Why is sports law so complex? Well there is a lot involved in sports nowadays, sports is not just guys behind a ball trying to bring glory to a club or a nation but they are also as my professor explained once: ” sports is a millionaire person behind a ball with a sponsor corporation watching his every move to take care of its investment”. I am not saying that sports is long gone, but as more elements are inside the pitch more complicated it gets.
The basic example when law gets involved in sport is of course when a dispute arises, let’s say case 2005/2006 Uruguay Peñarol vs Paris St.Germain, in Uruguay a player could be unilaterally renew at the end of its contract if the play receives a 15% raise.
Carlos Bueno and Cristian Rodriguez wanted to go and play at PSG but the club unilaterally extended their contracts, subsequently they went to the Court of Arbitration for Sports and it was decided that FIFA regulations should prevail over the national law considerations when it comes to unilateral extension, this case was considered the Latin American Bossman.
So we have 3 different jurisdiction to apply ( Uruguay for Penarol and the players, French law for club PSG and Swiss law for FIFA and CAS)
To understand better here is the law hierarchy pyramid in football (it is almost the same in every sport):
- Confederations (CONCACAF, COMEBOL,UEFA,CAF,ACF)
- National federations(English football federation, Italian football federation, among others)
- Clubs (Chelsea FC, Juventus)
After all the steps for a claim are fulfilled (ex.national federations and then FIFA), the player is allowed to take his claim in front of the Court of Arbitration for Sports(CAS/TAS), after the CAS he can challenge the decision in the Swiss Court for reasons that we will see further on.
Written by Roberto Rizzo