Sports Governing Bodies, such as the IOC and FIFA, are very powerful organisations in controlling and administering their respective sports and major international events and jealously guard their autonomy. Many of them would like to think that they are above the general law and are a law unto themselves. But, as this Book demonstrates, this is not so, and many of their actions and decisions may, according to the particular circumstances, be legally challenged in the ordinary courts, by sports persons, clubs, agents, officials and others involved at every level of professional sport.
With sport nowadays being such big business on a global basis, it is not surprising that sports disputes and legal challenges are on the increase.
This slim volume is a welcome addition to the literature on Sports Law and provides all those with a professional involvement and interest in sport with a helpful road map on the circumstances and the grounds on which and how and where to mount such challenges. The Law is stated as of June 2016.
The Authors, who are all leading and experienced practitioners in this field, have given a broader meaning to the expression ‘sports governing bodies’ for the purposes of their review, to include, as well as the disparate sports bodies themselves, sports clubs, promoters and the owners of sporting facilities. This wider coverage of the subject enhances the value and usefulness of the Book.
In fact, the coverage is quite comprehensive in the Book’s 14 Chapters. The Book not only deals with the legal aspects, but also procedural matters and remedies, including interim and final injunctions, although, surprisingly, there is no mention of the Araci and Fallon case, in which the Court of Appeal granted on 4 June, 2011, the actual day of the event, an injunction against the Champion Irish Jockey, Kieren Fallon, from riding in The Derby. The Book also covers – albeit briefly – EU freedom of movement rules and EU and National Competition rules.
Your reviewer would also have liked to have seen more coverage, instead of the ten lines and three brief footnotes, of the controversial subject of ‘ousting the jurisdiction of the courts’, which sports governing bodies are always seeking to do, perhaps citing, for example, the limits on the jurisdiction of FIFA in the FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players.
Likewise, the topic of Mediation is also dismissed in ten lines and three brief footnotes. Mediation is proving to be an increasingly important method of settling disputes of a sporting, as well as a commercial nature, and, as such, deserves more coverage, including a reference to Mediations by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). In fact, I would also have liked to see more on the CAS generally, which is proving, in many respects, to be what its founders intended, namely: ‘the supreme court of world sport’.
However, there is adequate coverage of the controversial Claudia Pechstein case in the German Courts and your reviewer would agree with the Authors’ conclusions on the implications of the case: “There is likely to be further pressure on sports governing bodies to demonstrate their arbitral procedures are fair and transparent and that those appointed to arbitrate disputes between athletes and governing bodies are properly independent of the parties.” However, there is inadequate editorial cross-referencing on the developments in the Pechstein case between what is stated on page 39 with that on page 136 of the Book!
The Book is completed with a workmanlike Index; Table of Cases; Statutes; and Statutory Instruments.
All in all, this is a welcome Book on a most important subject, which is likely to challenge the international sporting community and their administrators and legal advisers for many years to come!
Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw, International Sports Lawyer, Author, Academic and Member of the Court of Arbitration for Sport. He may be contacted by e-mail at ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’