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World Sports Advocate

Volume: 13 Issue: 12
(December 2015)


On 3 December the Executive Committee of FIFA approved the proposed reforms presented by the Ethics Committee. The measures focus on imposing a maximum term limit for the FIFA President, the FIFA Council (which will replace the Executive Committee), and the Audit and Compliance Committees; a reform of the functions of the FIFA Council dividing political and management duties; enhancing women’s participation in decision-making positions; reducing the number of standing committees from 26 to nine; and reinforcing the independence of committee members. The Executive Committee has also approved the introduction of comprehensive and compulsory integrity checks for all members of FIFA’s standing committees. / read more

On 2 December, Sebastian Coe, recently elected President of the International Association of Athletics Federations (‘IAAF’), sat before a committee of MPs of the UK Parliament to discuss recent allegations of corruption involving IAAF officials, as well as his role as Nike ambassador. Coe defended his position with regard to the ongoing investigation into the former President of the IAAF, Lamine Diack, and denied any knowledge of wrongdoing while acting as IAAF Vice-President. He also denied having any conflict of interest when holding the position of Nike ambassador, a role he only dropped months after becoming IAAF President. / read more

Russian President of the Football Union and Sports Minister, Vitaly Mutko announced on 29 November that any Russian club attempting to sign a Turkish player in the upcoming transfer window ‘will find this impossible.’ Asked if this was a direct order not to sign Turkish players, Mutko clarified that indeed it was and, although existing labour agreements will not be affected, the Russian Football Union would not accept new contracts. / read more


Almost one year ago, the documentary ‘Top secret doping: how Russia makes its winners,’ aired by the German broadcaster ARD, denounced a culture of systematic and state sponsored doping in Russian athletics. The investigation indicated Russian officials were part of an intricate scheme that allowed their athletes to repeatedly use and abuse forbidden substances in an attempt to secure results in competitions. The World Anti-Doping Agency reacted by appoiting an independent commission (the ‘Commission’) to investigate these allegations. The first part of the Report issued by the Commission suggests we are far from achieving anything resembling ‘clean sport’ and that in some sports and countries the culture of cheating has infiltrated even the organisations that are supposed to protect the integrity of sport. The Commission’s findings suggest corrupt practices are ingrained not only at national level, but at the highest levels of world governing organisations. Dr. Antonio Rigozzi, Founding Partner and Head of the Sports Law and Arbitration practice at Lévy Kaufmann-Kohler and Professor of Sports Law and Arbitration at the Law School of the University of Neuchâtel, provides an analysis of the terms of reference and the outcomes of the Commission’s findings, contrasts the Report with the CIRC Report issued in March 2015 and discusses the significance of both for the future of anti-doping. / read more

Social media and content sharing platforms have become the new target of sports properties around the world with teams and leagues often joining forces with social media platforms to enhance brand awareness. Whilst promoting the engagement of fans and supporters is a key aspect of every marketing strategy, there is a blurred line between what a fan can share publicly via social networks and what is protected by copyright laws. Jody MacDonald, a Senior Associate at Couchmans LLP, discusses the distribution and exploitation of short form video content, the role of social media platforms and the measures sports properties may take to protect valuable rights currently exploited in the unofficial market. / read more

Opponents of third party ownership in football claim this practice drains resources from the sport and subjects football players to slave-like arrangements with agents and investors. Those who support these agreements deny these claims and highlight the relevance of third parties in the financial sustainability of clubs in leagues in Europe and South America. This was ‘settled’ by FIFA with the introduction of Article 18ter to the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players. However, the question that remains, following FIFA’s decision to ban this practice, is if the amendments introduced to its regulations are legal and whether they will stand the test of European regulations. Dr. Marco Del Fabro, Partner at Grendelmeier, Jenny & Partner, reviews the FIFA ban on third party ownership and provides his views on how the ban may potentially be in breach of EU laws. / read more

Recent scandals involving FIFA, the IAAF, national sports associations and several high ranking officials have stirred global unrest with questions raised on the structure and operation of self-regulating sports bodies. Good corporate governance is often highlighted as key in successful commercial enterprises. However, this essential element is practically absent in sports organisations that are allowed to operate without significant control from their own internal bodies or from domestic or global organisations. The result: unrestricted power leading to widespread corruption at every level of the sporting pyramid. Louise Reilly, a member of the Irish Bar and the Bar of England and Wales reviews particular characteristics of sports organisations, which leads them to being exposed to corrupt practices and suggests some measures to tackle this problem. / read more

Based on the FIFA Regulations applicable to the European Union and the EEA, a club that did not offer a contract to a player, while in training, will not be eligible to receive training compensation, unless it can justify and demonstrate that it is entitled to such compensation. Although this rule seems quite straightforward it raises several questions in practice. Leander Monbaliu, Attorney-At-Law at Koan Lorenz and Legal Counsel for the Belgian Pro League, provides an overview of existing jurisprudence, with particular attention paid to the two most recent Court of Arbitration for Sport awards. / read more

About World Sports Advocate

The monthly law publication providing guidance on all aspects of sports law, including licensing and sports data, anti-doping and doping sanctions, TV and broadcasting rights, sport technology, players agents, disciplinary measures, sports integrity, sports betting, player contracts, intellectual property, transfer regulations, sports sponsorship and marketing, and governance, as well as coverage of key legal cases, sporting regulations and governing bodies including the IOC, UEFA and FIFA and sporting events such as London 2012. / read more

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