ISLJ Annual International Sports Law Conference

The Asser International Sports Law Centre &  the ISLJ Editorial Board are looking forward to welcoming you at the first ISLJ Annual International Sports Law Conference on the 26-27 October 2017 in The Hague. This year’s edition will feature panels on the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the world anti-doping system, the FIFA transfer regulations, human rights and sports, the labour rights of athletes, and EU law and sport. We will also welcome the following distinguished keynote speakers:

  • Miguel Maduro, former Advocate General at the Court of Justice of the EU and former head of FIFA’s Governance Committee

  • Michael Beloff QC, English barrister known as one of the ‘Godfathers’ of sports law

  • Stephen Weatherill, Professor at Oxford University and a scholarly authority on EU law and sport

  • Richard McLaren, CAS arbitrator, sports law scholar and former head of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) investigation into the Russian doping scandal



Day 1

9:00 Registration and coffee

9:30 Opening - Antoine Duval (Asser Institute) & Johan Lindholm (Umea University)

10:00 Opening Keynote - Miguel Maduro (European University Institute) - FIFA’s Governance Reforms

11:00 - 12:30 Panel 1: The FIFA Transfer System (Chair: Antoine Duval)

  • J. Laskowski (Legia Warszawa S.A.) - Why we need a different approach towards solidarity in football

  • E. Drywood (University of Liverpool) - Children’s rights and FIFA’s ban on the international transfer of minors

  • W. McAuliffe (Lévy Kaufmann-Kohler) – Buy-out clauses and the club’s consent to transfer under the FIFA RSTP

12:30 - 13:30 Lunch

13:30 - 15:00 Panel 2: Labour Rights and Relations in Sports (Chair: Richard Parrish)

  • J. Withaar (Tilburg University) - Employment contracts in professional sports: the rules of the game

  • M. Graham (Centre for Sports Law Research) - An international sports law workplace? Comparative lessons and future prospects           

  • A. Cattaneo (Birkbeck University) - How Sectoral Social Dialogue will save UEFA’s regulatory power

Coffee Break

15:15 - 16:45 Panel 3: Protecting Human Rights in Sports (Chair: Mark James)

  • T. Grell (Asser Institute)Human rights clauses in the Host City Contract: A turning point in history of the Olympic Games or just another empty promise?

  • D. Heerdt (Tilburg University - About the Implications of Including Human Rights Clauses in Mega Sporting Events’ Bidding and Hosting Agreements

  • B. Schwab (World Players Association, UNI Global Union) - Embedding the human rights of players in world sport

Coffee Break

17:00 - 18:00 Keynote Discussion with the room - Michael Beloff QC

19:00 Conference Dinner 


Day 2

9:30 - 10:30 Keynote Academic Lecture - Stephen Weatherill (Oxford University)

Coffee Break

11:00 - 12:30 Panel 4: The EU and sports (Chair: Ben Van Rompuy)

  • S. Marassi (The Hague University of Applied Sciences) - Who drives Article 165 TFEU? Stock taking of nearly a decade of initiatives by European institutions in sporting Issues

  • A. Flanagan (TLT LLP) - The Corridor of Uncertainty: Why Attempts to Regulate the Financial Aspects of Football are met with EU legal Challenges

  • S Gomtsian & B. Hock (University of Leeds & Tilburg University) - Civil Society Reversed: Nudging Transnational Private Orders through EU law

12:30 - 13:30 Lunch

13:30 - 15:00 Panel 5: Arbitration in sports (Chair: Despina Mavromati)

  • H. Jacobs & L. Brandon (Howard L. Jacobs Law Office) - The Uniform Plan: A cost-benefit analysis of a proposed CAS first instance tribunal to hear all anti-doping cases

  • L. Černič (Graduate School of Government and European Studies) - The Rule of Law or the Rule by Law before the Court of Arbitration for Sports

  • K. Ogawa (Rikkyo University) - Good Governance through Japan Sports Arbitration Agency

Coffee Break

15:15 - 16:45 Panel 6: The operation of the world anti-doping system (Chair: Johan Lindholm)

  • K. Erickson (Leeds Beckett University) - Blowing the whistle on doping in sport    

  • J. Exner (Czech Olympic Committee) - Anti-doping and athletes’ rights: Four-year period of ineligibility as disproportionate sanction?

  • L. Reilley (Barrister, The Bar of Ireland) - A review of jurisprudence dealing with intentional rule violations under the WADA Code 2015

Coffee break

17:00 - 18:00 Closing Keynote - Richard McLaren (Western University, Canada)

18:00 Reception



Keynote Speakers

Miguel Maduro is professor and director of the Global Governance Programme at the European University Institute. He was the head of FIFA’s Governance Committee from May 2016 until his removal in May 2017.

Michael Beloff QC is a barrister and CAS arbitrator. He has been an arbitrator at the Olympic Games (Atlanta) 1996, (Sydney) 2000, (Athens) 2004 and Beijing (2008), and at the Commonwealth Games (Kuala Lumpur) 1998, (Manchester) 2002, (Melbourne) 2006. He is also known as one of the ‘godfathers’ of sports law.

Stephen Weatherill is professor of European Law at Oxford University. He is an authority on European Sports Law. T.M.C. Asser Press published his collected volume on European Sports Law in 2014.

Richard McLaren is a professor in the Faculty of Law at the Western University, Canada. He is a well-known CAS arbitrator, sports law scholar and the former head of WADA’s investigation into the Russian doping scandal.

Panel Speakers

Panel 1

Jakub Laskowski is currently the proxy of the Management Board of Legia Warszawa S.A. for legal issues & business projects. He holds a PhD from the University of Warsaw, with a thesis on the “Legal aspects of transfer of a football player”.

Eleanor Drywood is senior lecturer at the University of Liverpool, where she currently focuses on the application of a children's rights perspective to sports law. She is the recipient of a Leverhulme Trust Fellowship for a project critically appraising the legal framework which responds to the trafficking of child footballers from Africa to Europe.

William McAuliffe is an Irish-qualified lawyer specialising in international sports arbitration and international sports law at the Swiss law firm Lévy Kaufmann-Kohler. He has acted as counsel before the CAS and the Basketball Arbitral Tribunal (BAT).

Panel 2

Jack Withaar is an independent lawyer specialised in labour law, social security law and tort law, Tilburg (NL). He is also a lecturer in labour law, social security law and collective labour law at Avans University of Applied Sciences, Den Bosch (the Netherlands) and a PhD researcher at Tilburg University. 

Matthew Graham is an Amsterdam based, Australian sports law consultant.  Holding a Master's of International Labour Law he focuses on industrial relations and regulatory issues in sport and has recently been engaged by the Centre for Sports Law Research, the University of Amsterdam, and a boutique sports law firm where he focuses on litigation and dispute resolution.

Andrea Cattaneo is an associate lecturer at Birkbeck University of London. He holds a PhD entitled “The Application of EU Competition Law to Sport” from Edge Hill University.

Panel 3

Tomas Grell is a junior researcher at the Asser International Sports Law Centre and is enrolled in a postgraduate law programme (Juris Doctor upon successful completion) at the Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic. His thesis is entitled "Sports law and economic competition".

Daniela Heerdt is a PhD candidate at Tilburg University. Her research is focused on the impact of mega sporting events on human rights.

Brendan Schwab is the executive director of the World Players Association at UNI Global Union. He is an Australian labour lawyer with over 20 years of experience in the collective representation of professional athletes at the elite level. He previously served as a vice-president of FIFPro.

Panel 4

Stefania Marassi is lecturer in labour law and EU sports law at The Hague University of Applied Sciences.

Christopher Flanagan is a private practice lawyer in Bristol, England. His sports law research interest focuses on the nexus of finance and sport. 

Suren Gomtsian is lecturer in business law at University of Leeds and holds a PhD from Tilburg University. Branislav Hock is a junior member of the Tilburg Law and Economics Center (TILEC). He holds a PhD from the Tilburg University.

Panel 5

Lindsay Brandon is an associate at the Law Offices of Howard L. Jacobs in Westlake Village, California, where she specialises in sports law and the representation of athletes in disciplinary matters. She has worked on several cases involving professional athletes, Olympic athletes and amateur athletes in disputes involving doping and team selection issues. Howard Jacobs is a sports lawyer focusing on the representation of athletes in all types of disputes, with a particular focus on the defence of athletes charged with doping offenses, but also endorsements, unauthorized use of name and likeness, salary and team selection issues.

Jernej Letnar Černič is associate professor of human rights law at the Graduate School of Government and European Studies and senior research fellow at the University Institute of European Studies – IUSE (Turin, Italy). He holds a PhD in human rights law from University of Aberdeen. He also serves on the management board of the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency.

Kazushige Ogawa is associate professor at Rikkyo University of Tokyo. He is also an expert at the Japan Sport Arbitration Agency.

Panel 6

Kelsey Erickson (PhD) is a Research Fellow in the Institute for Sport, Physical Activity and Leisure (ISPAL) at Leeds Beckett University (UK). Her expertise is in the psychology of drugs in sport and she is particularly interested in developing an understanding of the psychosocial factors that influence performance enhancing drug use. Her research to date has been supported by the International Athletics Foundation, the International Olympic Committee, and the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Jan Exner is a legal adviser for the Czech Olympic Committee and a J. D. candidate at the Faculty of Law of the Charles University. He is also the Chairman of the Ethics Commission and a member of the Doping Review Panel at the International Orienteering Federation.

Louise Reilly is a barrister who specialises in sports law and international arbitration, acting as both counsel and arbitrator. She is an adjunct professor at UCD Sutherland School of Law in Dublin and a visiting professor at Western Law School in Canada.


Registration Packages

Early Bird (available to LawInSport plus members till 15 October)



• Latest issue of the ISLJ
• A copy of 'The Legacy of Bosman: Revisiting the Relationship Between EU Law and Sport'
• Lunch and refreshments during the two days
• Final reception

Normal fee 



• Latest issue of the ISLJ
• A copy of 'The Legacy of Bosman: Revisiting the Relationship Between EU Law and Sport'
• Lunch and refreshments during the day
• Final reception

Student fee


• Latest issue of the ISLJ
• Lunch and refreshments during the two days
• Final reception

Dinner add-on (50€)

If you wish to participate to the dinner with the speakers on Thursday 26 October you will have to pay an additional 50€.

To register, please see here

The following registration information and conditions apply to your registration.



Asser International Sports Law Centre

The Asser International Sports Law Centre (AISLC) located at the Asser Institute for European and International Law in The Hague will be hosting this first edition of the conference. The centre, existing since 2002, is headed by Senior Researcher Antoine Duval and is one of the few academic research centres specialised on international sports law. AISLC provides daily coverage of international sports law matters via its twitter feed and regular in-depth analyses on its blog. Additionally, T.MC. Asser Press is home to the renowned and unique International Sports Law Book Series, as well as to the International Sports Law Journal.

ISLJ Editorial Board

The conference is organised in academic partnership with the editorial board of the International Sports Law Journal, headed by Johan Lindholm professor at Umeå University in Sweden. The International Sports Law Journal exists since the early 2000s and is the leading academic publication on international sports law. The editorial board of the journal includes:

  • Antoine Duval, Asser International Sports Law Centre, The Netherlands
  • Borja García, Loughborough University, United Kingdom
  • Mark James, Manchester Metropolitan University, United Kingdom
  • Dionne Koller, University of Baltimore Law School, USA
  • Despina Mavromati, University of Lausanne, Switzerland
  • Richard Parrish, Edge Hill University, United Kingdom
  • Ryan Rodenberg, Florida State University, USA
  • Ben Van Rompuy, Leiden University, The Netherlands



In case you need accommodation in The Hague when attending the ISLJ Annual International Sports Law Conference at the T.M.C. Asser Instituut, we have negotiated special deals with different hotels located conveniently close to the venue of the conference, with prices ranging from €70 to 120 per night. For further details, see here.


Directions to the Asser Institute

You can find directions to the Asser Institute here.  

Event Properties

Event Date 26-10-2017
Event End Date 27-10-2017
Location T.M.C. Asser Instituut


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