Asser International Sports Law Centre: from National Project to International Centre


Sports law is a fast expanding and developing area of legal debate and inquiry. It is both an area of significant practitioner activity and of increasing academic interest. Of course, the private rules of the national and international sports world itself form the backbone of sports law. However, sports activities are as much influenced by national and international laws. These include fundamental rules of European law as the famous Bosman verdict of the European Court of Justice, leading to the reform of the transfer system in professional football, made very clear. Sports law is essentially an applied area of law, with sport the context within which the law operates. 

The so-called Asser International Sports Law Project originated from the Asser Round Table Sessions that were held in the beginning of 1996 on the Bosman case. Since then international sports law has developed into one of the main areas of research within the T.M.C. Asser Institute*s research programme. The research is of an interdisciplinary as well as comparative law character, covering all fields of law in which the Institute specializes, i.e., private international law, public international law including the law of international organizations, international commercial arbitration and the law of the European Union. 

On 1January 2002 the Project was converted into a Centre within the framework of the T.M.C. Asser Institute. The mission of the ASSER International Sports Law Centre is to advance the study and practice of sports law, in its transnational manifestation, through high-quality scholarship, research, education and consultancy.

The Centre is dedicated to building bridges between its academic expertise and practical, often policy-oriented, activities. Regarding applied research, the Centre has built up a strong track record and excellent reputation in the organisation and implementation of comparative sports-related studies for various EU institutions. The Centre regularly offers legal ‘tailor-made’ advice on litigation, regulatory aspects and commercial matters to the sporting world at large: athletes, clubs, agents, federations, public authorities, sponsors and others. It also engages in various outreach activities, e.g. through the ASSER International Sports Law Blog, twitter, and the hosting of events. Moreover, being at the forefront of international developments relative to sports law, the researchers of the Centre frequently provide commentary in (inter)national media and give policy advice when these developments trickle down to the national level.