Although in my sports legal career to-date I have focussed primarily on match-fixing, I also research and lecture on sports integrity and anti-corruption more widely. Therefore I could not sit on my hands when the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (‘CONCACAF’) Integrity Committee’s ‘Report of Investigation’ (‘Report’) (the executive summary and full report of which can be found here) was presented to the CONCACAF Congress on Friday 19 April 2013 and felt a blog coming on...
Earlier this year on Tuesday 29 January, 5 days before Super Bowl XLVII, Sports Illustrated (‘SI’) (the esteemed sports magazine in the United States) ran a story that gave All-Pro future Hall of Famer and NFL legend Ray Lewis a further distraction in the already manic lead up to the biggest single sports show on Earth, which was also to be his final game. SI claimed that Lewis had obtained deer antler spray from controversial supplement company Sports with Alternatives to Steroids (‘SWATS’) and used it to aid his comeback from a torn tricep injury earlier in the season. What of it you may ask?
Two incidents of foul play in football this month have had the English football fraternity, and further afield, in feverish debate. I have made known my (hopefully) balanced views on social media as both a supporter and football match official. Yet I continue to be agitated (to say the least) by the continued misunderstanding of the Laws of the Game, particularly the notion of intent. So my sports law blog this week seeks to provide some insight and inform the debate.
The summer of 2012 saw women's sport take centre stage at the London Olympic and Paralympic Games with many female athletes and events being the most celebrated. Women's sport also saw another significant milestone in the month of August with the admission of the first two female members at the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia, former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and South Carolina financier Darla Moore.
It has always seemed to me that doping is viewed as far more heinous than match-fixing by stakeholders in sport, these being the two principal integrity offences in sport. Yet if you look at the general trend for the sanctions metered out for the two, especially for first time offenders, those for match-fixing are far more severe. Is this fair? Does it strike a consistent balance between punishing offenders and the belief that they can redeem themselves through rehabilitation and return to their sport?
Since October last year football worldwide has been beset by moral and legal problems: be they match-fixing, racism or violence. Football has always been my first love in terms of sports (and life some ex-girlfriends would say) but this season I have never been less passionate about the game or worried about its future.
Before the London 2012 Paralympic Games ('the Games') began this summer I attended a talk by Michael Beloff QC, a leading sports law practitioner and prominent Court of Arbitration for Sport ('CAS') arbitrator, titled 'CAS and the Olympics 2012'. At the end of his review of the cases before the CAS ad hoc Division ('AHD') at the Olympics a question was asked, "Is there going to be an AHD at the Paralympics?" He replied that there wouldn't be because the International Paralympic Committee ('IPC') had not asked for one.
With the 39th Ryder Cup matches almost upon us, and being a keen golfer myself, I thought it was appropriate to look at what has been described as a "complex and emotive issue" in the golfing world dividing opinion, the long putter. To prove that we are a broad and diverse church here at LawInSport at the heart of this post will be the hallowed Rules of Golf ('ROG') as a 'law in sport', which is jointly administered by the two principal governing bodies in golf the Royal & Ancient ('R&A') and the United States Golf Association ('USGA').
With the start of the London 2012 Paralympic Games less than a week away I came across a disconcerting phenomenon I had never previously been aware of: "boosting". "Boosting" involves intentionally raising one's blood pressure to stimulate the body's energy and endurance, allowing those Paralympians who practice it to artificially enhance their levels of performance. In a survey completed in 2009, funded partly by the International Paralympic Committee ('IPC') and partly by the World Anti-Doping Agency ('WADA'), it was found that nearly a fifth of the 99 Paralympic athletes surveyed had "boosted", which I am sure you would agree is a worrying proportion. Indeed the real figure is thought to be closer to a third.
Chapter 5-III of the Olympic Charter , which is "the codification of the Fundamental Principles of Olympism, Rules and Bye-Laws adopted by the International Olympic Committee ('IOC') [which] governs the organisation, action and operation of the Olympic movement", splits the 'Olympic Programme' into (Rule 45.2):
• Sports – those sports governed by International Federations ('IFs');
• Disciplines – a branch of sport comprising one or several events; and
• Events – are competitions in a sport or one of its disciplines, that result in a ranking and giving rise to the award of medals and diplomas.
Being 25 years old and yet to have my driving licence people have always been surprised by my interest in motor sports. Of the five major world championships sanctioned by the governing body for world motor sport the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (‘FIA’) (Formula One, Rally, Touring Cars, GT1 and Endurance) my favourite has always been the World Rally Championship (‘WRC’) as it is the ultimate test of man and machine against the elements. Although it doesn’t lend itself particularly to spectators, sponsors or television, as it is a race against the clock often in remote locations over three or four days, when I first became interested in the series in the mid-1990s it was hugely popular in the UK and around the world. With drivers like Juha Kankkunen, Carlos Sainz, Tommi Makkinen and the late, great Colin McRae and classic rally cars such as the Lancia Delta Integrale, Toyota Celica, Subaru Impreza and Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, looking back it can be said this was the golden era for the sport. 15 years or so on and the WRC is a shadow of its former self having been beset by one commercial and legal setback after another.
Increasing intervention by competition regulators and courts around the world in the sports industry means there is little doubt that competition law has a significant role to play in shaping sport policy and the sporting legal landscape in the future. Nowhere has this been felt more keenly than in Spain with football broadcasting rights.