Friday, March 25, 2011

IOC considers three options for tackling illegal betting

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Task Force formed to tackle illegal sports betting will consider three options designed to tackle the problem at its next meeting, the date of which has yet to be set.

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ATP seeks $500,000 from players it suspended for gambling on tennis

The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) is seeking close to $500,000 in legal fees from five Italian tennis players it suspended for gambling on tennis, after a Florida court dismissed their case against the manner in which they were convicted.

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ECA: 'De Sanctis' encourages stable player contracts

The European Club Association has welcomed a 28 February Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) decision as encouraging respect for contracts and stability in football, after it reduced compensation due to Italian club Udinese after Morgan de Sanctis breached his contract.

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Financial Rules: UEFA FFPR Regulations: the grounds for legal challenge

UEFA has recently brought into force its Financial Fair Play Regulations, which are designed to encourage clubs to operate on the basis of their own revenues in order to protect them from excessive debt. Stephen Hornsby, head of the sports group at Davenport Lyons, explains why the regulations could be challenged by a club excluded from European competition for failing to comply with them. He argues that they don't represent a fair and proportionate restriction on a club's ability to compete under competition law, especially as they were only agreed by European Club Association members.

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Doping: WADA's Prohibited List and 'Similar Substances': Part 2

In part 1 of this two-part article Mike Morgan, an Associate with Squire Sanders Hammonds, examined the background to WADA's 'Similar Substances' provision and the application of the provision in three case studies. In this second instalment, he analyses the rationale of those decisions and the steps that must be taken to ensure that the application of the Similar Substances provision complies with general principles of law.

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Arbitration: The 'Sports Arbitration Tribunal of Asia': analysis

The Asian Council of Arbitration for Sports (ACAS) was established last year to manage a Sports Arbitration Tribunal of Asia, which has the support of the Olympic Council of Asia for settling sports disputes ahead of the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS). Alexandre Miguel Mestre, a Senior Associate with PLMJ Sociedade de Advogados RL, Lisbon, examines whether Asia has a case for establishing such an arbitration court for settling sports disputes. He explains why the ACAS may weaken the CAS, slow down the decision-making process and may even breach the Olympic Charter through its establishment.

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Social Media: The regulation of social media use in sport

The recent rise in social media has enabled players to get closer than ever to their fans, and vice-versa. Leslie Ross examines the dangers that holds, recent incidents involving social media and sport's policies on its use. She also examines sport's rules on social media use in the light of freedom of expression legislation and whether instant messaging can be regulated by sport, as it is a 'private' form of social media.

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UK Bribery Act: The impact of the Bribery Act on corporate hospitality

The new Bribery Act is scheduled to come into effect across the UK later this year, and will have a significant impact on sport. Chris Brightling, a Trainee Solicitor with Field Seymour Parkes, examines how new provisions in the Act could create difficulties for sport and could lead to a number of test cases reaching the courts before the London 2012 Olympics.

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CAS will uphold UCI ban on Contador

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) will have no choice to uphold the appeal of the Union Cycliste International (UCI) against the Spanish cycling federation’s (RFEC) to overturn a ban on the cyclist for ingesting Clenbuterol. It doesn’t matter that Contador didn’t intend to ingest the substance or enhance his performance, which is reportedly the defence that his lawyer will offer when the case comes before the CAS. In fact, that defence will not help Contador at all.

 

As I pointed out in a news article written at the time of Contador’s positive ‘A’ sample in October last year: ‘Clenbuterol is listed as a prohibited substance on WADA's Prohibited List. Under UCI rules, use of a prohibited substance carries a two-year ban (para. 293), unless the cyclist can provide evidence that the substance entered his body accidentally and was not intended to enhance performance (para. 295).’ Contador’s defence team will find it very hard to prove that he ingested clenbuterol through contaminated meat. For one thing, Contador consumed the meat so no evidence of it exists. Clenbuterol’s use in animal feed is banned by the European Union and although it is widely accepted that it is still illegally used in some countries, finding proof of that will be near impossible, especially given the media coverage that the Contador case has received.

 

According to the Telegraph’s article, however, that is not the defence that Contador’s legal team will pursue. They will attempt to argue that Contador didn’t intend to ingest the substance or enhance his performance. It is worth pointing out here that the CAS is not a court of law – it only serves to ascertain whether the rules of sporting bodies have been correctly followed, not whether the rules are just and fair. In this case, the UCI’s rules have been correctly followed.

 

Andy Brown


Monday, March 21, 2011

TACKLING DOPING IN SPORT 2011 A GLOBAL SUCCESS

Tackling Doping in Sport packed over 200 delegates into Twickenham Stadium’s conference facilities in a hugely successful two-day event that highlighted the new challenges presented by doping, and new methods of tackling them. The expert line up of speakers at the sell-out event attracted delegates from Bermuda, the US, Australia, Russia, South Africa, New Zealand, Qatar, Puerto Rico, Brazil as well as from European countries, international sporting federations, national associations, governments and more.

 

One of the major themes was that doping is now part of a wider problem of corruption in sport. In an illuminating keynote speech David Howman, Director General for the World Anti-Doping Agency, warned that the criminal underworld is now “controlling a significant proportion of world sport” through trafficking prohibited substances, match fixing and bribing laboratory officials, as “the return on investment is huge”. He warned that this black market is now controlling 25% of world medicine. Andy Parkinson, CEO of UK Anti-Doping, said that sport is tackling this problem by “moving away from focussing on the end user to focussing on the supply chain. If sport thinks that it can solve doping on its own, then it is foolishly deluded. The impact that law enforcement has had in the last 18 months has been incredible. It has provided a much-needed sharpness to what we do.”

 

The use of athlete biological passports to provide an indication that an athlete may have been involved in doping was another key issue. Howman highlighted how a key decision from the Court of Arbitration for Sport supporting the use of such passports in convicting two Italian cyclists for doping had “validated” the use of such passports. He thanked the Union Cycliste Internationale for investing the money in launching the passports without any guarantee that their use would be supported by a court of law, and that he expected other sports to begin investing in them soon. Delegates were warned that biological passports should not be used as the sole method for convicting an athlete of doping.

 

Hugh Robertson, UK Minister for Sport and the Olympics, revealed that the UK Government is open to the possibility of passing legislation criminalising anti-doping. “If – as a result of work done by the Council of Europe and the European Union – it is suggested that there are things we need to do, then we will do them”, he said in response to a question about whether criminal legislation was needed to tackle doping.

 

One of the most popular and most discussed sessions was a series of round-table debates on aspects of the World Anti-Doping Code that need revising, which filled the room with a buzz of conversation. Popular topics included resumption of training following a ban and altering sanctions given to athletes following ‘aggravating circumstances’ or ‘substantial assistance’.

 

Tackling Doping in Sport 2011 was organised by World Sports Law Report in association with UK Anti-Doping and Squire Sanders Hammonds. It received international news coverage from the BBC, Sky News, The Guardian, The Independent, Reuters, Television New Zealand and more. Tackling Doping in Sport is just one of World Sports Law Report’s annual conferences. Others include Player Issues: Regulations and Contracts and Sport, Gambling and Sponsorship.

 

• For more information on World Sports Law Report events or if you are interested in taking part in next year’s Tackling Doping in Sport, contact Erika Joyce on +44 (0)20 7012 1383 or erika.joyce@e-comlaw.com. Fore more information on discussions at Tackling Doping in Sport 2011, contact Andy Brown on +44 (0)20 7012 1380 or andrew.brown@e-comlaw.com.


NOTES FOR EDITORS

Other highlights from Tackling Doping in Sport 2011 included:

 

-          A method that has the potential for detecting gene doping in sport using a molecular biological approach was presented by Professor Perikles Simon of Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz. Gene doping was previously thought to be undetectable.

 

-          London 2012 will involve a higher number of drug tests on athletes than ever before, revealed Richard Budgett, Chief Medical Officer for the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games. 5,000 athletes will be tested, as compared to the 4,500 tested at Beijing 2008. 1,250 tests will be conducted during the Paralympics. Ten mobile anti-doping teams will also be used.

 

-          There is a need for new markers to be brought into the athlete biological passport to combat ‘Microdosing’, which involves using small amounts of Erythropoietin (EPO) that are difficult to detect using current methods.

 

-          Governing bodies need to tread a fine line between publicising positive athlete tests in order to limit damage and protecting the athlete. England Hockey gave an example where it was considering publicising a positive ‘A’ sample find from an athlete. It decided not to and the ‘B’ sample came back negative. “We could have ruined that person’s life”, said Sally Munday, CEO of England Hockey.

 

-          To state that any food or supplement is ‘100% safe’ for athletes to consume is very difficult, if not impossible.

 

-          Contaminated food presents a problem for athletes, as do supplements, which can be contaminated with other substances.

 

-          The standard of care that an athlete can expect from a sporting body during the doping control process has now been ‘Codified’, which means that athletes may be able to hold sporting bodies liable if these standards have not been adhered to.

 

-          As well as the problem of false positive tests, a problem now exists with false negatives, as people are scared to report a positive test due to the ensuing legal process that will result from it.

 

-          Whether there is a need to adapt the World Anti-Doping Code to regulate the use of technology in sport, as it can provide an unfair advantage or even endanger the health of athletes.


Friday, March 04, 2011

Goal-line Technology: A Wrong Solution Based On Money

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) will meet in Newport, Wales tomorrow to again consider whether football should adopt goal-line technology, which will determine whether a ball has crossed the line in situations where the referee might be unsure. The use of goal-line technology has been being discussed by the IFAB since 2007 (perhaps earlier) and from all the discussion that has surrounded it, a casual observer might be forgiven for thinking that football is plagued by hundreds of decisions each weekend where the referee cannot determine confidently whether to award a goal.

 

The reality is somewhat different. Any football fan will tell you that dubious penalties far eclipse incidents where it cannot be determined whether the ball has crossed the line. They will also tell you that in both situations, TV cameras instantly replay footage of the incident, allowing home viewers to determine whether the correct decision has been made. Viewers at home were able to see clearly that England’s Frank Lampard scored a goal against Germany and Mexico were furious after an in-stadium big screen showed everyone that Argentina’s Carlos Tevez was offside when scoring during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. FIFA’s response? Let’s censor in-stadium screens.

 

It is also dubious as to how far down the football pyramid goal-line technology will be used. Who will make the decision on whether it is introduced? If it is the national association, then the Football Association has a big investment ahead ensuring that everyone from Manchester United to Walthamstow Avenue is equipped with the technology. If it is up to the leagues, then where will the line be drawn?

 

Most top-level football is televised – if not by a broadcaster, then increasingly by a club’s own TV channel or internet site. Replaying such incidents would not delay the game any longer than determining the results from goal-line technology systems. As it wouldn’t cost anything, why not use them? It is precisely because it wouldn’t cost anything that FIFA will not use television reviews. Tomorrow, FIFA will hear a report from ten companies keen to sell their system to football. Although it would provide the same result, using television reviews would not bring any new money into football.

 

FIFA’s motto is ‘for the good of the game’, yet it is happy to support a system that will cost lots of money, will sort out only a small fraction of wrong decisions and will allow diving and cheating to continue unpunished. A fairer system might be to allow team captains to challenge three decisions during a match, which will then be replayed if the game is being filmed. That way, diving and unjust penalties would also be caught, which can have just as much of an impact on a match as a wrongly-awarded goal.

 

Andy Brown


Thursday, March 03, 2011

IOC and WADA call for global betting watchdog

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) have called for the establishment of an international body to tackle the threat posed to the integrity of sport by match fixing.

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Academy plans could force Football League clubs to end youth training

The Football League is concerned that Premier League plans to introduce a tier-based system of youth academies will prevent its clubs from signing the best youth players, and that a new system of compensation for training young players doesn't do enough to encourage clubs to develop talent.

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World's doping experts converge for WSLR event

World Sports Law Report is proud to announce that world experts on anti-doping will be converging in London for Tackling Doping in Sport on 16/17 March, organised in association with UK Anti-Doping and Squire Sanders Hammonds. Speakers include David Howman (WADA); Pat McQuaid (UCI); Elise Auvachez (UNESCO); Hugh Robertson (DCMS); Stéphane Bermon (IAAF); Andy Parkinson (UKAD); Travis Tygart (USADA); Aurora Andruska (ASADA); Jan-Anders Månson (FINA) and more.

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Doping: WADA's Prohibited List and 'Similar Substances': Part 1

As well as publishing a 'Prohibited List' of substances, the World Anti-Doping Agency also prohibits use of 'Similar Substances'; substances which carry a similar chemical structure or have similar biological effects to those listed on the Prohibited List. In the first instalment of a two-part article, Mike Morgan, an Associate with Squire Sanders Hammonds, examines the background to the provision and the difficulties that the application of the provision can cause for athletes.

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Olympics: Changes to the London 2012 Marathon route: analysis

The London Organising Committee recently announced plans to change the route of the London 2012 Olympic Marathon to finish by Buckingham Palace on The Mall, rather than in the Olympic Stadium in Stratford. The move led a number of London Olympic boroughs, which had begun work on preparing for the passage of the Marathon, to call for a judicial review into the decision. Simon Grove, a Solicitor with Harrison Clark LLP's Commercial Department, examines whether the Olympic boroughs had a case.

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Broadcasting: Murphy/QC Leisure: potential threat to broadcasting models

In a recent Opinion issued in the Murphy/QC Leisure case currently before the Court of Justice of the European Union, the Advocate General has stated that the licensing of exclusive sports media rights on a territory-by-territory basis in Europe is contrary to EU law. Andrew Danson, an Associate with K&L Gates LLP, examines the opinion and its potential consequences for sports rights holders and broadcasters.

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Integrity: Tribunal verdict in cricket's spot-fixing case: analysis

The International Cricket Council recently delivered its verdict in the spot-fixing case against three Pakistan cricketers, imposing sanctions of varying severity. Amrut Joshi, an Advocate who heads the sports practice at MMB Legal, examines the charges brought against the players, the evidence against them and how sanctions were determined by considering both 'aggravating and mitigating factors', as required by the ICC's Anti-Corruption Code. Joshi also comments on steps that could be taken by the ICC to prevent such a situation from arising in the future.

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Olympics: The spectator and Olympic anti-ambush marketing rules

The London Olympic Games and Paralympics Games Act 2006 protects the London Olympics from ambush marketing and seeks to stop brands that are rivals to London 2012 official sponsors from associating themselves with the event. Hugh Tebay, a Founding Partner of Sipara, examines the impact that the measures within this Act will have on the ordinary spectator.

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Thursday, February 03, 2011

Doping Prompts ARD & ZDF To Abandon Live Tour De France Coverage

German free-to-air broadcasters ARD & ZDF will abandon live coverage of the Tour de France in 2012, due to concerns over doping. ‘The focus is often doping, to which the audience lends an understandably critical eye’, said the state broadcasters in a 2 February statement. ‘German TV viewers only have a low acceptance of the most important cycling race in the world and as such, the long live transmission lines are no longer justified’. The broadcasters will continue to cover the tour in news reports.

 

Both broadcasters have refused to join a new contract between the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) – which represents national broadcasters such as the BBC – and Amaury Sports Organisation (ASO), which oraganises the Tour. As such, they will still cover the 2011 edition of the Tour, which runs 2 July to 24 July. The contract between the EBU, ASO and national broadcasters allows withdrawal if riders are implicated in doping. Both broadcasters withdrew from covering the 2009 edition of the Tour due to concerns over doping.

 

The withdrawal demonstrates the commercial impact that doping can have on sport. This will be one of the many issues discussed at Tackling Doping in Sport 2011, organised by World Sports Law Report in Association with UK Anti-Doping and Squire Sanders Hammonds on 16-17 March 2011.


Tuesday, February 01, 2011

CAS not consulted over formation of Asian CAS

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) was not consulted about the formation of an Asian Council of Arbitration for Sports (ACAS) last year, which will manage a Sports Arbitration Tribunal of Asia (SATA) to settle sports-related disputes.

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ESPN asks US court to unseal judicial records in tennis gambling lawsuit

US broadcaster ESPN has asked a Federal Court to unseal documents that allegedly reveal which elite Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) players gambled on the sport.

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FIFA insiders offered to sell ticket details

An investigation by Norway's data protection authority, Datatilsynet, has revealed that FIFA insiders offered to sell details of ticket purchasers to the 2006 FIFA World Cup. A 2010 investigation by the UK's Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) and Datatilsynet found personal details and passport numbers of UK ticket buyers were obtained from German company CTS Eventim and passed on to Norwegian company Euroteam AS.

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Scotland: Football, sectarianism and Scots law: Walls v Brown

Walls v Brown is the first Scottish case where a sectarian-aggravated breach of the peace conviction - which resulted in the imposition of a football banning order - has been upheld on appeal. Dr David McArdle, a Senior Lecturer at the University of Stirling School of Law, examines the High Court decision and the grounds upon which the Sheriff had granted the banning order application.

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Integrity: Combating spot-fixing in cricket: the role of the ICC

The International Cricket Council's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) was formed in 2000 to combat corruption in cricket. Amrut Joshi, an Advocate who heads the sports practice at MMB Legal, examines the reasons for its formation, its role to date and whether enough has been done by cricket's authorities to tackle the threat of corruption.

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2011 Issues: Views and predictions from the editorial board for 2011

We asked members of World Sports Law Report's editorial board to highlight what they think will be the main sports law issues during 2011. In this article, they set out their responses.

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Integrity: Assessing the reliability and legality of lie-detector tests

It has recently been proposed that lie-detector tests be used in cricket to tackle corruption. Tom Burrows, a Trainee Solicitor with Paris Smith LLP, examines how a lie-detector works, the questions that have been raised over the accuracy of such tests and whether they are accepted as evidence by the courts. He also questions how the ICC would implement non-compulsory use of lie-detectors in anti-corruption investigations as refusal could be seen as admission of guilt, and points out that the International Cricket Council could face compensation claims should a player be able to subsequently prove his innocence after taking a test.

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Competition Law: Downgrading tournaments: Hamburg Open v. ATP

The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) recently chose to downgrade the Hamburg Open from a Masters 1000 event requiring player participation to an ATP 500 tournament, which doesn't require player participation. Ryan M. Rodenberg and L. Jon Wertheim examine the Deutscher Tennis Bund's and Qatar Tennis Federation's challenge to this decision, which alleged that by requiring players to compete in certain events, the ATP was shielding them from competition with other tennis tournaments, thereby breaching competition law.

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Sunday, January 09, 2011

Swiss examine adequacy of sport federation rules

The Swiss government's Federal Sport Office (BASPO) is examining whether the regulations of sporting federations are adequate or whether legislation is needed, following allegations of corruption in the voting process for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups. Swiss Sport Minister Ueli Maurer ordered BASPO to produce a report examining the extent of corruption in sport within Switzerland and how it can be tackled at a 22 November Lausanne meeting between government authorities and sporting federations.


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Gambling Commission issues Betting Integrity Decision Making Framework

The Gambling Commission published its Betting Integrity Decision Making Framework on 17 December, a 12-page document designed to outline when a suspicious betting incident will proceed from a sporting disciplinary matter to a criminal investigation.


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ECJ to rule on Football DataCo case

 

The England and Wales Court of Appeal referred questions to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on 9 December asking whether the High Court was correct to find that database copyright exists under the Database Directive for English and Scottish football fixture lists.


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Company Law & Sport: Sale of Liverpool Football Club: analysis

The sale of Liverpool Football Club to New England Sports Ventures in October raised interesting company law issues that other football clubs could do well to consider. Ciaran Hickey, an Assistant with Wiggin LLP, explains how the sale of one of England's most famous football clubs ended up in a court case and analyses potential lessons for other clubs should they find themselves in a similar situation. 

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Gender: Gender policies and impact of litigation: Lawless v. LPGA

A lawsuit brought by Lana Lawless recently resulted in the Ladies Professional Golf Association reversing its requirement for competitors to be 'female at birth'. Ryan M. Rodenberg, an Assistant Professor at Florida State University, examines the details of the lawsuit and the impact it could have on rule enforcement in sport.

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Integrity: The Gambling Commission's role: defending sport's integrity

There have recently been a number of incidents where prominent athletes have been accused of being involved in corrupt activities involving betting. Jody MacDonald, a Solicitor with Couchmans LLP, examines how the Gambling Commission identifies and deals with instances of corruption in sport through its licensing conditions, the offence of 'cheating at gambling' under section 42 of the Gambling Act 2005 and the activities of the Sports Betting Intelligence Unit. 

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Injury: Head injuries in rugby and the law: analysis

Players often ignore the dangers of head injuries - especially concussive injuries - due to their keenness to continue playing. Jack Anderson, a Lecturer in sports law at Queen's University Belfast, examines the US approach to this problem in American football, the pressurised sporting environment that often leads to club medics making wrong decisions and potential solutions to the dangers posed by concussive injuries. He also highlights the threat that rugby faces from potential litigation.


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Gambling: France: the right to offer bets and fundamental freedoms

 

UEFA has recently sought a share of all bets placed on its competition games in France, which liberalised gambling earlier this year allowing sporting organisations to authorise gambling operators to offer bets on their competitions. Geoffroy Lebon and Thibault Verbiest, of Ulys Law Firm, explain the principles on which France based its liberalisation of gambling, the European Commission's concerns over the right to offer bets and how France has responded to this. They also examine challenges to the right to offer bets.


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Financial Rules: UEFA's Financial Fair Play Regulations: analysis

UEFA adopted its Financial Fair Play Regulations in May, which are designed to ensure that clubs do not spend more than they earn. Rodger Burnett, Matt Totman and Victoria Young, of Baker & McKenzie, analyse the details of the Regulations and explain potential loopholes.


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