How to recover prize money from doping athletes: Lessons for event organisers from the Shobukhova case

Syringe on race track
Tuesday, 18 April 2017 By Zane Shihab, James Thorndyke, Thomas Gibby

The case of Liliya Shobukhova provides a timely reminder for sporting event organisers. Having the necessary contractual mechanisms in place gives the best opportunity to recover appearance fees, prize monies and other bonus payments, given to professional competitors should they need to be recovered in future.

This article discusses the high-profile case between London Marathon Events Limited (“LMEL”) and Ms Shobukhova and explores ways to ease the challenges faced by rights holders when chasing athletes for recovery of monies post event.

Specifically, it looks at:

  • The Shobukhova case and legal proceedings

  • Contract formation

  • Must a form be physically signed for the rules to be incorporated?

  • Using contracts to protect rights-holders’ interests

  • Cheats are not welcome here” – Banning cheats

  • Reclaiming consequential losses

  • Other remedies

  • Staggered payments and/or shared liability?

  • Concluding thoughts 

Please note that Kerman & Co LLP acted for LMEL[1].

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Written by

Zane Shihab

Zane Shihab

Zane is an Associate Partner in the Sports Department and provides commercial advice to global brands, international sporting bodies and events and high-profile individuals.

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James Thorndyke

James Thorndyke

James is a dispute resolution solicitor with particular expertise in resolving sports disputes. He represents sports individuals and governing bodies and has extensive experience in resolving contractual disputes in a variety of sports including motorsport, football, athletics, cricket and rugby union.

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Thomas Gibby

Thomas Gibby

Thomas is a Solicitor in Kerman & Co’s sports team. Thomas is predominantly a commercial contracts lawyer who advises the team’s biggest sporting clients and major event organisers on a range of their commercial issues, including working in-house at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. His experience includes advising on data and consumer protection, IT/software development and procurement contracts.

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