Is there sports law?

We have asked this question many times. In this blog we briefly explain our concept of sports law and the reasons why we reaffirm its existence.

There are many who say there is no Sports Law

Normally those who advocate the non-existence of Sports Law say that it is not an autonomous branch, but that it is the application of all branches of law to the world of sport. For example, they say that when a soccer team hires a professional player, the contract is not made under sports law, but is labor law applied to sport. The same is said when a sports association is involved in an insolvency or liquidation process, in the sense that this is civil or commercial law, and that it simply happens that it is within the sports industry.

Given these arguments, we find ourselves naked, because they are true. When preparing a contract with a professional soccer player you have to look for a worker and when working on an insolvency process it is better to call the corporate lawyer, not a sports lawyer.

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So, if this is true does it mean that there is no Sports Law? The answer is no. These examples just mentioned would fall within the sphere of Sports Law , while, from our point of view, they are events that occur within the sports industry but are regulated by branches of common law. However, there are a number of issues that are typical of Sports Lawand that occur within the sphere of sports practice and not within the sports industry. For example, when a sanction procedure is taken to an athlete for doping. This is not something we are going to solve using the trade code or the labor law. No. This is a particularly sporting affair. The same goes for issues such as those related to player transfer contracts, eligibility of an athlete for a competition, compensation payments for training, among others.

Difference between sports law and sports law

So, in order to affirm that there is Sports Law, we have had to turn to the definition of Sports Law to be able to contrast its fields of application.

Sports Law is the application of autonomous branches of the right to the sports industry, while Sports Law is the set of rules that regulate the practice of sport.

This difference is important because from it we can determine the jurisdiction applicable to the cases and the autonomy of Sports Law.

If we are facing a Sports Law case, the competent jurisdiction will correspond to the branch that regulates the case. For example, in cases of image rights of athletes, the jurisdiction called to resolve the issues is not the sports jurisdiction, but is the one that resolves the issues of general image rights in each country.

On the other hand, if we are facing a Sports Law case, such as a disciplinary process for insulting an arbitrator, the competent jurisdiction will be the sports jurisdiction.

Finally, based on the differentiation between Sports Law and Sports Law, we can say that Sports Law is autonomous. If we do not make this precision, we would stay in the discussion about whether Sports Law is an autonomous branch or if it is the application of different branches of the right to sports.

We affirm that Sports Law is autonomous because it has its own rules, its own “courts”, its own principles and its own sources.

This, for practical purposes, is important, since in the cases of sports law, it is necessary to review autonomous rules, take them to an autonomous sports jurisdiction and understand the application of principles and sources different from those of the other branches of law.

We are currently in the process of publishing a book in which we dedicate a whole chapter to this discussion. So we invite you to be attentive to let us know your comments on this and all the other topics we raise in that book.


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