Sports law

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Sports law in the United States overlaps substantially with labor law, contract law, competition or antitrust law, and tort law. Issues like defamation and privacy rights are also integral aspects of sports law. This area of law was established as a separate and important entity only a few decades ago, coinciding with the rise of player-agents and increased media scrutiny of sports law topics.

Sports law is an amalgam of laws that apply to athletes and the sports they play. It is not a single legal topic with generally applicable principles. Sports law touches on a variety of matters, including contract, tort, agency, antitrust, constitutional, labor, trademark, Sex Discrimination, criminal, and tax issues. Some laws depend on the status of the athlete, some laws differ according to the sport, and some laws vary for other reasons.

Sports Law in United States:

Sports law in the United States overlaps substantially with labor law, contract law, competition or antitrust law, and tort law. Issues like defamation and privacy rights are also integral aspects of sports law. This area of law was established as a separate and important entity only a few decades ago, coinciding with the rise of player-agents and increased media scrutiny of sports law topics.

Sports Law in India:

The area of sports law is relatively new in our country. Sports law is based on how the law in general interacts with the sports activity. Different from theoretical laws, it is a pure law. Sports law is not only an applied law in the field of sports but also a blend of laws in a number of jurisdictions.

In India, national as well as provincial sports bodies, clubs, associations or societies are generally set up under the law of societies. These national sports bodies field the national team on behalf of the country for participation in international competitions. These bodies also grant telecasting and broadcasting rights to the successful bidder for heavy sums and also receive revenues from advertisement in sports events.

key policies for sports bodies including code of conducts, policies for discipline, selection, harassment, conflict of interests, recruitment and awards, etc.

Sports Injuries with regard to the Issues of Liability

This comprises potential liabilities, claim and compensation, risk assessment and insurance provisions.

Contracts In Sports

Sports Law is also governed by the Law of Contracts wherein employee contract agreements must ensure that all contractual agreement accrues matters of intellectual property and other requisites between employee and employer.

Harassment in Sports

This includes review of the laws and policies for: the harassment of fair sex in sports; means and methods for equality rights for fair sex, girl child and female participants of sports; internal investigations and inquiries on the harassment in sports; and humanitarian and constitutional laws for prevention of racial and gender harassment.

Labour Issues

Players and owners have to negotiate mandatory issues relating to hours, wages and working conditions. The agents entrusted to conduct business on the players’ behalf should be working as per well laid out norms that serve the best interests of the game. Drug Use The problem of performance enhancing drugs is a major problem in the sports sector. Drug testing, list of banned drugs, penalties, privacy issues and right to appeal are to be clearly stated by the nodal agency concerned.

Tort Laws

Tort Laws were once not a part of the landscape of sports laws. But intentional tort pointing to a criminal act of assault may be penalized. Similarly, right to publicity covers the defamation aspect under Tort law for sports persons having reputation at any level (local/ regional, national, global etc.).

match fixing and related criminal laws.

Sports litigation

“ as per Quinn Emanuel “

Quinn Emanuel has emerged in the last few years as the preeminent law firm providing litigation and investigation services to the sports industry. Our white collar and investigation practice has received multiple international rankings in the last several years for our high-visibility representation of FIFA in the ongoing U.S. criminal prosecutions. Already in 2018, Sports Illustrated has described our preemptive internal investigation for the Carolina Panthers into whether team owner Jerry Richardson engaged in workplace misconduct, as a “brilliant stroke of crisis management.”

Law of Tort And Sports Litigation in India

Many sports pose serious dangers to participants. Generally, a person who suffers a sports related injury may recover for medical expenses and other losses if the injury was caused by the negligence of another party. Injuries and damages resulting from intentional torts, such as battery or assault, likewise are recoverable. Athletes may recover for injuries resulting from another party’s negligence or intentional acts. In both professional and amateur contact sports, athletes consent to some physical contact, but courts do not find that participants consent to contact that goes outside the bounds of the game.


Defendants in sports-related personal injury suits may possess any number of defenses. One of the most successful of these defenses is that the party assumed the risk of being injured by playing in or watching the sporting event. Defendants also may argue that the plaintiff was negligent and therefore should recover only a portion of his damages or nothing at all. For example, a plaintiff may have ignored warnings or signed a document that waived the defendant’s liability for any injury suffered by the plaintiff. Finally, public institutions may argue that they are immune from suit under the doctrine of SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY, a judicial doctrine that prohibits suits against government entities unless such suits have been explicitly authorized by the government. Legislators have made many public institutions open to lawsuits, and in cases in which a public institution still enjoys IMMUNITY, courts often find ways to circumvent immunity and attach liability. The arena for sports disputes - arbitration vs litigation:

Arbitration and sport have long been viewed as an ideal doubles pairing. Sports disputes commonly possess many of the characteristics which favour resolution through arbitration rather than litigation. They may be of a highly technical character, best resolved by experts with a deep knowledge and understanding of the industry and its practices. They may be very sensitive, and best resolved through proceedings which offer confidentiality. They may also be time-pressured, and arbitration may offer the best prospect of customizing procedures to resolve the dispute as efficiently as possible. Finally, they may have a cross-border dimension which renders them unsuitable for resolution by national judicial institutions strictly applying national law.

Case Studies:

Caldwell v Maguire

The claimant and defendants were all professional jockeys. During a race the defendants’ riding caused the serious injury of the claimant. The claimant raised an action for damages. The claimant’s case was dismissed. It was held that horse racing is a competitive sport and that the risk of injury is high. Therefore, it was not possible to consider the defendant’s momentary lapse of judgement as negligence because the opportunity for injury was abundant and the choices available to jockeys to avoid or reduce risk were limited. In such circumstances, it was not possible to characterize momentary carelessness as negligence.

Bolton v. Stone

The plaintiff was standing on a highway near a cricket ground. A batsman hit a ball, which went over a fence seven feet high and seventeen feet above the cricket pitch and struck the plaintiff at a distance of 100 yards from there. The ground was being used for about ninety years and no such injuries had occurred earlier. The House of Lords considered that the likelihood of injury to persons on the road was so slight that the cricket club was held not to be negligent in this case.

Reference

http://www.legalservicesindia.com/article/746/Law-of-Tort-And-Sports-Litigation.html


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