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World Sports Advocate

Volume: 14 Issue: 6
(June 2016)


The German Federal Court of Justice (‘BGH’) ruled against speed skater Claudia Pechstein’s challenge to the authority of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (‘CAS’) on 7 June 2016, declaring that Pechstein had received a fair hearing from the CAS in 2009 when she moved to challenge a suspension from the International Speedskating Union over alleged doping. The BGH’s ruling acknowledges that the CAS Code as well as the review of judgments by the Swiss Federal Tribunal do sufficiently protect athletes’ rights, however the BGH’s ruling could also suggest a possible need for reform, namely to the composition of the International Council of Arbitration for Sport (‘ICAS’) and the potential for parties to select arbitrators from outside of the ‘closed list.’ / read more

Valencia CF announced the purchase of four players from Samsung Gaming eSports on 7 June 2016 to compete professionally in Hearthstone competitions, a free to play strategy card game. European football clubs including Besiktas and Schalke have also purchased eSports teams, whilst West Ham and Wolfsberg both recently signed professional FIFA players to represent their clubs at FIFA eSports competitions. / read more

KPMG has resigned as auditor of FIFA, due to concerns “that the new leadership of world football’s governing body was not serious about reform,” according to an article published on the 13 June 2016 by the Financial Times. / read more

On 13 June 2016, a study was released into how the ‘specificity of sport’ has changed since the European Commission’s 2007 White Paper on sport. The study puts forward a number of areas that still require clarification of the legal rules, including whether regulation wrongly limits payment to players’ agents following transfer deals and whether less restrictive home grown player quotas can improve competitiveness and youth development. / read more

The International Association of Athletics Federations (‘IAAF’) published guidelines on the application for exceptional eligibility under Competition Rule 22.1A on 1 July 2016, which allows any athlete to apply for exceptional eligibility to be granted by the Doping Review Board in order to be allowed to take part in international competitions in an individual capacity, as a Neutral Athlete (as defined in the Competition Rules). / read more

The European Commission announced on 4 July 2016 that public support measures granted to seven professional football clubs in Spain must be paid back as such subsidies gave those clubs an unfair advantage over other European clubs, and were therefore in breach of EU State Aid rules. The Spanish authorities must now recover the illegal State Aid, including interest, given to FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Valencia, Athletic Bilbao, Atlético Osasuna, Elche and Hercules. / read more

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (‘CAS’) upheld a request for provisional measures on 8 July 2016 filed by Korean swimmer Park Tae-Hwan, allowing Park to provisionally participate in the Rio Olympics until a final decision on his appeal against a controversial Korean Olympic Committee doping ban is rendered. / read more


The Spanish Police operation against Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes and his elaborate doping network, Operación Vuelta, has taken another turn. Last week the Provincial Criminal Court of Madrid overturned a lower court decision acquitting Doctor Fuentes and José Ignacio Labarta Barrera of all charges relating to the violation of Spain’s public health regulations contained in the Spanish Criminal Code. The decision presents a new opportunity for doping authorities around the world to combat doping. Paolo Torchetti and Enric Ripoll, Sports Lawyer at Ruiz-Huerta & Crespo, seek to unpack and explain the decision, whilst highlighting some of the issues arising from this latest decision in a case which now spans ten years. / read more

During a workshop at the 2016 edition of the Tackling Doping in Sport Conference, organised by World Sports Law Report, Dr Marjolaine Viret and Emily Wisnosky, researchers from the University of Neuchatel, asked stakeholders to discuss the issues they have experienced in implementing the 2015 World Anti-Doping Code (‘Code’). The goal was to get a sense of the most common or most serious issues faced by stakeholders during the first year of implementation, with a view to identify priorities for future revisions. Recent announcements by the World Anti-Doping Agency (‘WADA’) suggest that a new formal revision process is not on the immediate horizon; in particular, no adoption of a revised Code is contemplated for the next 2019 World Conference. Nevertheless, the exercise was an important indicator of ‘where we are now’ that can contribute to the discussion of future anti-doping policy. This article is not intended to be a comprehensive analysis of the state of anti-doping; rather, it presents a collection of feedback received, chosen to provide members of the anti-doping community with food for thought. / read more

On the 23 May 2016, ten people were arrested, seven of whom were taken into custody and three of whom are under house arrest, following a statement by Antonio Accurso, former boss of a Camorra clan known as ‘Vinella Grassi.’ The ongoing investigations indicate that this new Italian match-fixing scandal may involve two current players (Armando Izzo and Francesco Millesi). The prosecution is suggesting that the head of the ‘Vinella Grassi’ clan, Accurso, promised Millesi € 200,000 and later gave him € 30,000. Millesi then tried using these funds to bribe other players. After a few unsuccessful approaches, Millesi is accused of having tried to influence Maurizio Peccarisi (when both were playing for US Avellino) to facilitate a goal conceded against FC Modena in the match on 17 May 2014. The clan had bet a sum of € 400,000 and made a profit of € 60,000. The other match in question was between Avellino and Reggina held on 25 May 2014, where Accurso offered € 50,000 to Reggina players who have not been identified, to favour an Avellino victory. The bulk of this investigation rests on phone tapping. / read more

For many years, media rights in German professional football have been largely awarded on a single buyer basis with Sky Deutschland (‘Sky’) as traditional incumbent and sole conventional pay-TV broadcaster. Under gentle pressure from the German Federal Cartel Office (Bundeskartellamt - ‘FCO’) the German Football League (DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga GmbH – ‘DFL’) has recently abandoned this model. Following the requirements of the FCO, DFL has adopted a ‘no single buyer’ approach whereby it is forbidden that all live broadcasting rights are united in the hands of only one bidder. The first auction of media rights for the seasons 2017/18 to 2021/22 conducted by DFL on that basis has turned out to be a commercial success, with DFL raising an overall figure of €4.64 billion for that period. Dr Christoph M. Giebel, a sports and media law practitioner based in Munich, provides an analysis of the legal background and the outcome of the auction as well as its implications for German professional football. / read more

On 23 March 2015, Olympic swimmer Park Tae-Hwan was found to have committed an anti-doping rule violation by a FINA (the International Swimming Federation) Doping Panel for which he was sanctioned with an 18-month suspension. However, even though his suspension ended on 2 March 2016, Park was deemed ineligible to participate in the Rio Olympics 2016 by virtue of Article 5(6) of the Korean Swimming Federation’s (‘KSF’) Swimming Representatives Selection Rules and Article 5(6) of the Korea Sports and Olympic Council’s Selection of Representative Rules (which, in its functions related to the Olympics, is referred to as the Korea Olympic Committee, ‘KSOC’ or ‘KOC’). These provisions state that any person who has been sanctioned for an anti-doping rule violation is disqualified from being part of the Korean national team for a period of three years after the end of the suspension (the ‘Banning Provisions’). Kevin (Kap-You) Kim, Senior Partner at Bae, Kim & Lee LLC, analyses the possibility of an expedited procedure or interim measures being adopted by CAS as part of arbitration proceedings instigated by Park, and previous CAS decisions that may indicate that the Banning Provisions could be deemed unenforceable by CAS. / read more

As of 6 April 2016, all unlisted UK companies and Limited Liability Partnerships must maintain a statutory register of people with significant control over their affairs (‘PSC’). The aim behind the regime is to create transparency as to the individuals who, either directly or indirectly, control or significantly influence a business. Charles Maurice and Christopher Benjamin of Stevens & Bolton LLP, analyses the PSC regime and its likely impact on the UK football industry. / 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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