implications. By Marine Montejo

    Editor’s note: Marine Montejo is a graduate from the College of Europe in Bruges and is currently an Intern at the ASSER International Sports Law Centre.

    In its decisions regarding the joint selling of football media rights (UEFA, Bundesliga, FA Premier league), the European Commission insisted that premium media rights must be sold through a non-discriminatory and transparent tender procedure, in several packages and for a limited period of time in order to reduce foreclosure effects in the downstream market. These remedies ensure that broadcasters are able to compete for rights that carry high audiences and, for pay TV, a stable number of subscriptions. In line with these precedents, national competition authorities have tried to ensure compliance with remedy packages. The tipping point here appears to be the premium qualification of sport rights on the upstream market of commercialization of sport TV rights.

    This begs the question: which sport TV rights must be considered premium? More...

    Guest Blog - Mixed Martial Arts (MMA): Legal Issues by Laura Donnellan

    Editor's note: Laura Donnellan is a lecturer at University of Limerick. You can find her latest publications here.


    Introduction

    On Tuesday the 12th of April, João Carvalho passed away in the Beaumont Hospital after sustaining serious injuries from a mixed martial arts (MMA) event in Dublin on the previous Saturday. The fighter was knocked out in the third round of a welterweight fight against Charlie Ward. Aside from the tragic loss of life, the death of Carvalho raises a number of interesting legal issues. This opinion piece will discuss the possible civil and criminal liability that may result from the untimely death of the Portuguese fighter.

    It is important to note at the outset that MMA has few rules and permits wrestling holds, punching, marital arts throws and kicking. MMA appears to have little regulation and a lack of universally accepted, standardised rules. There is no international federation or governing body that regulates MMA. It is largely self-regulated. MMA is not recognised under the sports and governing bodies listed by Sport Ireland, the statutory body established by the Sport Ireland Act 2015 which replaced the Irish Sports Council. MMA is considered a properly constituted sport so long as the rules and regulations are adhered to, there are appropriate safety procedures, the rules are enforced by independent referees, and it appropriately administered.

    The Acting Minister for Sport, Michael Ring, has called for the regulation of MMA. Currently there are no minimum requirements when it comes to medical personnel; nor are there any particular requirements as to training of medical personnel. The promoter decides how many doctors and paramedics are to be stationed at events. In February 2014 Minister Ring wrote to 17 MMA promoters in Ireland requesting that they implement safety precautions in line with those used by other sports including boxing and rugby.

    Despite this lack of regulation, this does not exempt MMA from legal liability as the discussion below demonstrates.More...



    Guest Blog - The Role of Sport in the Recognition of Transgender and Intersex Rights by Conor Talbot

    Editor's note: Conor Talbot is a Solicitor at LK Shields Solicitors in Dublin and an Associate Researcher at Trinity College Dublin. He can be contacted at ctalbot@tcd.ie, you can follow him on Twitter at @ConorTalbot and his research is available at www.ssrn.com/author=1369709. This piece was first published on the humanrights.ie blog.

    Sport is an integral part of the culture of almost every nation and its ability to shape perceptions and influence public opinion should not be underestimated.  The United Nations has highlighted the potential for using sport in reducing discrimination and inequality, specifically by empowering girls and women.  Research indicates that the benefits of sport include enhancing health and well-being, fostering empowerment, facilitating social inclusion and challenging gender norms.

    In spite of the possible benefits, the successful implementation of sport-related initiatives aimed at gender equity involves many challenges and obstacles.  Chief amongst these is the way that existing social constructs of masculinity and femininity — or socially accepted ways of expressing what it means to be a man or woman in a particular socio-cultural context — play a key role in determining access, levels of participation, and benefits from sport.  This contribution explores recent developments in the interaction between transgender and intersex rights and the multi-billion dollar industry that the modern Olympic Games has become.  Recent reports show that transgender people continue to suffer from the glacial pace of change in social attitudes and, while there has been progress as part of a long and difficult journey to afford transgender people full legal recognition through the courts, it seems clear that sport could play an increasingly important role in helping change or better inform social attitudes.More...



    Unpacking Doyen’s TPO Deals: The Final Whistle

    Footballleaks is now operating since nearly half a year and has already provided an incredible wealth of legal documents both on TPO (and in particular Doyen’s contractual arrangements) and on the operation of the transfer system in football (mainly transfer agreements, player contracts and agents contracts). This constant stream of information is extremely valuable for academic research to get a better grip on the functioning of the transfer market. It is also extremely relevant for the shaping of public debates and political decisions on the regulation of this market. As pointed out on the footballleaks website, it has triggered a series of press investigations in major European news outlets.

    In this blog, I want to come to a closure on our reporting on Doyen’s TPO deals. In the past months, we have already dealt with the specific cases of FC Twente and Sporting Lisbon, reviewed Doyen’s TPO deals with Spanish clubs, as well as discussed the compatibility of the TPO ban with EU law. In the Sporting Lisbon case, Doyen has since earned an important legal victory in front of the CAS (the ensuing award was just published by Footballleaks). This victory should not be overstated, however, it was not unexpected due to the liberal understanding of the freedom of contract under Swiss law. As such it does not support the necessity of TPO as an investment practice and does not threaten the legality (especially under EU law) of FIFA’s ban.

    In our previous blogs on Doyen’s TPO deals we decided to focus only on specific deals, Twente and Sporting Lisbon, or a specific country (Spain). However, nearly six months after the whole footballleaks project started, we can now provide a more comprehensive analysis of the TPO deals signed by Doyen. Though, it is still possible that other, yet unknown, deals would be revealed, I believe that few of Doyen’s TPO agreements are still hidden. Thanks to footballleaks, we now know how Doyen operates, we have a precise idea of its turnover, its return on investments and the pool of clubs with which it signed a TPO agreement. Moreover, we have a good understanding of the contractual structure used by Doyen in those deals. This blog will offer a brief synthesis and analysis of this data.More...





    Unpacking Doyen’s TPO Deals: TPO and Spanish football, friends with(out) benefits?

    Update: On 14 April footballleaks released a series of documents concerning Sporting de Gijón. Therefore, I have updated this blog on 19 April to take into account the new information provided.  

    Doyen Sports’ TPO (or TPI) model has been touted as a “viable alternative source of finance much needed by the large majority of football clubs in Europe". These are the words of Doyen’s CEO, Nélio Lucas, during a debate on (the prohibition of) TPO held at the European Parliament in Brussels last January. During that same debate, La Liga’s president, Javier Tebas, contended that professional football clubs, as private undertakings, should have the right to obtain funding by private investors to, among other reasons, “pay off the club’s debts or to compete better”. Indeed, defendants of the TPO model continuously argue that third party investors, such as Doyen, only have the clubs’ best interests in mind, being the only ones capable and willing to prevent professional football clubs from going bankrupt. This claim constitutes an important argument for the defendants of the TPO model, such as La Liga and La Liga Portuguesa, who have jointly submitted a complaint in front of the European Commission against FIFA’s ban of the practice.[1]

    The eruption of footballleaks provided the essential material necessary to test this claim. It allows us to better analyse and understand the functioning of third party investment and the consequences for clubs who use these services. The leaked contracts between Doyen and, for example, FC Twente, showed that the club’s short term financial boost came at the expense of its long-term financial stability. If a club is incapable of transferring players for at least the minimum price set in Doyen’s contracts, it will find itself in a financially more precarious situation than before signing the Economic Rights Participation Agreement (ERPA). TPO might have made FC Twente more competitive in the short run, in the long run it pushed the club (very) close to bankruptcy.

    More than four months after its launch, footballleaks continues to publish documents from the football world, most notably Doyen’s ERPAs involving Spanish clubs.More...

    International and European Sports Law – Monthly Report – March 2016. By Marine Montejo

    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. 

    Marine Montejo is a graduate from the College of Europe in Bruges and is currently an Intern at the ASSER International Sports Law Centre.


    The Headlines

    The Belgian Court of Appeal released its judgment this month regarding Doyen’s legal battle against the FIFA TPO ban. The Appeal Court confirmed the first instance decision and ruled out any provisional measures to block the ban’s implementation (for an in depth review, see our blog post). More importantly, the Court reaffirmed that Swiss based sport federations are liable in front of EU Members’ States courts when EU competition law is involved. That means the next important step for this legal battle is whether or not the European Commission is going to open a formal proceeding (Doyen already lodged a complaint) to assess the compatibility, and more importantly, the proportionality of the TPO ban with EU law. Only a preliminary ruling by the CJEU could hasten the decision if one of the European national courts, hearing a case brought by Doyen (France or Belgium), decided to refer a preliminary question.More...


    Asser International Sports Law Blog | Our International Sports Law Diary <br/>The <a href="http://www.sportslaw.nl" target="_blank">Asser International Sports Law Centre</a> is part of the <a href="https://www.asser.nl/" target="_blank"><img src="/sportslaw/blog/media/logo_asser_horizontal.jpg" style="vertical-align: bottom; margin-left: 7px;width: 140px" alt="T.M.C. Asser Instituut" /></a>

    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

    Can (national or EU) public policy stop CAS awards? By Marco van der Harst (LL.M, PhD Candidate and researcher at the AISLC)

    Introduction[1]

    The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) registers approximately 300 cases every year. Recently, the Swiss Federal Supreme Court – which is the sole judicial authority to review arbitral awards rendered in Switzerland – reminded in the Matuzalém Case (Case 4A_558/2011) that CAS awards may be enforced in other States that are parties to the New York Convention on the recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards.More...

    Chess and Doping: Two ships passing in the Night? By Salomeja Zaksaite, Postdoctoral researcher at Mykolas Romeris University (Lithuania), and Woman International Chess Master (WIM)

    It may come as a surprise to laymen, but chess players are subjected to doping testing. Naturally, then, the questions follow as to why they are tested, and if they are really tested (at least, with a level of scrutiny comparable to that which physically-oriented athletes are regularly subjected). More...

    The International Sports Law Digest – Issue I – January-June 2014 (by Frédérique Faut)

    The International Sports Law Digest will be a bi-annual post gathering recent material on International and European Sports Law. This is an attempt at providing a useful overview of the new, relevant, academic contributions, cases, awards and disciplinary decisions in the field of European and International Sports Law. If you feel we have overlooked something please do let us know (we will update the post).

    Antoine Duval More...


    A Short Guide to the New FIFA Regulations on Working with Intermediaries

    This year’s FIFA congress in Sao Paulo should not be remembered only for the controversy surrounding the bid for the World Cup 2022 in Qatar. The controversy was surely at the centre of the media coverage, but in its shadow more long-lasting decisions were taken. For example, the new Regulations on Working with Intermediaries was approved, which is probably the most important recent change to FIFA regulations. These new Regulations will supersede the Regulations on Players’ Agents when they come into force on 1 April 2015. In this blog post we compare the old and the new Regulations followed by a short analysis and prospective view on the effects this change could have. More...

    Cannibal's Advocate – In defence of Luis Suarez

    Luis Suarez did it again. The serial biter that he is couldn’t refrain its impulse to taste a bit of Chiellini’s shoulder (not really the freshest meat around though). Notwithstanding his amazing theatrical skills and escaping the sight of the referee, Suarez could not in the information age get away with this unnoticed. Seconds after the incident, the almighty “social networks” were already bruising with evidence, outrage and commentaries over Suarez’s misdeed. Since then, many lawyers have weighed in (here, here and here) on the potential legal consequences faced by Suarez. Yesterday FIFA’s disciplinary committee decided to sanction him with a 4 months ban from any football activity and a 9 International games ban. In turn, Suarez announced that he would challenge the decision[1], and plans on going to the Court of Arbitration for Sport if necessary[2]. Let’s be the advocates of the cannibal!More...

    Blurred Nationalities: The list of the “23” and the eligibility rules at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. A guest Post by Yann Hafner (Université de Neuchâtel)

    In 2009, Sepp Blatter expressed his concerns that half of the players participating in the 2014 FIFA World Cup would be Brazilians naturalized by other countries. The Official list of Players released a few weeks ago tends to prove him wrong[1]. However, some players have changed their eligibility in the past and will even be playing against their own country of origin[2]. This post aims at explaining the key legal aspects in changes of national affiliation and to discuss the regulations pertaining to the constitution of national sides in general[3]. More...

    The FIFA Business – Part 2 - Where is the money going? By Antoine Duval and Giandonato Marino

    Our first report on the FIFA business dealt with FIFA’s revenues and highlighted their impressive rise and progressive diversification. In parallel to this growth of FIFA’s income, it is quite natural that its expenses have been following a similar path (see Graph 1). However, as we will see FIFA makes it sometimes very difficult to identify precisely where the money is going. Nonetheless, this is precisely what we wish to tackle in this post, and to do so we will rely on the FIFA Financial reports over the last 10 years.


     

    Graph 1: FIFA Expenses in USD million (adjusted for inflation), 2003-2013.

    More...


    The EU State aid and Sport Saga - A legal guide to the bailout of Valencia CF

    After a decade of financial misery, it appears that Valencia CF’s problems are finally over. The foreign takeover by Singaporean billionaire Peter Lim will be concluded in the upcoming weeks, and the construction on the new stadium will resume after five years on hold due to a lack of money. On 3 June Bankia, the Spanish bank that “saved” Valencia CF in 2009 by providing a loan of €81 million, gave the green light for the takeover. However, appearances can be deceiving.More...

    Gambling advertising regulations: pitfalls for sports sponsorship - By Ben van Rompuy

    In April 2014, the Swedish Gambling Authority (Lotteriinspektionen) warned the organisers of the Stockholm Marathon that it would impose a fine of SEK 2 million (ca. € 221.000) for its sponsorship agreement with online betting operator Unibet. The Authority found that the sponsorship agreement violates §38 of the Swedish Lotteries Act, which prohibits the promotion of gambling services that are not authorized in Sweden.[1] The organisers, however, refused to withdraw Unibet as its sponsor and prominently displayed the Unibet logo at the event, which took place on 31 May 2014. As a result, the organisers of the Stockholm Marathon now face legal action before the Swedish administrative courts. More...

    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). More...


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    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 aftermath of the Pechstein ruling: Can the Swiss Federal Tribunal save CAS arbitration? By Thalia Diathesopoulou

    It took only days for the de facto immunity of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) awards from State court interference to collapse like a house of cards on the grounds of the public policy exception mandated under Article V(2)(b) of the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards . On 15 January 2015, the Munich Court of Appeals signalled an unprecedented turn in the longstanding legal dispute between the German speed skater, Claudia Pechstein, and the International Skating Union (ISU). It refused to recognise a CAS arbitral award, confirming the validity of a doping ban, on the grounds that it violated a core principle of German cartel law which forms part of the German public policy. A few weeks before, namely on 30 December 2014, the Court of Appeal of Bremen held a CAS award, which ordered the German Club, SV Wilhelmshaven, to pay ‘training compensation’, unenforceable for non-compliance with mandatory European Union law and, thereby, for violation of German ordre public. More...

    ‘The reform of football': Yes, but how? By Marco van der Harst

    'Can't fight corruption with con tricks
    They use the law to commit crime
    And I dread, dread to think what the future will bring
    When we're living in gangster time'
    The Specials - Gangsters


    The pressing need for change 

    The Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) of the Council of Europe (CoE), which is composed of 318 MPs chosen from the national parliaments of the 47 CoE member states, unanimously adopted a report entitled ‘the reform of football’ on January 27, 2015. A draft resolution on the report will be debated during the PACE April 2015 session and, interestingly, (only?) FIFA’s president Sepp Blatter has been sent an invitation

    The PACE report highlights the pressing need of reforming the governance of football by FIFA and UEFA respectively. Accordingly, the report contains some interesting recommendations to improve FIFA’s (e.g., Qatargate[1]) and UEFA’s governance (e.g., gender representation). Unfortunately, it remains unclear how the report’s recommendations will actually be implemented and enforced. 

    The report is a welcomed secondary effect of the recent Qatargate directly involving former FIFA officials such as Jack Warner, Chuck Blazer, and Mohamed Bin Hammam[2] and highlighting the dramatic failures of FIFA’s governance in putting its house in order. Thus, it is undeniably time to correct the governance of football by FIFA and its confederate member UEFA – nolens volens. The real question is how to do it.



                Photograph: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images                   Photograph: Octav Ganea/AP

    More...








    SV Wilhelmshaven: a Rebel with a cause! Challenging the compatibility of FIFA’s training compensation system with EU law

    Due to the legitimate excitement over the recent Pechstein ruling, many have overlooked a previous German decision rendered in the Wilhelmshaven SV case (the German press did report on the decision here and here). The few academic commentaries (see here and here) focused on the fact that the German Court had not recognized the res judicata effect of a CAS award. Thus, it placed Germany at the spearhead of a mounting rebellion against the legitimacy of the CAS and the validity of its awards. None of the commentators weighed in on the substance of the decision, however. Contrary to the Court in Pechstein, the judges decided to evaluate the compatibility of the FIFA rules on training compensations with the EU free movement rights. To properly report on the decision and assess the threat it may constitute for the FIFA training compensation system, we will first summarize the facts of the case (I), briefly explicate the mode of functioning of the FIFA training compensation system (II), and finally reconstruct the reasoning of the Court on the compatibility of the FIFA rules with EU law (III).More...

    In Egypt, Broadcasting Football is a Question of Sovereignty … for Now! By Tarek Badawy, Inji Fathalla, and Nadim Magdy

    On 15 April 2014, the Cairo Economic Court (the “Court") issued a seminal judgment declaring the broadcasting of a football match a sovereign act of State.[1]


    Background

    In Al-Jazeera v. the Minister of Culture, Minister of Information, and the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Radio and Television Union, a case registered under 819/5JY, the Al-Jazeera TV Network (the “Plaintiff” or “Al-Jazeera”) sued the Egyptian Radio and Television Union (“ERTU” or the “Union”) et al. (collectively, the “Respondents”) seeking compensation for material and moral damages amounting to three (3) million USD, in addition to interest, for their alleged breach of the Plaintiff’s exclusive right to broadcast a World Cup-qualification match in Egypt.  Al-Jazeera obtained such exclusive right through an agreement it signed with Sportfive, a sports marketing company that had acquired the right to broadcast Confederation of African Football (“CAF”) World Cup-qualification matches.

    ERTU reportedly broadcasted the much-anticipated match between Egypt and Ghana live on 15 October 2013 without obtaining Al-Jazeera’s written approval, in violation of the Plaintiff’s intellectual property rights.

    More...


    Why the European Commission will not star in the Spanish TV rights Telenovela. By Ben Van Rompuy and Oskar van Maren

    The selling of media rights is currently a hot topic in European football. Last week, the English Premier League cashed in around 7 billion Euros for the sale of its live domestic media rights (2016 to 2019) – once again a 70 percent increase in comparison to the previous tender. This means that even the bottom club in the Premier League will receive approximately €130 million while the champions can expect well over €200 million per season.

    The Premier League’s new deal has already led the President of the Spanish National Professional Football League (LNFP), Javier Tebas, to express his concerns that this could see La Liga lose its position as one of Europe’s leading leagues. He reiterated that establishing a centralised sales model in Spain is of utmost importance, if not long overdue.

    Concrete plans to reintroduce a system of joint selling for the media rights of the Primera División, Segunda División A, and la Copa del Rey by means of a Royal Decree were already announced two years ago. The road has surely been long and bumpy. The draft Decree is finally on the table, but now it misses political approval. All the parties involved are blaming each other for the current failure: the LNFP blames the Sport Governmental Council for Sport (CSD) for not taking the lead; the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) is arguing that the Federation and non-professional football entities should receive more money and that it should have a stronger say in the matter in accordance with the FIFA Statutes;  and there are widespread rumours that the two big earners, Real Madrid and FC Barcelona, are actively lobbying to prevent the Royal Decree of actually being adopted.

    To keep the soap opera drama flowing,  on 30 December 2014, FASFE (an organisation consisting of groups of fans, club members, and minority shareholders of several Spanish professional football clubs) and the International Soccer Centre (a movement that aims to obtain more balanced and transparent football and basketball competitions in Spain) filed an antitrust complaint with the European Commission against the LNFP. They argue that the current system of individual selling of LNFP media rights, with unequal shares of revenue widening the gap between clubs, violates EU competition law.


    Source:http://www.gopixpic.com/600/buscar%C3%A1n-el-amor-verdadero-nueva-novela-de-televisa/http:%7C%7Cassets*zocalo*com*mx%7Cuploads%7Carticles%7C5%7C134666912427*jpg/

    More...



    The 2014 Dortmund judgment: what potential for a follow-on class action? By Zygimantas Juska

    Class actions are among the most powerful legal tools available in the US to enforce competition rules. With more than 75 years of experience, the American system offers valuable lessons about the benefits and drawbacks of class actions for private enforcement in competition law. Once believed of as only a US phenomenon, class actions are slowly becoming reality in the EU. After the adoption of the Directive on damages actions in November 2014, the legislative initiative in collective redress (which could prescribe a form of class actions) is expected in 2017.[1] Some pro-active Member States have already taken steps to introduce class actions in some fashion, like, for example, Germany.

    What is a class action? It is a lawsuit that allows many similar legal claims with a common interest to be bundled into a single court action. Class actions facilitate access to justice for potential claimants, strengthen the negotiating power and contribute to the efficient administration of justice. This legal mechanism ensures a possibility to claim cessation of illegal behavior (injunctive relief) or to claim compensation for damage suffered (compensatory relief).  More...

    The Pechstein ruling of the OLG München - A Rough Translation

    The Pechstein decision of the Oberlandesgericht of Munich is “ground-breaking”, “earth-shaking”, “revolutionary”, name it. It was the outmost duty of a “German-reading” sports lawyer to translate it as fast as possible in order to make it available for the sports law community at large (Disclaimer: This is not an official translation and I am no certified legal translator). Below you will find the rough translation of the ruling (the full German text is available here), it is omitting solely the parts, which are of no direct interest to international sports law.

    The future of CAS is in the balance and this ruling should trigger some serious rethinking of the institutional set-up that underpins it. As you will see, the ruling is not destructive, the Court is rather favourable to the function of CAS in the sporting context, but it requires a fundamental institutional reshuffling. It also offers a fruitful legal strategy to challenge CAS awards that could be used in front of any national court of the EU as it is based on reasoning analogically applicable to article 102 TFEU (on abuse of a dominant position), which is valid across the EU’s territory.

    Enjoy the read! 

    Antoine

    PS: The translation can also be downloaded at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2561297

     More...




    From Veerpalu to Lalluka: ‘one step forward, two steps back’ for CAS in dealing with Human Growth Hormone tests (by Thalia Diathesopoulou)

    In autumn 2011, the Finnish cross-country skier Juha Lalluka, known as a “lone-wolf” because of his training habit, showed an adverse analytical finding with regard to human growth hormone (hGH). The timing was ideal. As the FINADA Supervisory Body in view of the A and B positive samples initiated disciplinary proceedings against Lalluka for violation of anti-doping rules, the Veerpalu case was pending before the CAS. At the athlete’s request, the Supervisory Board postponed the proceedings until the CAS rendered the award in the Veerpalu case. Indeed, on 25 March 2013, the CAS shook the anti-doping order: it cleared Andrus Veerpalu of an anti-doping rule violation for recombinant hGH (rhGH) on the grounds that the decision limits set by WADA to define the ratio beyond which the laboratories should report the presence of rhGH had not proven scientifically reliable.

    The Veerpalu precedent has become a rallying flag for athletes suspected of use of hGH and confirmed some concerns raised about the application of the hGH test. Not surprisingly, Sinkewitz and Lallukka followed the road that Veerpalu paved and sought to overturn their doping ban by alleging the scientific unreliability of the hGH decisions limits. Without success, however. With the full text of the CAS award on the Lallukka case released a few weeks ago[1] and the new rules of the 2015 WADA Code coming into force, we grasp the opportunity to outline the ambiguous approach of CAS on the validity of the hGH test. In short: Should the Veerpalu case and its claim that doping sanctions should rely on scientifically well founded assessments be considered as a fundamental precedent or as a mere exception? More...

    State Aid and Sport: does anyone really care about rugby? By Beverley Williamson

    There has been a lot of Commission interest in potential state aid to professional football clubs in various Member States.  The huge sums of money involved are arguably an important factor in this interest and conversely, is perhaps the reason why state aid in rugby union is not such a concern. But whilst the sums of money may pale into comparison to those of professional football, the implications for the sport are potentially no less serious.

    At the end of the 2012/2013 season, Biarritz Olympique (Biarritz) were relegated from the elite of French Rugby Union, the Top 14 to the Pro D2.  By the skin of their teeth, and as a result of an injection of cash from the local council (which amounted to 400,000€), they were spared administrative relegation to the amateur league below, the Fédérale 1, which would have occurred as a result of the financial state of the club.More...

    Asser International Sports Law Blog | Our International Sports Law Diary <br/>The <a href="http://www.sportslaw.nl" target="_blank">Asser International Sports Law Centre</a> is part of the <a href="https://www.asser.nl/" target="_blank"><img src="/sportslaw/blog/media/logo_asser_horizontal.jpg" style="vertical-align: bottom; margin-left: 7px;width: 140px" alt="T.M.C. Asser Instituut" /></a>

    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

    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. 

    Stepping Outside the New York Convention - Practical Lessons on the Indirect Enforcement of CAS-Awards in Football Matters - By Etienne Gard

    Editor’s Note: Etienne Gard graduated from the University of Zurich and from King's College London. He currently manages a project in the field of digitalization with Bratschi Ltd., a major Swiss law firm where he did his traineeship with a focus in international commercial arbitration.

    1. Prelude

    On the 10th of June, 1958, the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, widely known as the “New York Convention”, was signed in New York by 10 countries.[1] This rather shy figure progressively grew over the decades to now reach 157 signatory countries, turning the New York Convention into the global recognition and enforcement instrument it is today. As V.V. Veeder’s puts it, “One English law lord is said to have said, extra judicially, that the New York Convention is both the Best Thing since sliced bread and also whatever was the Best Thing before sliced bread replaced it as the Best Thing.”[2]

    However, among the overall appraisal regarding the New York Convention, some criticisms have been expressed. For instance, some states use their public policy rather as a pretext not to enforce an award than an actual ground for refusal.[3]  A further issue is the recurring bias in favor of local companies.[4] Additionally, recognition and enforcement procedures in application of the New York Convention take place in front of State authorities, for the most part in front of courts of law, according to national proceeding rules. This usually leads to the retaining of a local law firm, the translation of several documents, written submissions and one, if not several hearings. Hence, the efficiency of the New York Convention as a recognition and enforcement mechanism comes to the expense of both money and time of both parties of the arbitral procedure.

    In contrast with the field of commercial arbitration, where the New York Convention is often considered the only viable option in order to enforce an award, international football organizations, together with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (“CAS”), offer an effective enforcement alternative. This article aims at outlining the main features of the indirect enforcement of CAS awards in football matters in light of a recent case. More...



    The International Partnership against Corruption in Sport (IPACS) and the quest for good governance: Of brave men and rotting fish - By Thomas Kruessmann

    Editor's note: Prof. Thomas Kruessmann is key expert in the EU Technical Assistant Project "Strengthening Teaching and Research Capacity at ADA University" in Baku (Azerbaijan). At the same time, he is co-ordinator of the Jean-Monnet Network "Developing European Studies in the Caucasus" with Skytte Institute of Political Studies at the University of Tartu (Estonia).


    The notion that “fish rots from the head down” is known to many cultures and serves as a practical reminder on what is at stake in the current wave of anti-corruption / integrity and good governance initiatives. The purpose of this blog post is to provide a short update on the recent founding of the International Partnership against Corruption in Sport (IPACS), intermittently known as the International Sports Integrity Partnership (IPAS), and to propose some critical perspectives from a legal scholar’s point of view.

    During the past couple of years, the sports world has seen a never-ending wave of corruption allegations, often followed by revelations, incriminations and new allegation. There are ongoing investigations, most notably in the United States where the U.S. Department of Justice has just recently intensified its probe into corruption at the major sports governing bodies (SGBs). By all accounts, we are witnessing only the tip of the iceberg. And after ten years of debate and half-hearted reforms, there is the widespread notion, as expressed by the Council of Europe’s (CoE’s) Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) Resolution 2199/2018 that “the sports movement cannot be left to resolve its failures alone”. More...



    International and European Sports Law – Monthly Report – January 2018 - 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 

    Anti-doping whereabouts requirements declared compatible with the athletes' right to privacy and family life

    On 18 January 2018, the European Court of Human Rights rendered a judgment with important consequences for the world of sport in general and the anti-doping regime in particular. The Strasbourg-based court was called upon to decide whether the anti-doping whereabouts system – which requires that a limited number of top elite athletes provide their National Anti-Doping Organisation or International Federation with regular information about their location, including identifying for each day one specific 60-minute time slot where the athlete will be available for testing at a pre-determined location – is compatible with the athletes' right to private and family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and their freedom of movement pursuant to Article 2 Protocol No. 4 of the Convention. The case was brought by the French cyclist Jeannie Longo and five French athlete unions that had filed their application on behalf of 99 professional handball, football, rugby, and basketball players.

    While acknowledging that the whereabouts requirements clash with the athletes' right to private and family life, the judges took the view that such a restriction is necessary in order to protect the health of athletes and ensure a level playing field in sports competitions. They held that ''the reduction or removal of the relevant obligations would lead to an increase in the dangers of doping for the health of sports professionals and of all those who practise sports, and would be at odds with the European and international consensus on the need for unannounced testing as part of doping control''. Accordingly, the judges found no violation of Article 8 of the Convention and, in a similar vein, ruled that Article 2 Protocol No. 4 of the Convention was not applicable to the case.

     

    Football stakeholders preparing to crack down on agents' excessive fees

    It has been a record-breaking January transfer window with Premier League clubs having spent an eye-watering £430 million on signing new acquisitions. These spiralling transfer fees enable football agents, nowadays also called intermediaries, to charge impressive sums for their services. However, this might soon no longer be the case as the main stakeholders in European football are preparing to take action. UEFA, FIFPro, the European Club Association and the European Professional Football Leagues acknowledge in their joint resolution that the 2015 FIFA Regulations on Working with Intermediaries failed to address serious concerns in relation to the activities of intermediaries/agents. They recognise in broad terms that a more effective regulatory framework is needed and call among other things for a reasonable and proportionate cap on fees for intermediaries/agents, enhanced transparency and accountability, or stronger provisions to protect minors.

     

    The CAS award in Joseph Odartei Lamptey v. FIFA 

    On 15 January 2018, FIFA published on its website an arbitral award delivered on 4 August 2017 by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in the dispute between the Ghanian football referee Joseph Odartei Lamptey and FIFA. The CAS sided with FIFA and dismissed the appeal filed by Mr Lamptey against an earlier decision of the FIFA Appeal Committee which (i) found him to have violated Article 69(1) of the FIFA Disciplinary Code as he unlawfully influenced the 2018 World Cup qualifying match between South Africa and Senegal that took place on 12 November 2016; (ii) as a consequence, banned him for life from taking part in any football-related activity; and (iii) ordered the match in question to be replayed. In reaching its conclusion, the CAS relied heavily on multiple reports of irregular betting activities that significantly deviated from usual market developments.  More...


    Towards a Suitable Policy Framework for Cricket Betting in India - By Deeksha Malik

    Editor's note: Deeksha Malik is a final-year student at National Law Institute University, India. Her main interest areas are corporate law, arbitration, and sports law. She can be reached at dkshmalik726@gmail.com.


    In 2015, while interrogating cricketer Sreesanth and others accused in the IPL match-fixing case, Justice Neena Bansal, sitting as Additional Sessions Judge, made the following observations as regards betting on cricket matches.

    “Cricket as a game of skill requires hand-eye-coordination for throwing, catching and hitting. It requires microscopic levels of precision and mental alertness for batsmen to find gaps or for bowlers to produce variety of styles of deliveries’ (medium pace, fast, inswing, outswing, offspin, legspin, googly). The sport requires strategic masterminds that can select the most efficient fielding positions for piling pressure on the batsmen. Based on above description, cricket cannot be described anything, but as a game of skill.”

    The debate on the issue of betting in sports has since resurfaced and gained the attention of sportspersons, media, sports bodies, policymakers, and the general public. In April 2017, the Supreme Court bench comprising of Justices Dipak Misra and AM Khanwilkar agreed to hear a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking an order directing the government to come up with an appropriate framework for regulating betting in sports. The arguments put forth in the PIL present various dimensions. One of these pertains to economic considerations, a submission that regulated betting would be able to generate annual revenue of Rs. 12,000 crores by bringing the earnings therefrom within the tax net. As for policy considerations, it was submitted that a proper regulation in this area would enable the government to distinguish harmless betting from activities that impair the integrity of the game such as match-fixing. Further, betting on cricket matches largely depends on the skill of the concerned players, thereby distinguishing it from pure chance-based activities.

    The issue of sports betting witnesses a divided opinion till this day. This is understandable, for both sides to the issue have equally pressing arguments. Aside from its regulation being a daunting task for authorities, sports betting is susceptible to corruption and other unscrupulous activities. At the same time, it is argued that it would be better for both the game and the economy if the same is legalised. More...


    International and European Sports Law – Monthly Report – December 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 International Skating Union's eligibility rules declared incompatible with EU competition law

    On 8 December 2017, the European Commission announced that it had rendered a decision in the case against the International Skating Union (ISU). The Commission upheld the complaint lodged in October 2015 by two Dutch professional speed skaters Mark Tuitert and Niels Kerstholt, represented in this case by Ben Van Rompuy and Antoine Duval (you can read their joint statement here), and ruled that the ISU's eligibility rules preventing athletes from participating in speed skating competitions not approved by the ISU under the threat of severe penalties are in violation of EU competition law. In particular, the Commission held that these rules restrict the commercial freedom of (i) athletes who may be deprived of additional source of income as they are not allowed to participate in speed skating competitions other than those authorised by the ISU; and (ii) independent organisers who are unable to attract top athletes. And while the Commission recognised that sporting rules with restrictive effects might be compatible with EU law if they pursue a legitimate objective such as the protection of athletes' health and safety or the protection of the integrity and proper conduct of sport, it found that the ISU's eligibility rules pursue only its own commercial interests to the detriment of athletes and independent organisers of speed skating competitions. The ISU eventually escaped financial sanctions, but it must modify or abolish its eligibility rules within 90 days; otherwise it would be liable for non-compliance payments of up to 5% of its average daily turnover. For more information on this topic, we invite you to read our recent blog written by Professor Stefano Bastianon.

     

    The International Olympic Committee bans Russia from the upcoming Winter Olympic Games

    The world has been waiting impatiently for the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) decision on the participation of Russian athletes in the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang. This was finally communicated on 5 December 2017. Having deliberated on the findings of the Schmid Commission, the IOC Executive Board decided to suspend the Russian Olympic Committee with immediate effect, meaning that only those Russian athletes who demonstrate that they had not benefited from the state-sponsored doping programme will be able to participate in the Games. Such clean athletes will be allowed to compete under the Olympic Flag, bearing the name 'Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR)' on their uniforms. Further to this, the IOC Executive Board sanctioned several officials implicated in the manipulation of the anti-doping system in Russia, including Mr Vitaly Mutko, currently the Deputy Prime Minister of Russia and formerly the Minister of Sport. Mounting public pressure subsequently forced Mr Mutko to step down as head of the Local Organising Committee for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

    Meanwhile, 21 individual Russian athletes were sanctioned (see here, here, here, and here) in December (in addition to 22 athletes in November) by the IOC Oswald Commission that is tasked with investigating the alleged doping violations by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. The Oswald Commission also published two full decisions in the cases against Evgeny Belov and Aleksandr Tretiakov who were both banned from all future editions of the Games. It is now clear that the Court of Arbitration for Sport will have quite some work in the coming weeks as the banned athletes are turning to this Swiss-based arbitral tribunal to have their sanctions reviewed (see here and here).

     

    Universal Declaration of Player Rights

    14 December 2017 was a great day for athletes all over the globe. On this day, representatives of the world's leading player associations met in Washington D.C. to unveil the Universal Declaration of Player Rights, a landmark document developed under the aegis of the World Players Association that strives to protect athletes from ongoing and systemic human rights violations in global sport. The World Players Association's Executive Director Brendan Schwab emphasised that the current system of sports governance ''lacks legitimacy and fails to protect the very people who sit at the heart of sport'' and stated that ''athlete rights can no longer be ignored''. Among other rights, the Declaration recognises the right of athletes to equality of opportunity, fair and just working conditions, privacy and the protection of personal data, due process, or effective remedy.

     

    Chris Froome failed a doping test during the last year's Vuelta a España

    The world of cycling suffered yet another blow when it transpired that one of its superstars Chris Froome had failed a doping test during the last year's Vuelta a España, a race he had eventually emerged victorious from for the first time in his career. His urine sample collected on 7 September 2017 contained twice the amount of salbutamol, a medication used to treat asthma, than permissible under the World Anti-Doping Agency's 2017 Prohibited List. Kenyan-born Froome has now hired a team of medical and legal experts to put forward a convincing explanation for the abnormal levels of salbutamol in his urine and thus to avoid sanctions being imposed on him. More...

    The ISU Commission's Decision and the Slippery Side of Eligibility Rules - By Stefano Bastianon (University of Bergamo)

    Editor’s note: Stefano Bastianon is Associate Professor in European 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. From the very beginning, the outcome of the ISU case was highly predictable, at least for those who are familiar with the basics of antitrust law. Nevertheless, more than twenty years after the Bosman judgment, the sports sector has shown the same shortsightedness and inability to see the forest for the trees. Even this attitude was highly predictable, at least for those who know the basics of sports governance. The final result is a clear-cut decision capable of influencing the entire sports movement. More...



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" 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