BASL September update: sporting integrity revisited

Published 30 September 2013

The autumn is traditionally a very busy time for all at BASL. October 2013 sees the start of the London based BASL/Leicester De Montfort Law School Post Graduate Certificate in Sports Law and Practice and the hosting of annual conference at the Emirates Stadium.  

The BASL Post Graduate course is designed with the needs in mind of practising lawyers or law graduates/trainees with an interest in developing a career in sports law. The interaction with sports industry professionals and representatives of sports governing bodies creates an engaging learning environment. Alistair Maclean, Company Secretary/Group Legal Director at The Football Association explains the benefits of this:

"I encourage members of my team to attend this course which is packed with experienced industry speakers who bring a broad range of legal topics to life with engaging, practical examples of the law in action in their sports."

Amongst the topics that will be considered this year is the vexed question of match-fixing and how best to combat this and other challenges to that so precious commodity: sporting integrity. This week has seen the notification of the penalties to be handed down in the WPBSA v Stephen Lee case by sporting arbitrator and BASL member Adam Lewis QC of Blackstone Chambers. Adam will be presenting one of the early lectures on the BASL DMU course accompanied by sports solicitor Alastair Cotton of Farrer & Co on 10 October. Their subject is "The Limits of Sports Governing Body Regulation".

The topic of Match fixing features again on 23 January in a session focusing on the governing body regulatory perspective presented by Adam Brickell of the British Horseracing Authority. Also, on 6th February we have a double headed session on the Football Financial Fair Play Regime presented by Nick Craig of the Football League and Jane Purdon of the Premier League.

I am very much looking forward to this session and for the opportunity to pose some questions to the footballing regulators about FFP. For instance whilst I am sure most fans fully appreciate the vulnerability of football clubs, rightly regarded in my view as community assets, to the potential for profligate spending by business owners with a very short term perspective. Some of the issues I have been considering include:

  • The possible application of the law of unintended consequences with FFP acting simply to preserve the "status quo" in which historically well managed, prudent and "deserving " clubs and the perhaps "undeserving" former profligate spenders are treated alike?
  • Is it case of drawing a line in the sand and preventing clubs repeating the excesses of (others in) previous years whilst those clubs that did the very same thing to get where they are now (and whether by luck or judgement in so doing survived) can be comforted that no new pretenders can follow their route to the top?
  • The challenges of creative financial modelling. Much has been written concerning the Manchester City Etihad stadium sponsorship deal.
  • Does FFP when coupled with the increased Premier League parachute payments impact on realistic prospects for promotion/relegation? Have we unwittingly moved from our traditional European model of open league structures into something more akin, in practical terms, to a US major sport closed league model?

The topic of FFP also features in the 21st BASL annual conference on Thursday 17 October, very much highlight of the BASL calendar. See on this site [link] for the event programme and booking details for what promises to be one of the most eagerly awaited sports law conferences in years.

Finally, to finish off the BASL year of events 1 November see the fourth annual BASL DMU Mini conference in Leicester "Contemporary Issues in Sports Law & Practice". For the event programme and booking details see [link].

And for more details about the BASL DMU course contact me on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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