Wednesday, August 17, 2011

UEFA unlikely to investigate Man City deal, despite reports

UEFA has not said that it will investigate Manchester City's partnership with Etihad, despite reports to the contrary. In the BBC's interview with Jean-Luc Dehaene, the Chairman of UEFA's Financial Fair Play control panel said that he has questions about the deal, but did not actually say that UEFA would be investigating it directly. That is because UEFA's Financial Fair Play regulations do not work that way.

 

In the August edition of World Sports Law Report, Stephen Hornsby of Davenport Lyons highlights why a UEFA investigation of the deal is highly unlikely. Firstly, it is the club - not UEFA - which must demonstrate whether a sponsorship deal represents 'fair value' if the club itself flags up the deal as a 'related party' transaction. Under the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations, Edition 2010, a 'related party' constitutes a close family member to club executives who either;

a) Has control or joint control over the reporting club;

b) Has significant influence over the club;

c) Is a member of key management personnel of the club or a parent of the club.

Therefore, unless Manchester City flag the deal as a 'related party' transaction, Manchester City will not have to demonstrate to UEFA that the deal represents 'fair value' and the sponsorship can proceed as normal.

 

Secondly, UEFA can only ask questions based on documentation received from a club under the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations, Edition 2010. It doesn't have powers to investigate further than this. As we have already seen, unless a club flags a sponsorship deal as a 'related party' transaction, it is not required to demonstrate 'fair value' and UEFA will have no information to work with.

 

It is also important to remember that Manchester City has not announced the value of the Etihad partnership, and it is important that it is described as a 'partnership' and not a 'sponsorship' in the official release. As part of the 8 July deal, Etihad will also sponsor the development of the Etihad Campus around its stadium. This part of the deal is exempt from UEFA's Regulations in terms of assessing the 'fair value' of a sponsorship. Manchester City could claim that the deal is split into a shirt and stadium sponsorship that represents 'fair value' under the Regulations, and a 'partnership' to develop the Etihad Campus, which falls outside of the Regulations.

 

Jean-Luc Dehaene is a former politician and is unlikely to highlight that UEFA's rules represent a 'soft touch' approach to regulation, however it is disappointing to see the media not pressing him further for answers. It is especially disappointing to see media companies making assumptions based on what a politician has said.

 

Andy Brown


FIBA 'return clause' hampers signing of NBA 'lockout' stars

The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) approved transfer of players contracted to US National Basketball Association (NBA) clubs to other clubs whilst the NBA 'lockout' continues, however a 'return clause' could lead to contractual issues when the lockout ends.

If you are a subscriber to World Sports Law Report, click here to access the article. Click here to sign up for a free trial to World Sports Law Report.


Government and courts press to abolish Football Creditors rule

The Committee for Culture, Media and Sport (CCMS) has told the UK Government to abolish the Football Creditors rule in its Football Governance Report, published on 29 July. The recommendation follows a 27 July Supreme Court ruling questioning the legitimacy of the rule. This comes ahead of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) 28 November High Court case against the Premier League's Football Creditors rule.

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Ban for athletes refusing IAAF blood tests

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) will ban any athletes who refuse to take a blood test ahead of the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, Korea, 27 August to 4 September.

If you are a subscriber to World Sports Law Report, click here to access the article. Click here to sign up for a free trial to World Sports Law Report.


Doping: Participation after serving a doping ban: Dehiba case

French 1,500 metres runner Hind Dehiba was recently banned from taking part in the 30 June Athletissima meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, due to a recommendation not to admit athletes who have served doping bans to events organised under the Euromeetings banner. Dehiba successfully challenged her exclusion, which endangered her ability to qualify for the World Championships by running under 4:02.50 before 15 August. Jorge Ibarrola, a founding partner of Libra Law, examines Dehiba's application under Swiss law, the reasoning behind the decision to order Athletissima to accept Dehiba's participation and the implications.

If you are a subscriber to World Sports Law Report, click here to access the article. Click here to sign up for a free trial to World Sports Law Report.


Manager Contracts: Resigning under constructive dismissal: McLeish case

Alex McLeish recently resigned as Manager of Birmingham City to join rival Aston Villa, citing constructive dismissal as his reason for terminating his contract prematurely. Meena Botros, an Associate with Norton Rose LLP, examines what constitutes constructive dismissal and previous case law involving football managers who have claimed that by its conduct, a club has breached its contract.

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Player Contracts: NBA 'lockout': implications for Europe

The National Basketball Association has postponed the start of its season, as players and owners have failed to agree on a Collective Bargaining Agreement, which sets the contract terms between team owners and players. Paul J. Greene, an Attorney with Preti Flaherty and former sportscaster for Fox News, examines the implications that this 'lockout' could have for European basketball.

If you are a subscriber to World Sports Law Report, click here to access the article. Click here to sign up for a free trial to World Sports Law Report.


Advertising: Rugby World Cup 2011 New Zealand: ambush marketing

Legislative protection against ambush marketing was promised by New Zealand in its bid to host the 2011 Rugby World Cup. However, the Major Events Management Act passed by government is over restrictive on small local businesses wishing to benefit from New Zealand's hosting of the tournament, writes David Hood, a Solicitor with Maria Clarke Lawyers. The Act is so restrictive and difficult to interpret that it may deter many local businesses from attempting to benefit from the tournament, argues Hood, while many small businesses used to carrying out marketing could fall foul of the Act through ignorance.

If you are a subscriber to World Sports Law Report, click here to access the article. Click here to sign up for a free trial to World Sports Law Report.


Advertising: Product placement: issues and opportunities for sport

New rules permitting the use of product placement in UK and Irish sports broadcasts were introduced earlier this year. Adam Finlay, a Solicitor with McCann Fitzgerald Solicitors, explains what is permitted under the new rules, the new opportunities they may present for sport and potential issues.

If you are a subscriber to World Sports Law Report, click here to access the article. Click here to sign up for a free trial to World Sports Law Report.


Financial Rules: UEFA FFPR 'related party' rules: Man City's Etihad deal

There has been much speculation about whether UEFA will 'investigate' Manchester City's partnership with Etihad under its Financial Fair Play Regulations (FFPR). This follows suspicion that the value of the deal has been inflated to allow the club to continue to spend freely whilst meeting the 'break-even' requirements under the FFPR. Stephen Hornsby, head of the sports group at Davenport Lyons, explains that UEFA can only ask questions based on documentation received from the club under the FFPR, and can only assess the 'fair value' of any sponsorship deal if the club itself considers the deal to constitute a 'related party' transaction.

If you are a subscriber to World Sports Law Report, click here to access the article. Click here to sign up for a free trial to World Sports Law Report.


Friday, July 29, 2011

Man City must satisfy UEFA on Etihad partnership deal

Manchester City must satisfy UEFA that the management team behind its 10-year partnership with Etihad doesn't qualify as a 'related party' to City's owner, His Highness (HH) Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, under the 2010 Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations (FFPR).

If you are a subscriber to World Sports Law Report, click here to access the article. Click here to sign up for a free trial to World Sports Law Report.


Operators taking GB bets to need Gambling Commission licence

Gambling operators based outside of Great Britain (GB) will have to apply for a Gambling Commission licence to continue to take GB bets under plans announced by the UK government on 14 July.

If you are a subscriber to World Sports Law Report, click here to access the article. Click here to sign up for a free trial to World Sports Law Report.


News Int'l Olympic deal under review

Team 2012 is reviewing its official media partnership with News International (NI) after the closure of the News of the World (NOTW) following the phone-hacking scandal, and is assessing new potential media partners.

If you are a subscriber to World Sports Law Report, click here to access the article. Click here to sign up for a free trial to World Sports Law Report.


Tax: The 2010 FIFA World Cup: tax exempt status

One of FIFA's key requirements for the hosting of its World Cup tournament is that FIFA and certain other entities receive exemption from certain taxes. Mansoor Parker, a Tax Executive at Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs and former Company Secretary for the 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee South Africa, explains how South Africa coped with this requirement.

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Medical Staff: Sanctioning athlete support personnel: proportionality

The England and Wales High Court recently ordered the Health Professions Council to reconsider a decision to strike Stephen Brennan from its register of licensed physiotherapists for his role in fabricating a blood injury for Harlequins rugby union club. Chris Connolly, a Solicitor with A&L Goodbody, examines the decision.

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Player Contracts: Player bonuses: limits on a bonus panel's discretion

Marcel Seip was recently awarded over £72,000 in a breach of contract action against Blackpool Football Club after he was not paid a bonus due when the club secured promotion to the Football Association Premier League. Seip, who was on loan from Plymouth Argyle at the time, had been excluded from distribution of the £5.15 million promotion bonus pot by the club's 'bonus panel', who discounted loan players who had left the club at the end of the 2009/10 season. One of the lawyers that led the player's claim, Tim Copplestone of Clarke Willmott, explains the reasoning behind the award and the lessons it holds for clubs when drafting player bonus schedules.

If you are a subscriber to World Sports Law Report, click here to access the article. Click here to sign up for a free trial to World Sports Law Report.


Football: Issues to address when purchasing a football club

Buying a football club is different from other mergers and acquisitions deals, due to the specific regulations that surround football. David Roberts, a Corporate Partner with Olswang, examines issues that need addressing when purchasing a football club. He explains how the valuation of a club takes place; when the City Code on Takeovers and Mergers will apply; debt and the 'football creditors' rule; potential liabilities that clubs may have for players and more.

If you are a subscriber to World Sports Law Report, click here to access the article. Click here to sign up for a free trial to World Sports Law Report.


Doping: Review of Australia's national anti-doping agency: part 2

The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) replaced the Australian Sports Drug Agency (ASDA) in 2006 as one of the results from the 2004 inquiry into drug use by the Australian track cycling team. In the second instalment of a two-part article, Catherine Ordway, a Sport & Anti-Doping Consultant who previously worked with ASADA, examines how the limitations of ASDA were addressed when forming the new Authority.

If you are a subscriber to World Sports Law Report, click here to access the article. Click here to sign up for a free trial to World Sports Law Report.


Disciplinary Proceedings: Confidentiality: FA actions against Queens Park Rangers

In March, the Football Association announced that it was charging Football League Championship leader Queens Park Rangers with breaches of its regulations regarding third party influence concerning the transfer of key striker Alejandro Faurlin to the club. QPR was successful in proving to the FA that third party interest in the player had been suspended for the duration of his three-year contract, and had since been 'bought out' by the club. Joseph Parks, a Trainee Solicitor at IPS Law LLP - which acted for the club - examines how the FA's decision to publicly announce the charges could have affected the case.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Transparency Key To Policing Player Contracts

Transparency is key to effective policing of player contracts, highlighted major sports organisations at Player Contracts 2011, a World Sports Law Report conference that took place in London on 7 July. Sporting bodies present included FIFA, UEFA, the European Club Association (ECA), FIFPro, the International Cricket Council, the Irish Rugby Football Union and more. The main points raised were:

 

• FIFA’s Transfer Matching System (TMS) needs to make changes to ensure financial transparency within the TMS system;

• UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations are unlikely to be effective and will cement the position of the richest clubs;

• Clubs are declaring their players as amateurs in order to avoid scrutiny under the TMS;

• TMS to be extended to include international transfer of female professionals and futsal players;

• More needs to be done to protect young players from exploitation;

• Training compensation is hampering big clubs from selling players to smaller clubs;

• Regulations on third party investment in football need clarifying;

• More needs to be done to compensate clubs for injuries attained during international duty.

 

In its presentation on its Transfer Matching System, FIFA highlighted that 4,600 clubs now use the TMS, which became mandatory for international transfers in 2010.  However, it was agreed that more needs to be done to ensure financial transparency in the system. FIFA said that it was working on a system whereby clubs would specify ‘approved accounts’ for player transfers, so that clubs could be confident that money was being paid to legitimate bank accounts.

 

The European Club Association (ECA) said it had evidence that payments are being made to third parties. It said FIFA needs to do more than the TMS requirement for clubs to tick a box agreeing not to make payments to third parties. “A box is a box”, said Isabelle Solal, Head of Integrity & Compliance for FIFA Transfer Matching System GmbH. “It is something we can use as evidence that a club has lied. It is something that we plan to use going forward during investigations.”

 

FIFA and the ECA also revealed they have evidence that clubs are getting around prohibitions on the transfer of young players by arranging jobs for player parents. FIFA Regulations prevent the international transfer of a player under the age of 16, unless the parents of the player move to a new country. FIFA and the ECA said that jobs are being arranged for parents, who move to a new country only for a local club to sign their son shortly after his 16th birthday. In its presentation on protecting youth players, the ECA cited the cases of Paraguayan Carlos Javier Acuna Caballero, whose mother was allegedly offered a job in Cadiz prior to the player’s 16th birthday ahead of FC Cadiz’s contract with the player after his 16th birthday. The ECA also revealed that the Dutch authorities are investigating the transfer of Nathan Ake from Feyenoord to Chelsea, who was allegedly pictured on a football agent’s internet site at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge ground prior to his 16th birthday.

 

Delegates from smaller clubs raised a peculiar problem caused by FIFA’s requirement for compensation to be paid for the training of a player. Young players trained by a big club can often find themselves stranded, as smaller clubs cannot afford to pay the compensation. The abandonment of young players abroad was also raised as a potential problem, especially as UEFA’s Financial Fair Play Regulations are leading clubs to pursue ever-younger players in order to save money.

 

Other sessions discussed the impact of the Bribery Act on player contracts; managing rival competitions and calculating compensation for contract breaches.

 

Andy Brown


Thursday, June 30, 2011

London Boroughs given prior access to Olympic tickets

London’s 32 Boroughs were each offered the chance to buy a range of tickets to the London 2012 Olympics ahead of the first public ballot on 15 March, with 12 deciding to buy tickets to key events, revealed the appendix to a report published by the London Assembly and the Greater London Authority (GLA). News that some Boroughs decided to spend taxpayer money on key events before they were made available to the public is likely to increase concerns that the Olympic ballot process was not completely fair. News that some Boroughs are spending taxpayer money on Olympic tickets for local Mayors will anger many.

 

Of those 12 Boroughs taking up the offer to purchase tickets, just three secured sponsorship or other external funding for their tickets, revealed the follow up report to ‘Just the ticket? Report on the Ticketing Arrangements for the 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games’, published by the London Assembly and GLA on 24 May. The biggest spender was Kensington & Chelsea, which spent £13,180 on 100 tickets for ‘outstanding young sports people in the borough and the volunteers and stalwarts, who are the backbone of our youth clubs’. The tickets will be Council funded, however the Borough said it is ‘seeking help with the funding’.

 

The Boroughs were free to use the tickets as they saw fit and whilst many stated that they felt it was unfair to spend taxpayer money on Olympic tickets whilst public services continue to be cut, others had different views, despite a warning in the original March ‘Just the ticket…’ report that public bodies should ‘show restraint’ when bidding for tickets. Merton ignored this advice and had planned to spend £3,980 on tickets for the opening and closing ceremonies for ‘the Mayor and consort’, however has recently reversed that decision following a public outcry, according to local reports. Of Ealing’s 37 tickets, two will be given to the Mayor and consort, whilst the rest will be given to children in Council care. Others – such as Lambeth (40) and Waltham Forest (44) – decided to donate their tickets to deserving members of the local community. Any tickets not bought were returned to the public ballot.

 

A form sent to each of the Boroughs reveals how they were allowed to cherry-pick some of the best Olympic events ahead of the public ballot. The 100 tickets on offer to each Borough included 16 for the Opening Ceremony; 10 for Cycling Track Finals; 64 for key Athletics Finals (including eight for the men’s 100m final); plus men’s football (8), diving (6), boxing (16) and basketball (2) finals. Any of these tickets bought were obviously taken out of the public ballot.

 

A Freedom of Information request made on 7 June revealed that Waltham Forest had spent £6,970 on 44 dream Olympic tickets for its lucky residents, which included six tickets at £150 each to the Opening Ceremony and two for 19 other key events such as the Cycling Finals, Men’s 100m Final and Closing Ceremony. These tickets will be funded by the taxpayer.

 

London 2012 refused to give details on how it decided which sporting events were included within 100 tickets offered for sale to each of London’s 32 Boroughs. “Tickets were offered across a range of events”, said a spokesperson, who refused to elaborate. As the 3,200 tickets were made available prior to the public sale and any not bought were returned to the public, they were allocated separately from the Government’s allocation of 8,815 tickets and the 500 tickets available for purchase by the GLA.

 

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt outlined how the Government would distribute its tickets on 16 June. The Government will pay for 3,750 tickets, of which 450 will go to young people taking part in the School Games and 3,300 to ‘business leaders and dignitaries’. Staff working on the Games will be able to purchase 3,000 tickets and host towns and cities outside of London will be able to purchase 2,065. Five hundred tickets are also available for purchase by the GLA, which said it would fund any used through sponsorship.

 

Which London Boroughs Bought Olympic Tickets

Borough

Buying tickets

Cost

Who tickets are for

How tickets are funded

Publishing recipients

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kensington & Chelsea

100

£13,180

Young sports people and volunteers at youth clubs

Council, seeking support with funding

Yes

Islington

100

-

Local residents who otherwise wouldn't have had the chance to participate

Partners & local business

Unknown

Waltham Forest

44

£6,970

Residents contributing to the Borough

Council

Unknown

Lambeth

40

-

Deserving members of community

Sponsorship

Yes

Ealing

37

-

2 Opening Ceremony tickets for Mayor & Consort, the rest for children in Council care

Council

Yes

Sutton

10

-

Young people aged 16-18

Council

Unknown

Merton*

4

£3,980

Two tickets for opening and closing ceremonies for Mayor & Consort

Council

Yes

Hackney

Yes

-

Young sporting people

Unknown

Unknown

Lewisham

Yes

-

Lewisham sports clubs

Council

Unknown

Newham

Yes

-

Not known

Council

Yes

Southwark

Yes

-

Young people in care

Council & other sources

Through FOI

Tower Hamlets

Yes

-

Residents contributing to the Borough

Council, using crime enforcement proceeeds

Unknown

Greenwich

No response

-

-

-

-

 * Local reports suggest that Merton will no longer be buying Olympic tickets


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Switzerland delays report into sport federation rules

Switzerland's federal sport office (BASPO) has delayed a report into whether the regulations of international sporting federations are adequate or whether legislation is needed until the autumn, following further allegations of corruption involving FIFA.

If you are a subscriber to World Sports Law Report, click here to access the article. Click here to sign up for a free trial to World Sports Law Report.


Australia to entitle sporting bodies to gambling money

Australian sporting organisations will be entitled to a financial return from betting, under national legislation that will stem from a National Policy on Match-Fixing in Sport, agreed by Australia's governments on 10 June. The Policy also may allow sporting bodies to sell the right to offer bets to operators, if Australia's eight governments decide to take that approach.

If you are a subscriber to World Sports Law Report, click here to access the article. Click here to sign up for a free trial to World Sports Law Report.


Athletes falsely found guilty of doping

Egyptian footballer Hossam Ghaly and a US runner were falsely found guilty of doping by a Malaysian laboratory accredited by the World AntiDoping Agency (WADA), the Court for Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled on 22 June. An appeal by the Doping Control Centre Penang against WADA's decision to revoke its licence was dismissed.

If you are a subscriber to World Sports Law Report, click here to access the article. Click here to sign up for a free trial to World Sports Law Report.


Eligibility: The IAAF hyperandrogenism regulations and discrimination

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) recently released rules and guidelines designed to prevent women with elevated androgen levels from competing, which the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is also planning to adopt. Shawn Crincoli, an Associate Professor of Law at Touro Law Center, explains why the rules and guidelines are highly likely to violate non-discrimination laws in a number of jurisdictions.

If you are a subscriber to World Sports Law Report, click here to access the article. Click here to sign up for a free trial to World Sports Law Report.


Gambling: Preventing match-fixing: player education fundamental

Educating players to recognise corrupt approaches to them is essential to maintaining the integrity of sport, as is education on the rules on betting. Simon Taylor of the Professional Players Federation and Jason Foley-Train of the Remote Gambling Association explain how the licensed betting industry and player federations have teamed up to educate players.

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Regulations: Application of FIFA Article 18bis: Tampere United's case

The Finnish football association became the first national association to apply FIFA's Article 18bis when it expelled Tampere United from all competitions during 2011 for allowing a third party to influence its transfer policies. Pekka Aho, an Attorney with Studio Elsa Avvocati Associati, examines how Article 18bis was used to sanction Tampere United for becoming involved with a company suspected of match-fixing, and explains how Article 18bis could be used by other national associations in different situations in the future.

If you are a subscriber to World Sports Law Report, click here to access the article. Click here to sign up for a free trial to World Sports Law Report.


Arbitration: CAS ad hoc division and the London 2012 Olympic Games

The ad hoc division of the Court of Arbitration for Sport is used when disputes in sport need to be settled within 24 hours, such as during the Olympics or a similar major sports tournament. Jack Anderson, a Reader in Law at Queen's University Belfast's School of Law, examines how the ad hoc division operates; how the pressurised environment endemic to major sporting events can affect decisions; and how it is likely to be used during the London 2012 Olympics.

If you are a subscriber to World Sports Law Report, click here to access the article. Click here to sign up for a free trial to World Sports Law Report.


Rights: Exclusive rights to sports events: Hartplatzhelden case

Event organisers often assume that they are entitled to monopolise the rights in connection to their event, and can prevent unlicensed third parties from exploiting commercial rights in relation to the event. The recent 'Hartplatzhelden' federal court case in Germany challenges these preconceptions and also explores important questions about to whom football belongs, whether an overall protection for sports events infringes the principle of commercial freedom and more. Dr. André Soldner and Dr. Thomas C. Körber of Klinkert Zindel Partner explore these questions and assess whether sports events with free entry can protect their commercial rights, both adequately and legitimately.

If you are a subscriber to World Sports Law Report, click here to access the article. Click here to sign up for a free trial to World Sports Law Report.


Doping: Review of Australia's national anti-doping agency: part 1

The Australian Sports Drug Agency (ASADA) replaced the Australian Sports Drug Agency in 2006 as one of the results from the 2004 inquiry into drug use by the Australian track cycling team. In the first instalment of a two-part article, Catherine Ordway, a Sport & Anti-Doping Consultant who previously worked with ASADA, examines the reasons why ASADA was established and how it planned to demonstrate organisational credibility.

If you are a subscriber to World Sports Law Report, click here to access the article. Click here to sign up for a free trial to World Sports Law Report.


Saturday, June 04, 2011

Arbitration court to rule on Tampere United's expulsion

An independent arbitration court will rule on Tampere United's appeal against its expulsion from all competitions by the Finland football association (SPL) for violating rules on third party influence before the end of May.

If you are a subscriber to World Sports Law Report, click here to access the full article, or click here to sign up for a free trial. 


ICC investigates regulation of player agents in cricket

The International Cricket Council (ICC) is investigating whether it should regulate the use of player agents after two national associations issued separate player agent regulations in response to last year's spot-fixing case involving player agent Mazhar Majeed.

If you are a subscriber to World Sports Law Report, click here to access the full article, or click here to sign up for a free trial. 


Traders must reapply for L2012 licences

Licensed street traders face having to reapply for a licence to trade in public places within 'event zones' during the London 2012 Olympic Games under UK Government plans.

If you are a subscriber to World Sports Law Report, click here to access the full article, or click here to sign up for a free trial. 


Player Agents: Cricket begins regulation of player agents: analysis

England and Pakistan have recently become the first cricket playing countries to attempt regulation of the activities of agents. Amrut Joshi, an Advocate who heads the sports practice at MMB Legal, examines the regulations, the differences in the approaches of ECB and PCB and the rationale behind regulating the activities of agents. Joshi also draws a distinction between the philosophy behind the regulation of agents in cricket from the Transfer Matching System adopted by FIFA for the sport of football.

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Doping: The status of an athlete during a period of ineligibility

The World Anti-Doping Code prohibits athletes declared ineligible due to a doping violation from participating in any activity organised by signatories to the Code during their period of ineligibility. FIFA, however, has rules allowing players declared ineligible for doping to resume training with their club before the end of their period of ineligibility. Dr. Volker Hesse, founder of VIVA Sports Law - Consulting, examines whether there is a case for allowing team sport players to resume training before the end of their ban, as it is argued that it is harder for them to maintain form outside of a club setting than it is for individual athletes to do the same.

If you are a subscriber to World Sports Law Report, click here to access the full article, or click here to sign up for a free trial. 


Gambling: Managing integrity from the amateur sport perspective

FIFA's announcement that it will donate €20 million to a ten-year programme launched in partnership with INTERPOL to tackle match fixing illustrates the financial power that professional sport can wield to tackle corruption and irregular betting. Amateur sport doesn't have the same resources, and it can be argued that its participants are more vulnerable to corruption as they are not paid. Matthew Nicholas and Amelia Lynch of Lander & Rogers Sports Business Group examine this and the difficulties in forming rules that are proportionate to both the professional and amateur side of sport.

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Ticketing: Ways of obtaining information from ticket resellers

The Rugby Football Union has recently been successful in obtaining a Norwich Pharmacal Order requiring ticket resale site Viagogo to provide it with information regarding the resale of tickets to its events. Tom Burrows, a Trainee Solicitor with Paris Smith LLP, examines the case and the implications it could have for restrictions on reselling sporting event tickets, which is likely to become a big issue over the coming months as people receive their ticket allocations for the London 2012 Olympics.

If you are a subscriber to World Sports Law Report, click here to access the full article, or click here to sign up for a free trial. 


Doping: IOC 'Osaka rule': prohibition of dopers from the Olympics

The Court of Arbitration for Sport has been asked to rule on the legitimacy of the IOC's Regulations Regarding Participation in the Olympic Games - Rule 45 of the Olympic Charter, which bans athletes convicted of doping from competing at the next edition of the Olympic Games. Alexandre Miguel Mestre, a Senior Associate with PLMJ, examines whether the so-called 'Osaka Rule' constitutes a disciplinary sanction or an eligibility condition, assessing whether it constitutes a violation of the common law principle that double punishments should be prohibited.

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Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Recent Football Matches Highlight the Case for Video Referees

The first leg of the UEFA Champions League semi-final between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona on 27 April contained one of the greatest goals since Diego Maradona graced the world's football fields. However sadly the game will not be remembered for this, but more for the allegations of cheating, diving and conspiracy that dogged the fixture as both clubs made allegations against the other.

 

FC Barcelona have asked UEFA to intervene following claims made by Real's Manager Jose Mourinho that a conspiracy exists to favour the Catalan club. In reply, Real Madrid have reported FC Barcelona to UEFA over 'feigned aggressions' (read ‘diving’) that allegedly led to the dismissal of defender Pepe. UEFA has also launched its own investigations into both clubs. The Guardian's 'Secret Footballer' expressed his disgust at what football has become.

 

Sir Alex Ferguson has just returned from a five-game touchline ban for criticising the referee, yet that didn’t stop him blaming the referee for failing to award a penalty during Manchester United’s 1-0 defeat at Arsenal on 1 May. Ferguson now faces yet another investigation by the FA. Tottenham Hotspur also missed out after a referee awarded a goal to Chelsea on 1 May when TV replays showed that goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes stopped the ball from crossing the line. Again, the referee was blamed for failing to award the goal.

 

FIFA’s argument against video replays is that they would ruin the flow of the game, however other sports have coped with video replays for a number of years. Its solution to the perceived injustices in football is goal line technology that could relay a decision back to the referee about whether a ball has crossed the line in under one second. FIFA has recently announced that it will continue its testing, as it has yet to find a system that is up to scratch.

 

Such a system already exists. Most stadiums are equipped with big screens that could replay goal line incidents instantly, as happened during the World Cup, when Mexico were furious after an in-stadium screen showed everyone that Carlos Tevez was offside when scoring against them, putting them out of the tournament. The solution could even go further than that by replaying controversial incidents such as the refereeing decisions mentioned above, which could end up costing the clubs involved millions of pounds due to failure to qualify for the UEFA Champions League or missing out on higher Premier League TV payments as the result of a bad decision (It is estimated that Chelsea’s wrongly-awarded goal could cost Tottenham £15 million if they fail to qualify for the Champions League as a result).

 

As I have suggested before, a fairer system might be to allow team captains to challenge three decisions during a match, which will be replayed there and then 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. It would also stop ugly incidents marring fantastic games of football, which is what UEFA Champions League semi-finals should be remembered for being.

 

However, FIFA cannot sell TV replays. It can sell goal line technology, as there are a plethora of companies ready to offer their technology to solve perceived injustices in football. Because of the millions of pounds at stake, modern football deserves a fairer solution.

 

Andy Brown


Sunday, May 01, 2011

IAAF: hyperandrogenism rules are challenge proof

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) is confident that its rules on the eligibility of females with hyperandrogenism will withstand legal challenge when they are published on 1 May. Hyperandrogenism is a medical condition involving excessive production of hormones (androgens) such as testosterone.

If you are a subscriber to World Sports Law Report, click here to access the full article, or click here to sign up for a free trial. 


Spurs and Orient seek judicial review of Newham's £40m Olympic Stadium loan

Tottenham Hotspur and Leyton Orient football clubs have sought High Court permission for judicial review of Newham's decision to take out a loan of up to £40 million for the redevelopment of the Olympic Stadium following the London 2012 Olympics. Newham Council has not lent West Ham United the money - a 'stadium company' will borrow the money from Newham and will rent the stadium to the club.

If you are a subscriber to World Sports Law Report, click here to access the full article, or click here to sign up for a free trial. 


'Associates' to challenge World Cup exclusion

Associate members of the International Cricket Council (ICC) are preparing to challenge a decision to exclude them from the 2015 Cricket World Cup at the ICC annual conference in June.

If you are a subscriber to World Sports Law Report, click here to access the full article, or click here to sign up for a free trial. 


Player Contracts: Contract breaches under FIFA's Article 17: De Sanctis

Italian goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis recently won a reduction in compensation due to his former club Udinese for breaching his contract under Article 17(3) of FIFA's Regulations for the Status and Transfer of Players at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). Ricardo Gentzsch, an Abogado with Schiller Abogados, examines the arguments of both clubs and the player against the compensation awarded by FIFA's Dispute Resolution Chamber, and explains how the CAS came to its decision.

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Football Relocation: Viability of challenges to West Ham's Olympic Park move

Leyton Orient and Tottenham Hotspur have launched applications in the High Court for judicial review of Newham Council's decision to loan £40 million to a 'Stadium Company' that will manage the redevelopment of London's Olympic Stadium after the London 2012 Olympic Games. Both clubs also plan to ask for judicial review of the Olympic Park Legacy Company's decision to accept West Ham United and Newham's bid to redevelop the stadium. Daniel York, a Solicitor with Field Seymour Parkes, examines the judicial review process and Leyton Orient's additional challenge based on the Premier League rules on relocation.

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Broadcasting: 'Listing' of major events: UEFA and FIFA's failed challenge

UEFA and FIFA recently failed in an action challenging the 'listing' of the European Championships and World Cup as events of national importance that should be available on television to as wider section of the public as possible. Daniel Geey, a Solicitor with Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP, examines the legislation that allows 'listing' of sporting events and explains the European Union General Court's reasoning for rejecting the argument that only games featuring the national team can be considered of major importance for society.

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Referee Criticism: Freedom of expression and public criticism of officials

Alex Ferguson, Manager of Manchester United football club, recently received a five-match 'touchline ban' and a £30,000 fine for publicly criticising a match referee. The Football Association (FA) judged him to be in breach of rule E3, which prohibits actions judged as bringing the game into disrepute. Gregory Ioannidis and Geoffrey Alderman, of the University of Buckingham Law School, examine the legal and moral grounds for removing the right to free speech, the reasons for the FA's decision, whether the specificity of sport justifies the removal of such an important right and whether action is possible against the FA for abuse of power.

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Gambling: EU online gambling consultation: issues for sport

The European Commission has launched a public consultation which invites views on a range of issues relating to online gambling. Two that will catch the eye of sports organisations are the principle of a 'fair return' for sports, and sponsorship by gambling operators. Andrew Danson, a Senior Associate at K&L Gates LLP, examines the issues and potential opportunities.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

UEFA Punish Gattuso, But That Wasn’t Football

One of most talked about incidents of this year’s UEFA Champions League occurred during a match between AC Milan and Tottenham Hotspur, where midfielder Gennaro Gattuso was punished by UEFA for his alleged head butt on Spurs coach Joe Jordan. However, whether you agree with the punishment or not, surely this is an incident that shouldn’t come under UEFA’s jurisdiction at all?

Granted, the incident occurred during one of the highest profile fixtures of the football calendar - you don’t get much bigger than the knock-out stages of the Champions League - but is the incident a football one, or no different to any other offence committed on the streets?

Following the issuing of Gattuso’s punishment, UEFA released a short statement clarifying its view of the situation. The statement read 'The control and disciplinary body ruled that Gattuso had assaulted the Tottenham Hotspur coach Joe Jordan after that match'.

It is the use of the word 'assaulted' that, in my view, raises questions about this incident. Assault is defined as an act carried out by a threat of bodily harm coupled with an apparent, present ability to cause harm. Surely grabbing an elderly man by the throat and proceeding to head butt him is a threat of bodily harm?

Some people may argue that this is a football incident as it occurred on the field of play. But this was not a flare up between two players, a late attempt to win the ball spilling over into violence. This was Gennaro Gattuso, an experienced professional footballer who has made 395 club and 73 international appearances, purposefully coming to the edge of the field to confront a man who, to all intents and purposes, could have little impact on the game.

If this incident had occurred in a different setting, on a different occasion, then surely this is a criminal offence? Why does the hallowed turf of the San Siro make any difference to how the incident should be seen in the eyes of the law?

Obviously there has been a huge amount of discussion and arguments over the days and weeks following the game, a shame given that they somewhat overshadowed a fantastic away Champions League performance by Spurs.

Whilst the general consensus seemed to be that Gattuso had acted stupidly, that this is rightly an incident unwelcome within the game, these major excuses or accusations seems to be missing the point somewhat. Whilst those may argue that as an experienced professional footballer Gattuso should know better than to start causing trouble with the opposition’s coach. However, whether Gattuso attacks Joe Jordan or boxer David Haye, the law is still the same. Violence is a not a part of football, and therefore cannot be solely punished by those responsible for the sport.

Gattuso may consider himself unlucky to be punished in such a way that could prevent him from playing in another Champions League in his career. But he should consider himself lucky to still have the chance to play another game of professional football again.

 

Ashley Burtoft, student

BSc(Hons) Sport Science and Management

School of Science and Technology, Nottingham Trent University

 

Editor comment: Ashley raises an important issue with this article – where should the line be drawn between sports regulations and the law? As Ashley rightly points out, should UEFA be punishing players for incidents that take place off the field of play and could have resulted in a criminal prosecution had they occurred in any other setting? The fine line between sports regulation and 'formal' areas of the law is increasingly being tested. Alex Ferguson has recently been issued with a fine and a touchline ban for criticising a referee. In the April edition of World Sports Law Report, we will examine whether this constitutes a restriction on his freedom of speech.

Many thanks to Ashley for raising this important issue, which we will explore in future editions of World Sports Law Report in closer detail. If YOU are a student studying sports law, management or regulation and you have an issue that you feel needs exploring and you would like to see published on this blog, please email a synopsis to Andy Brown, Editor of World Sports Law Report.


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.

If you are a subscriber to World Sports Law Report, click here to access the full article, or click here to sign up for a two-week free trial. 


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.

If you are a subscriber to World Sports Law Report, click here to access the full article, or click here to sign up for a two-week free trial. 


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.

If you are a subscriber to World Sports Law Report, click here to access the full article, or click here to sign up for a two-week free trial. 


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.

If you are a subscriber to World Sports Law Report, click here to access the full article, or click here to sign up for a two-week free trial. 


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.

If you are a subscriber to World Sports Law Report, click here to access the full article, or click here to sign up for a two-week free trial. 


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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