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World Sports Advocate

Volume: 15 Issue: 12
(December 2017)


The European Commission issued its decision on 8 December 2017 following an investigation into the International Skating Union’s (‘ISU’) eligibility rules that impose ‘severe’ penalties on athletes participating in speed skating competitions not authorised by the ISU, finding that such restrictive penalties imposed on athletes breaches EU antitrust law. “This could prove to be the most significant legal development in Olympic sport in this decade,” said Jeff Benz, Arbitrator, Mediator and Attorney at 4 New Square Chambers. “It cuts to the heart of sport event sanctioning, possibly depriving International Federations of their long accepted exclusivity over conduct of events and participation by athletes. Though it is a decision of a European institution, if this stands, though the wording is at times very specific to the ISU situation, it undoubtedly will fundamentally affect sport governance around the world.” / read more

The International Olympic Committee (‘IOC’) announced on 5 December 2017 the suspension of the Russian Olympic Committee (‘ROC’) following the issuance of the Schmid IOC Disciplinary Commission Report, which sought to establish the facts relating to the allegations of state-sponsored doping during the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi detailed in the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Independent Person Report, preventing Russia from competing as a nation in the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games. According to the IOC’s decision individual Russian athletes will have the opportunity to be invited to participate in Pyeongchang 2018 under strict conditions. The IOC’s decision to suspend the ROC with immediate effect, and which will also see the ROC made to reimburse the costs incurred by the IOC in the investigation and to contribute to the establishment of the Independent Testing Authority to the sum of $15 million, “should draw a line under this damaging episode and serve as a catalyst for a more effective anti-doping system,” said IOC President Thomas Bach. / read more


An Independent Review into British Cycling jointly commissioned by UK Sport and British Cycling into the climate and culture of the World Class Programme and what potentially needed to change culturally within the organisation, published its final Report in June 2017, which made recommendations to address the failings identified in British Cycling’s governance, monitoring and supervision. Annamarie Phelps CBE, who Chaired the Independent Review, and John Mehrzad, Barrister at Littleton Chambers and Review Panel member, share their perspective on the formation and structure of the Independent Review, which has now become a blueprint for subsequent independent reviews in sport. / read more

To keep abreast of the ever-changing global transfer market in football, FIFA’s Transfer Matching System (‘TMS’) has been in constant development since it was implemented as a mandatory platform for player transfers by FIFA in October 2010. World Sports Advocate spoke to Kimberly Morris, Head of TMS Global Transfers & Compliance at FIFA, about the ongoing development of TMS, the new transfer regulations that have been implemented by FIFA in recent times and how TMS will continue to develop in the future. / read more

In November, BBC Radio 5 aired an investigation into ‘the child footballers trapped by eye watering transfer deadlocks and whose careers are held to ransom by some of the game’s biggest clubs.’ In this article, Dan Chapman, Partner and Head of Sport at Leathes Prior, who contributed to the BBC Radio 5 investigation, sets out the concerns relating to claims that youth football players are being barred from joining a new club due to the ‘compensation payments’ demanded by their old club under the Elite Player Performance Plan (known as the EPPP), considers the merits to a potential legal challenge to the EPPP system, and sets out possible alternatives for finding a fair balance between the interests of the club and the player. / read more

The new UK law introducing tax incentives for corporate spending on grassroots sport received Royal Assent on 16 November 20171. All companies supporting amateur sport should be able to claim corporation tax (‘CT’) relief for their qualifying expenditure from 1 April this year and should review their circumstances to see what cash benefits the new relief will deliver. Since many will be preparing accounts and CT returns for year ends since 1 April 2017 the new relief may provide an immediate tax saving, as Richard Baldwin MBE, a Sports Tax Consultant and Hon. Tax Adviser to the Sport & Recreation Alliance, explains. / read more

At the general meeting of athlete representatives in Cologne in October 2017 the establishment of ‘Athletes Germany’ was approved. This move, according to Amélie Ebert, Member of the Athlete’s Commission of the DOSB (the German Olympic Sports Confederation) and Founding Member of Athletes Germany e.V., marks a revolution in German sport: top athletes launching their own organisation to represent their interests. Here, Amélie explains the importance of Athletes Germany. / read more

Football is an industry which often attracts negative commentary. Discussions over the amounts paid in recent times for top players, and to their agents, has filled many newspaper columns, as have the often opaque funding structures and the increase in foreign ownership of clubs. FIFA, as the world football governing body, has also attracted much discussion and many column inches. It is to this backdrop that the first edition of the Edinburgh Sports Conference on ‘Integrity in Football’ took place. The main integrity issues within the industry, which were addressed at the Conference, can be summarised as: integrity in player transfers, governance of the game, match-fixing and integrity in football financing. Philippa Lombardi, Director at Lombardi Associates, the law firm that organised the Conference, builds on the discussions had at the Conference, providing a comprehensive overview of the integrity issues within football. / 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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