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Force Majeure: How The Obligation To Use ‘Reasonable Endeavours’ Affects The Sports Sector

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Thursday, 05 May 2022 By Sohail Ali

In the wake of the Ukraine crisis and the resulting sanctions imposed on Russia, the sports sector has been particularly affected with a number of sports organisations and bodies deciding to sever ties with Russia and/or Russian individuals and entities.

This season’s Champions League final has been switched from St Petersburg to Paris, Formula 1 has left out the Russian Grand Prix from its upcoming race schedule and Chelsea Football Club have been told it cannot be “business as usual” following sanctions against Roman Abramovich. All of this means that force majeure clauses have once taken centre stage in contracts in the sports sector.

A key practical issue that is arising increasingly frequently is the extent to which parties must seek to find alternatives to comply with their contractual obligations and/or to mitigate their losses. This is particularly relevant where parties have often purchased tickets in advance and/or there are significant sponsorship or broadcasting deals in play.

In the recent decision MUR Shipping BV v RTI Ltd1, the English Commercial Court has provided welcome guidance that a requirement to use reasonable endeavours in a force majeure clause does not require an affected party to accept non-contractual performance. 

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Sohail Ali

Sohail Ali

Sohail Ali is a litigation and arbitration lawyer who advises on high value, premium banking and corporate disputes. He has particular expertise in advising on complex structured products and capital markets disputes, cross-border fraud and asset tracing and M&A disputes. Sohail also leads the firm's global Islamic Finance disputes practice.

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