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Nikolay Bodurov vs Esteghlal: FIFA DRC considers ‘force majeure’ effect of COVID-19

Following the near global suspension of football activity, many clubs were put in the unfortunate position of being unable to satisfy their existing contractual obligations as significant revenue streams from gate receipts, sponsorship and broadcast were all severely impacted. FIFA has recently published a decision which concerns the extent to which the global pandemic has … Continue Reading

Messi scores goal in trade mark dispute: registering celebrity names as trade marks

The Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) has ruled that, after a decade-long legal battle, football ace Lionel Messi has the right to register his name as a trade mark. This interesting case confirms that celebrity names are registrable as trade marks. However, whilst there are some advantages to seeking such protection, there … Continue Reading

Gambling sponsorship and advertising shakeup in Spanish football

The Spanish Government has published a proposal for measures which, if passed, will restrict gambling advertising in Spanish football. One of the proposed measures is the ban of gambling sponsors on football shirts. Although the measures are designed to protect consumers, they could have significant financial implications for Spain’s top clubs. It is worth noting … Continue Reading

Intermediaries and contractual certainty – lessons from Winlink Marketing Limited v The Liverpool Football Club and Athletics Grounds Limited

It’s no secret that gambling has become a huge part of football. With over £349 million in kit sponsorship being paid to Premier League football clubs in the 2019/20 season alone, it is clear that betting companies and the gambling sector as a whole make a significant contribution to the ongoing financial sustainability of professional … Continue Reading

Preparing the Pitch – England’s Return to Grassroots Football

On July 18, the English Football Association (the “FA”) announced plans for a ‘phased return’ to the pitch. For our American readers, the FA (formed in 1863) is the oldest football association in the world. It is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the amateur and professional game in its territory, which includes England and … Continue Reading

FIFA announces changes to the transfer window

Sports Shorts previously commented on the FIFA guidelines that were recently published to address some of the practical issues that arose as a consequence of the COVID-19 crisis. FIFA has now published temporary amendments to its FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players (“RSTP“), which are binding. FIFA also published recommendations in response … Continue Reading

Agreement Not To Poach Footballers Could Be In Breach Of Competition Rules

The Portuguese Competition Authority (“PCA”) last week ordered the Portuguese Professional Football League (“LPFP”) to suspend no-poach agreements implemented between clubs.  This follows the adoption by the LPFP of a resolution whereby football clubs agreed not to hire football players from other clubs “who unilaterally terminated their employment contract due to issues caused by the … Continue Reading

The NFL Approves New Measures To The “Rooney Rule”

The NFL recently introduced new measures to expand what is colloquially known as the “Rooney Rule,” which was instituted to promote and encourage diversity hiring. Named after the late Dan Rooney – former owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers and chairperson of the National Football League’s (“NFL”) diversity committee – the Rooney Rule is a NFL … Continue Reading

Are Digital Health Passports the Key to Unlocking UK Stadiums? The data privacy perspective

The ban on mass gatherings in order to combat the spread of COVID-19 resulted in the cancellation or postponement of sporting fixtures and live events globally. This includes the English Premier League that had to postpone all fixtures following the lockdown. On 10 May 2020, Boris Johnson announced that, as part of the UK government’s … Continue Reading

K-League 1 strikes record broadcasting rights deals following league restart

Last week, Sports Shorts reported on how the top European football leagues were dealing with the completion of their 2019/2020 seasons as a result of Covid-19. Since then we have seen the much anticipated return of Germany’s Bundesliga (over the weekend just passed), which benefited from record viewership. The K-League 1 (the “K-League”), South Korea’s … Continue Reading

How the top European football leagues are dealing with their 2019/20 seasons

Over the course of the last two months professional football across Europe has ground to a halt. In an attempt to lend some shape and certainty to the European football landscape, UEFA announced in April that all its European members had until 25 May to make a decision about their respective leagues. Some leagues have … Continue Reading

Esports & the global pandemic

As the world of traditional sports has ground to halt, esports has garnered much media attention, certainly in respect of those esports that operate within the purview of traditional sports. The esports industry was already thriving before the pandemic, attracting billions of pounds in revenues and huge viewing audiences. With the world on lockdown and … Continue Reading

Partial Summary Judgment Granted to U.S Soccer

On Friday, May 1, 2020, Judge Gary Klausner of the United States District Court for the Central District of California granted partial summary judgment to U.S. Soccer in a pay equity class action lawsuit brought by members of the U.S. women’s national soccer team. In his ruling, Judge Klausner dismissed the U.S. women’s argument that … Continue Reading

FIFA issues guidelines on dealing with COVID-19 related regulatory issues

On Tuesday, FIFA published a set of guidelines to address some of the practical issues that have arisen as a consequence of the COVID-19 crisis. The key areas of focus were: (1) expiring agreements; (2) frustrated agreements; and (3) registration periods. A number of other issues were also considered in brief.   It is important … Continue Reading

Coronavirus and its effect on world football

Italian football Last weekend, four Serie A fixtures were suspended. This weekend, five Serie A fixtures taking place in affected territories in the north of Italy will be played behind closed doors in response to a new decree passed by the Italian government. This will have a direct impact on the clubs’ revenue. Clubs will … Continue Reading

Wales. Golf. Madrid. Esports. In that order? Gareth Bale sets up a new esports team

Last year, Sports Shorts reported on the opportunities for football clubs looking to get involved in the world of esports. Recent news indicates that other footballing stakeholders are also alive to these opportunities; earlier this month Real Madrid and Wales star Gareth Bale launched a new esports team called ‘Ellevens Esports’. Bale co-founded the new … Continue Reading

Shall we go Dutch? Belgian Pro League clubs mull over merger with Dutch Eredivisie

Last year, Sports Shorts reported on proposals for a combined Dutch and Belgian football league – a so-called ‘BeneLiga’. Talks of a merger appear to be gathering pace in the early part of this year, with Inside World Football reporting that a meeting recently took place between the Belgian and Dutch footballing authorities, alongside eleven … Continue Reading

The United Colours of Benelux: Belgian and Dutch Authorities Consider Proposals for Combined Football League

Ajax’s run to the 2019 UEFA Champions’ League semi-final – European football’s premier club-cup competition – provided a welcome dose of nostalgia for those who remember the glory-days of Johan Cruyff in the 1970s and the Champions’ League winning team of 1995. However, in recent years, football clubs with rich histories such as Ajax, Feyenoord, … Continue Reading

Football finance: Factoring in cash flow

Although it is trite to say that modern football clubs are very much run as businesses, there is often little consideration paid to the nuts and bolts of how these businesses work. As businesses, football clubs are not immune from the challenge of poor cash flow, which is prevalent across many industries. As such, clubs … Continue Reading

HANDBALL!!! I think…

Sunday saw one of the most anticipated games of the 19/20 Premier League season as Liverpool FC hosted Manchester City at Anfield. Liverpool came away with the three points, however the victory was not without controversy. There were a number of decisions, which left Manchester City fans feeling aggrieved and the general football community becoming … Continue Reading

The LeBron Effect, Grand Slams and Record Sales: Matching Rights in Football Kit Sponsorship Deals

On 25 October 2019 Mr Justice Teare handed down his judgment in the kit sponsorship dispute between New Balance Athletics (“NB”) v Liverpool Football Club (“LFC”). The dispute concerned whether NB had validly exercised its matching right set out in the contract between the parties entered into on 3 June 2011 (the “NB Agreement”) in … Continue Reading
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