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‘Is Football the Same Without Fans?’: Valuable lessons when negotiating broadcasting agreements

Last month, it was reported that the value of the overseas broadcasting deals entered into by the English Premier League (‘EPL‘) nudged past the £5 billion threshold for the 2022-25 rights cycle, whilst also surpassing the value of domestic deals for the same cycle for the first time. Given these substantial investments, it is no … Continue Reading

The FA v Marc Bola

On 3 September 2021, The FA announced that Marc Bola (“the Player”), of Middlesbrough FC, had been charged with misconduct for an alleged Aggravated Breach of the FA Rules, 2021/2022 (“the 2022 Rules”), rules E3.1 and E3.2 (“the Charge”). The Charge related to a Tweet the Player posted from his Twitter account on 14 April … Continue Reading

The Low-Down on FIFA’s New Player Loan Regulations

Big money permanent transfers are usually the headline grabbers but there have been some significant loan moves this window… Tanguy Ndombele from Tottenham to Lyon, Adama Traoré from Wolverhampton Wanderers to Barcelona, Antony Martial from Manchester United to Sevilla, and Aaron Ramsey from Juventus to Rangers, to name just a few of the international loan … Continue Reading

Andre Onana and UEFA’s Anti-Doping Regulations – A Cautionary Tale

Introduction Andre Onana, the first team goalkeeper for AFC Ajax (“Ajax”) and the Cameroon national team played his first competitive match for over nine 9 months on 13 November 2021, when he started for Cameroon in a 4:0 victory over Malawi in a FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 African Qualifier. Prior to this match, Onana had … Continue Reading

The Future of Sports – Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain Technology

Sports as an industry has realised the potential that cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies can bring to further monetise fan engagement, attract sponsors and engage a global market in ways that were unimaginable decades ago. Passionate fans, each a citizen of digital technology, consume sports and related content beyond the actual duration of a match. Teams, … Continue Reading

A new post-Brexit system for the transfer of EU players

In a joint statement released last week, the Football Association (“FA”), the Premier League and the Football League (together, the “Stakeholders”) confirmed the Home Office approved points-based system that will apply to all overseas players, including EU nationals, hoping to join an English club from January 2021 onwards. Following the end of the Brexit transition … Continue Reading

FIFA takes decisive action in strengthening women’s employment rights

In November, FIFA announced that its Stakeholders Committee (the “FSC”) had approved reforms aimed at strengthening employment rights for female players. These reforms offer necessary protections, such as guaranteed maternity leave, to all female football players playing for a club that is regulated by FIFA. At this stage the changes are only ‘proposed’, but they … Continue Reading

Concussion in football

On Sunday evening, a clash of heads between David Luiz and Raul Jimenez in the Premier League match between Arsenal and Wolverhampton Wanderers gave public attention (again) to the issue around concussion protocols in football. Alan Shearer considers it a matter of “life and death” as he urged the sport to change the rules on … Continue Reading

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
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