The Sports Law Review: Editor's Preface

The Sports Law Review, in its sixth edition, is intended as a practical, business-focused legal guide for all relevant stakeholder groups in the area of sports, including sports business entities, sports federations, sports clubs and athletes. Its goal is to provide an analysis of recent developments and their effects on the sports law sector in 20 jurisdictions, and serve as a guidebook for practitioners as to how a selected range of legal topics is dealt with under various national laws. The guidance given herein will, of course, not substitute for any particular local law advice that a party may have to seek in connection with sports-related operations and activities. Specific emphasis is put on the most significant developments and decisions of the past year in the relevant jurisdictions that may be of interest for an international audience.

The Sports Law Review recognises that sports law is not a single legal topic, but rather a field of law that is related to a wide variety of legal areas, such as contract, corporate, intellectual property, civil procedure, arbitration and criminal law. In addition, it covers the local legal frameworks that allows sports federations and sports governing bodies to set up their own internal statutes and regulations, as well as to enforce these regulations in relation to their members and other affiliated persons. While the statutory laws of a particular jurisdiction apply, as a rule, only within the borders of that jurisdiction, these statutes and regulations, if enacted by international sports governing bodies, such as FIFA, UEFA, FIS, IIHF, IAAF and WADA have a worldwide reach. Sports lawyers who intend to act internationally or globally must, therefore, be familiar with these international private norms if and to the extent that they intend to advise federations, clubs and athletes that are affiliated with such sports governing bodies. In addition, they should also be familiar with the relevant practice of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland, as far as it acts as the supreme legal body in sport-related disputes. Likewise, these practitioners should have at least a basic understanding of the Swiss rules on domestic and international arbitration as Swiss law is the lex arbitri in CAS arbitration.

While sports law has an important international dimension, local laws remain relevant in respect of all matters not covered by the statutes and regulations of the sports governing bodies. This growing international dimension means that athletes, sports clubs and sports federations are increasingly operating in an international environment and dealing with a variety of jurisdictions. As a result, the need for an international regulation of international sport is growing, and more and more specific legal assessments of individual aspects of local law are required, in particular in respect of local mandatory provisions that may prevail over or invalidate certain provisions of regulations enacted by sports governing bodies. The primacy of local laws is of particular importance in international employment relationships; for example, between clubs and foreign players, where the local laws of the clubs usually provide for a set of mandatory provisions that may impede performance by the athletes of their contractually agreed rights as regards the employers, should they not fulfil the employment agreement.

Each chapter of this sixth edition begins by discussing the legal framework of the relevant jurisdiction permitting sports organisations, such as sports clubs and sports governing bodies (e.g., national and international sports federations), to establish themselves and determine their organisational structure, as well as their disciplinary and other internal proceedings. The section detailing the competence and organisation of sports governing bodies will explain the degree of autonomy that sports governing bodies enjoy in the jurisdiction, particularly in terms of organisational freedoms and the right to establish an internal judiciary system to regulate a particular sport in the relevant country. The purpose of the dispute resolution system section is to outline the judiciary system for sports matters in general, including those that have been dealt with at first instance by sports governing bodies. An overview of the most relevant issues in the context of the organisation of a sports event is provided in the next section and, subsequent to that, a discussion on the commercialisation of such events and sports rights will cover the kinds of event- or sports-related rights that can be exploited, including rights relating to sponsorship, broadcasting and merchandising. This section will further analyse ownership of the relevant rights and how these rights can be transferred.

Our authors then provide sections detailing the relationships between professional sports and labour law, antitrust law and taxation in their own countries. The section devoted to specific sports issues will discuss certain acts that may qualify not only as breaches of the rules and regulations of the sports governing bodies, but also as criminal offences under local law, such as doping, betting and match-fixing.

In the final sections of each chapter, the authors provide a review of the year, outlining recent decisions of courts or arbitral tribunals in their respective jurisdictions that are of interest and relevance to practitioners and sports organisations in an international context, before they summarise their conclusions and the outlook for the coming period.

Each chapter of this sixth edition of The Sports Law Review has been provided by renowned sports law practitioners in the relevant jurisdiction. As the editor of this publication, I would like to take the opportunity to thank all of the authors for their skilful and insightful contributions to this publication. I trust that you will find this global survey informative and will avail yourselves at every opportunity of the valuable insights contained herein.

András Gurovits
Niederer Kraft Frey Ltd
August 2020

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