Editor's note: Jeremy Abel
is a recent graduate of the LL.M in International Business Law and Sports of
the University of Lausanne.
South African athlete Caster Semenya is in the last lap of her long legal
battle for her right to run without changing the natural testosterone in her
body. After losing her cases before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS)
and the Swiss Federal Tribunal, she filed an application
before the European Court of Human Rights (Court). In the meantime, the Court
a summary of her complaint and a series of questions addressed to the parties
of the case.
As is well
known, she is challenging the World Athletics’ Eligibility
Regulations for the Female Classification (Regulations) defining the conditions under which female
and intersex athletes with certain types of differences of sex development
(DSDs) can compete in international athletics events. Despite the Regulations
emanating from World Athletics, the last round of her legal battle is against a
new opponent: Switzerland.
of this article is to revisit the Semenya case from a European
Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) perspective while considering certain
excellent points made by previous contributors (see here,
to this blog. Therefore, the blog will follow the basic structure of an ECHR
case. The following issues raised by Semenya shall be analysed: the applicability
of the ECHR, Semenya’s right to private life (Article 8 ECHR) and to non
discrimination (Article 14 ECHR), as well as the proportionality of the
Sport events, especially when they are of a global scale, have
been facing more and more questions about their impact on local
communities, the environment, and human rights.
It has become clear that their social legitimacy is not a
given, but must be earned by showing that sport events can positively
contribute to society. During this half-day conference, we will debate
the proposal of a European Social Charter for Sport Events in order to
achieve this goal.
In January 2021, a consortium of eight partners launched a
three-year project, supported by the European Commission under the
Erasmus+ scheme, aimed at devising a European Social Charter for Sport
Events (ESCSE). The project ambitions to develop a Charter which will
contribute to ensuring that sport events taking place in the European
Union are socially beneficial to the local communities concerned and,
more generally, to those affected by them. The project is directly
inspired by the decision of the Paris 2024 bid to commit to a social
charter enforced throughout the preparation and the course of the 2024
This first public event in the framework of the ESCSE project,
will be introducing the project to a wider public. During the event we
will review the current state of the implementation of the Paris 2024
Social Charter, discuss the expectations of stakeholders and academics
for a European Social Charter and present for feedback the first draft
of the ESCSE (and its implementing guidelines) developed by the project
members. It will be a participatory event; we welcome input from the
The Asser International Sports Law Centre, powered by the Asser
Institute, is contributing to the project through the drafting of a
background study, which we will introduce during the conference.
Please note that we can
provide some financial support (up to 100 euros) towards travel
and/or accommodation costs for a limited number of participants
coming from other EU Member States or the UK. To apply for this
financial support please reach out to ConferenceManager@asser.nl. `
On Thursday 14 October 2021 from 16.00-17.30 CET, the Asser International Sports Law Centre, in collaboration with Dr Marjolaine Viret (University of Lausanne), will be launching the second season of the Zoom-In webinar series, with a first episode on Diversity at the Court of Arbitration for Sport: Time for a Changing of the Guard?
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) is a well-known mainstay of
global sport. It has the exclusive competence over challenges against
decisions taken by most international sports governing bodies and its
jurisprudence covers a wide range of issues (doping, corruption,
match-fixing, financial fair play, transfer or selection disputes)
including disciplinary sanctions and governance disputes. In recent
years, the CAS has rendered numerous awards which triggered world-wide
public interest, such as in the Semenya v World Athletics case or the
case between WADA and RUSADA resulting from the Russian doping scandal
(we discussed both cases in previous Zoom-In discussion available here and here). In short, the CAS has tremendous influence on the shape of global sport and its governance.
However, as we will discuss during this webinar, recent work has
shown that the arbitrators active at the CAS are hardly reflective of
the diversity of people its decisions ultimately affect. This in our
view warrants raising the question of the (urgent) need to change the
(arbitral) guard at the CAS. To address these issues with us, we have
invited two speakers who have played an instrumental role in putting
numbers on impressions widely shared by those in contact with the CAS:
Prof. Johan Lindholm (Umea University) and attorney-at-law Lisa Lazarus (Morgan Sports Law). Johan recently published a ground-breaking monograph on The Court of Arbitration for Sport and Its Jurisprudence
in which he applies empirical and quantitative methods to analyse the
work of the CAS. This included studying the sociological characteristics
of CAS arbitrators. Lisa and her colleagues at Morgan Sports Law very
recently released a blog post on Arbitrator Diversity at the Court of Arbitration for Sport,
which reveals a stunning lack of diversity (based on their
calculations, 4,5% of appointed CAS arbitrators are female and 0,2% are
black) at the institution ruling over global sport.
Register for free HERE.
Zoom In webinar series
In December 2020, The Asser International Sports Law Centre in collaboration with Dr Marjolaine Viret launched a new series of zoom webinars on transnational sports law: Zoom In. You can watch the video recordings of our past Zoom In webinars on the Asser Institute’s Youtube Channel.
Editor's note: Rhys was an intern at the T.M.C. Asser Institute. He now advises on investments and Notre acquisitions in sport (mainly football) via Lovelle Street Advisory. Following a career as a professional athlete, Rhys has spent much of his professional life as an international sports agent, predominantly operating in football. Rhys has a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) and a Bachelor of Philosophy (B.Phil.) from the University of Dame, Sydney, Australia. He is currently completing an LL.M at the University of Zurich in International Business Law / International Sports Law.
Having looked at the different types of
investors in football in part one of this two-part blog series, “A
non-exhaustive Typology”, it is fitting to now consider the regulations
that apply to investors who seek to build a portfolio of football clubs.
One way to measure the momentum of a
particular practice and how serious it ought to be taken, might be when that
practice earns its own initialism. Multi-club ownership or MCO as it is
increasingly known today, is the name given to those entities that have an
ownership stake in multiple clubs. Within the little research and writing that
has been undertaken on the topic, some authors submit that investors with
minority stakes in multiple clubs ought not to be captured by the MCO
definition. This position appears
problematic given some of the regulations draw the line at influence rather
are now approximately 50 MCO’s across the football world that own approximately
Given the way MCO is trending, one might consider it important that the
regulations keep up with the developing MCO practice, so as to ensure the
integrity of football competitions, and to regulate any other potentially
questionable benefit an MCO might derive that would be contrary to football’s
In this blog, I focus on the variety of
ways (and levels at which) this practice is being regulated. I will move through the football pyramid from
member associations (MA’s) to FIFA, laying the foundations to support a proposition
that FIFA and only FIFA is positioned to regulate MCO. More...
On Wednesday 14 July 2021 from 16.00-17.30 CET, the Asser International Sports Law Centre, in collaboration with Dr Marjolaine Viret, is organizing a Zoom In webinar on Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter and the right to free speech of athletes.
As the Tokyo Olympics are drawing closer, the International Olympic Committee just released new Guidelines on the implementation of Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter.
The latter Rule provides that ‘no kind of demonstration or political,
religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues
or other areas’. The latest IOC Guidelines did open up some space for
athletes to express their political views, but at the same time continue
to ban any manifestation from the Olympic Village or the Podium. In
effect, Rule 50 imposes private restrictions on the freedom of
expression of athletes in the name of the political neutrality of
international sport. This limitation on the rights of athletes is far from uncontroversial
and raises intricate questions regarding its legitimacy,
proportionality and ultimately compatibility with human rights standards
(such as with Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights).
This webinar aims at critically engaging with Rule 50 and its
compatibility with the fundamental rights of athletes. We will discuss
the content of the latest IOC Guidelines regarding Rule 50, the
potential justifications for such a Rule, and the alternatives to its
restrictions. To do so, we will be joined by three speakers, Professor Mark James from Manchester Metropolitan University, who has widely published on the Olympic Games and transnational law; Chui Ling Goh, a Doctoral Researcher at Melbourne Law School, who has recently released an (open access) draft of an article on Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter; and David Grevemberg, Chief
Innovation and Partnerships Officer at the Centre for Sport and Human
Rights, and former Chief Executive of the Commonwealth Games Federation
- Prof. Mark James (Metropolitan Manchester University)
- Chui Ling Goh (PhD candidate, University of Melbourne)
- David Grevemberg (Centre for Sport and Human Rights)
Free Registration HERE
Editor's note: Rhys is currently making research and
writing contributions under Dr Antoine Duval at the T.M.C. Asser Institute with
a focus on Transnational Sports Law. Additionally, Rhys is the ‘Head of
Advisory’ of Athlon CIF, a global fund and capital advisory firm specialising
in the investment in global sports organisations and sports assets.
Rhys has a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) and
Bachelor of Philosophy (B.Phil.) from the University of Notre Dame, Sydney,
Australia. Rhys is an LL.M candidate at the University of Zurich, in
International Sports Law. Following a career as a professional athlete, Rhys
has spent much of his professional life as an international sports agent,
predominantly operating in football.
Rhys is also the host of the podcast
In the following two-part blog series, I
will start by outlining a short typology of investors in football in recent
years, in order to show the emergence of different varieties of investors who
seek to use football as a means to a particular end. I will then in a second
blog, explore the regulatory landscape across different countries, with a
particular focus on the regulatory approach to multi-club ownership. Before
moving forward, I must offer a disclaimer of sorts. In addition to my research and writing
contributions with the Asser Institute, I am the ‘Head of Advisory’ for Athlon
CIF, a global fund and capital advisory firm specialising in the investment in
global sports organisations and sports assets. I appreciate and hence must flag
that I will possess a bias when it comes to investment in football.
It might also be noteworthy to point out
that this new wave of investment in sport, is not exclusive to football. I
have recently written elsewhere about CVC Capital Partners’ US$300 million
investment in Volleyball, and perhaps the message that lingers behind such
a deal. CVC has also shown an interest
in rugby and recently acquired
a 14.3 per cent stake in the ‘Six Nations Championship’, to the tune of £365
million. New Zealand’s 26 provincial
rugby unions recently voted unanimously in favour of a proposal to sell 12.5
per cent of NZ Rugby’s commercial rights to Silver Lake Partners for NZ$387.5
million. Consider also the apparent
partnership between star footballer’s investment group, Gerard Pique’s
Kosmos, and the International Tennis Federation. Kosmos is further backed by Hiroshi
Mikitani’s ecommerce institution, Rakuten, and all involved claim to desire an
overhaul of the Davis Cup that will apparently transform it into the ‘World Cup
of Tennis’. Grassroots projects, prizemoney for tennis players and extra
funding for member nations are other areas the partnership claims to be
concerned with. As is the case with all investment plays of this flavour, one
can be certain that a return on the capital injection is also of interest.
So, what are we to conclude from the trends
of investment in sport and more specifically for this blog series, in football?
A typology elucidates that a multiplicity of investors have in recent years
identified football as a means to achieve different ends. This blog considers
three particular objectives pursued; direct financial return, branding in the
case of company investment, or the branding and soft power strategies of
Editor's note: Rusa Agafonova is a PhD Candidate at the University of Zurich, Switzerland
The Olympic Games are the cornerstone event of the Olympic Movement as a
socio-cultural phenomenon as well as the engine of its economic model. Having worldwide
exposure, the Olympic Games guarantee
the International Olympic Committee (IOC) exclusive nine-digit sponsorship
deals. The revenue generated by the Games is later redistributed by the IOC
down the sports pyramid to the International Federations (IFs), National
Olympic Committees (NOCs) and other participants of the Olympic Movement through
a so-called "solidarity mechanism". In other words, the Games
constitute a vital source of financing for the Olympic Movement.
Because of the money involved, the IOC is protective when it comes to
staging the Olympics. This is notably so with respect to ambush marketing which
can have detrimental economic impact for sports governing bodies (SGBs) running
mega-events. The IOC's definition of ambush marketing covers any intentional and
non-intentional use of intellectual property associated with the Olympic Games as
well as the misappropriation of images associated with them without authorisation
from the IOC and the organising committee.
This definition is broad as are the IOC's anti-ambush rules.More...
Editor's note: Prof. Dr. Ekşi is a full-time lecturer and chair of
Department of Private International Law at Özyeğin University Faculty of Law.
Prof. Ekşi is the founder and also editor in chief of the Istanbul Journal
of Sports Law which has been in publication since 2019.