Book Review

Football and the Law by Nick de Marco qc of Blackstone Chambers London and contributors published by Bloomsbury Professional May 2018 610 pages isbn 9781847668820 paperback and e-book versions price £90 and £87.48 respectively

Association Football (soccer) is the world’s favourite sport as well as its most lucrative one and, as such, has given rise to many complex legal issues at the national and international levels!

The English Premier League (EPL) is the world’s most followed and popular football competition and, again, the most lucrative one, generating expected revenues of €5.65 billion in the current season of 2018-2019 and watched by some 3 billion people around the world.

According to the 2018 Deloitte Annual Review of Football Finance, the European soccer market is now worth a record €25.5 billion.

In the 2018 Summer Transfer Window, the EPL spent a total of €1.42 billion on players and Cristiano Ronaldo was transferred from Real Madrid to Juventus for a fee of €117.5 million. This transfer window also saw a record fee of €79.5 million being paid by Chelsea for the transfer of Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Against this background, the publication of this Book – believed to be the first of its kind – is both timely and welcome.

Covering a wide range of important legal issues relating to soccer, including regulatory and commercial aspects, the Book’s more than fifty contributors read like a veritable ‘who’s who’ of leading sports lawyers, all of whom make the Book a most reliable and authoritative one.

Particular mention may be made of the following topics, which raise important legal issues, covered in the Book:

  • players’ intermediaries and representation;
  • players’ transfers and contracts;
  • the legal consequences of personal injuries caused to and by players on the field of play, especially as players, nowadays, are extremely valuable ‘properties’;
  • corruption and doping;
  • broadcasting rights;
  • image rights;
  • ticketing arrangements, of which there have been some issues at the EU Competition Law level; and
  • last, but by no means least, dispute resolution – a topic close to the heart of your reviewer! – including arbitration, mediation and the CAS, which sports a separate list of arbitrators specialised in football law and disputes.

The Editor, Contributors and the Publishers are to be warmly congratulated on producing such an important, comprehensive and ‘must-have’ Book for sports lawyers, football club managers and administrators, players’ intermediaries, students, academics and researchers.

A veritable mine of vital information; and who would dare to disagree with the late and great Bill Shankly that football is a much more important matter than life and death!

Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw International Sports Lawyer Academic Author and Member of the Court of Arbitration for Sport and may be contacted by e-mail at ‘ian.blackshaw@orange.fr’