Friday, May 29, 2009

Sports Law Weekly Round Up: 29 May

 Other than reading and analysing the Matuzalem case, one of the most interesting articles I came across this week turned out to be a non-story. The South African Law Reform Commission (SALRC) confirmed that South Africa’s consideration of legalising prostitution to prevent people trafficking and under-age coercion was not in response to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, as media reports had suggested.

“The release of the Discussion Paper on Sexual Offences: Adult Prostitution is not in response to the 2010 World Cup”, said Dellene Clark, Principal State Law Advisor for the SALRC. “However, being released at this time, it is a matter of discussion. No legislative proposals are contained in the Discussion Paper, as we need to embark on a public consultation exercise to discuss the various possible models available.”

These are: total criminalisation of prostitution (status quo); partial criminalisation; Non-criminalisation; and regulation. A report on adult prostitution will follow containing legislative proposals which once approved by SALRC, will be handed to the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Development, Jeffrey Thamsanqa Radebe. SALRC is accepting comments on the four proposals until 30 June 2009.

However, there is media concern that the World Cup could fuel demand, which probably prompted news articles on this subject in the first place. ‘Demand for sexual services can be linked to sex tourism, a growing industry where individuals seek commercial sex as part of the travel experience’, read the Discussion Paper (0001/2009), released by SALRC on 6 May. ‘The upcoming FIFA World Cup in 2010 has reportedly sparked specific concerns around both internal and cross-border trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation’.

Despite media hysteria on this subject – which perhaps says something about the industry that I work in – there is scant evidence that sporting events fuel a rise in people trafficking due to prostitution. A report adopted by the European Parliament on 17 January 2006 urged Germany to prevent trafficking of women and forced prostitution ahead of the 2006 FIFA World Cup. However, the Council of the European Union reported (5006/1/07) that of 33 cases involving human trafficking for sexual exploitation reported to the Federal Criminal Police Office during the tournament, only five involved a link to the tournament.

The Matuzalem ruling continues to cause rumbles in the world of football. One aspect that has not been fully explored is how the ruling will impact buy-out clauses in player contracts. The Court of Arbitration for Sport rejected FC Shakhtar Donetsk’s claim that it was due €25 million due to a clause that bound the club into releasing the player should an offer be received for €25 million as not being a buy-out clause, however the CAS did not fully explore the legitimacy of buy-out clauses.

In reporting on the ruling, one of the aspects I could not cover – unfortunately – was the extravagant terms of Matuzalem’s contract with FC Shakhtar. As well as agreeing to pay the Brazilian €96,925 per month, the club also provided him with a car ‘with an estimated cost from $23,000 to $26,000, bear all charges on service and maintenance’, a ‘habitation (two bedroom flat)’ and to ‘compensate the player the cost of the apartment rent in Donetsk by adding monthly €1,533’ to his salary. Those are expenses which a UK MP could envy.

In other news;

• All Formula One teams submitted entries to take part in the 2010 Formula One championship, reports AFP, presumably ending complaints over the £40 million budget cap.

• West Ham United have been hit with a six-figure demand from an agency claiming to have arranged the Premier League club’s sponsorship agreement with SBOBET, reports The Guardian.

If you would like to discuss any of these issues further, then please get in contact by clicking on my name below. The next edition of World Sports Law Report will be up on our internet site next week, and we are always looking for new authors and topics.

Andy Brown


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