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Covid-19: the challenges and opportunities facing Spain’s sports industry

Football fans
Thursday, 21 May 2020 By Ricardo Oliveras

Covid-19 is having an enormous social and economic impact and the global sports industry is not immune. Regardless of the sport, the country or the magnitude of the competition, the last two months have seen a continuous trickle of temporary postponements or complete cancellations of leagues, competitions and other events.

This leaves a great number of questions to tackle: in what state exactly has the pandemic left the sports industry in Spain? What are the legal questions that flow from this? What legal instruments does Spain have to help mitigate the situation? What is the legal position of key stakeholders, particularly sponsors and broadcasters? And are there opportunities to be had? In summary, what legal challenges does Covid-19 present for the Spanish sports industry and how do we best deal them?

This article homes in on five particular points that the author believes are particularly relevant to the short and medium term future of the sports industry due to their economic significance.  They are:

  1. What is the status of employment contracts for professional team athletes?
  2. How are sports sponsorships affected and what should clubs/sponsors do?
  3. How should broadcasting rights be approached?
  4. Will the situation present opportunities to invest in the sports industry?
  5. What does this period of confinement mean for esports?

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Written by

Ricardo Oliveras

Ricardo Oliveras

Head of Sports Law and Corporate partner, ECIJA

Head of Sports Law and Corporate partner at ECIJA. Attorney with extensive experience in business and sports law, began his career at KPMG Abogados in 1997. In the sports industry, Ricardo has been a corporate lawyer for organizers of international sporting events (America’s Cup Management -2004 to 2007 – Superleague Formula Motorsport Series -2008 to 2011 -) and has worked as a consultant on legal matters related to sports federations and national and international sports associations, right-holders/ promoters of sporting events, clubs, agencies/ agents and professional athletes in general companies and professionals operating in the field of sport, allowing him to have a broad knowledge on the operation of the sports industry in all its aspects. Among his recent collaborations, we highlight the advice to FIFA as legal counsel in Spain in the selection process of the host country to host the World Cup 2018.

In the commercial field, Ricardo advises numerous national and international companies in the field of commercial contracts and corporate law, as well as several technology start-ups, occupying the position of director or secretary in several of their clients. PDG (general management program) from IESE business school. Master in Business Law from the ISDE (Institute of Law and Economics). Lecturer on the "LLM in International Sport" ISDE. Member of the Spanish Association of Sports Law.

Ricardo speaks Spanish, Catalan and English.

Recognized by the prestigious international ranking Best Lawyers amongst the best Sports law lawyers in the Spanish market.

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