The Sports Law Review: Editors' Preface
The Sports Law Review is intended to be a legal guide for all stakeholders in the field of sport, including legal practitioners, academics, sports business entities, sports federations, clubs and athletes. It aims to provide an overview of the relevant legal framework in a wide range of selected jurisdictions, with an emphasis on the most significant developments and decisions of the past year. It shows that sports law, despite its international dimension that culminates with the adoption of regulations by international sports federations and the ultimate control of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), remains a transversal law, subject to state authority. Local laws are particularly relevant in all areas that are not covered by sports regulations or that are subject to sovereign powers and mandatory provisions.
The Sports Law Review is of particular interest for sports lawyers who intend to act internationally on behalf of sports federations, clubs and athletes and must, therefore, be familiar with not only international private norms and the lex sportiva, but also domestic laws, in an increasingly globalised world. It also allows comparative law and sports law lecturers to obtain a general understanding of the situation in the field of sport worldwide without having to undertake time-consuming research. It can be consulted as a hard copy or on The Law Reviews website (https://thelawreviews.co.uk), thus providing a unique and specialised database with wide dissemination.
The review is traditionally structured in 10 sections, which are similar for all the countries examined in order to facilitate comparisons. It starts with the legal structure and organisation of sports clubs and governing bodies, and the dispute resolution system applicable to sports matters. It then presents issues related to the organisation of sports events, such as liability for injuries and riot prevention, and provides a description of the legislative framework governing the commercialisation of sports events, labour, antitrust and taxation. It also addresses specific sports aspects, including doping, betting, match-fixing and grey market sales. It concludes with a review of the year, outlining recent decisions of courts or arbitral tribunals that are of interest for an international audience, as well as a summary and outlook for the coming period.
This seventh edition, which covers the period from July 2020 to July 2021, is no exception to this rule. It gathers 19 chapters written by renowned sports law practitioners and experts based in key countries across all five continents. It comes in the context of a year marked by disruptions related to the covid-19 outbreak, which has had a significant impact on the world of sport, with a series of competition cancellations, disruptions in the decision-making processes and cash flow issues. It also reflects a global trend characterised by an increased willingness to set good governance measures and improve integrity standards. This trend is first illustrated by the adoption of a new World Anti-doping Code, together with a fine-tuned compliance monitoring programme, and the recent sanctions imposed on the Russian antidoping agency by the CAS. It is further evidenced by the implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions (Macolin Convention), the disciplinary procedures initiated by the International Olympic Committee against the International Boxing Association and the International Weightlifting Federation owing to governance and doping issues, as well as FIFA's forthcoming clearing house aimed at securing payments in football transfers.
The covid-19 outbreak and integrity global trend also impacted on national levels. Good examples of this are the recent measures adopted by numerous governments with a view to financially supporting sports organisations and allowing them to hold virtual meetings, and the progressive adjustments of domestic betting and integrity legislations for the purpose of the Macolin Convention.
Other fields, deemed to be more stable, such as the tax regime applicable to professional clubs in Spain, immigration laws in England and Wales (post-Brexit), or the Swiss law governing international arbitrations (namely the lex arbitri in CAS proceedings), have also been reshaped. Likewise, new bills have been adopted or are pending approval, such as the US legislation that will permit college athletes to monetise their name, image and likeness.
As the editor of this publication, I would like to take the opportunity to thank all the authors for their insightful and valuable contributions. I also extend my gratitude to all the people involved at all stages of this process, from proofreading to production and distribution. I trust that readers will find this global survey informative.