Game-changer: following the developments in elite women’s rugby

Back in June, Sport Shorts considered the premature conclusion of the Premier 15s season, which was rendered null and void as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Following a near seven month period without any rugby for the elite of the women’s game, the newly branded 2020/21 Allianz Premier 15s campaign got underway on 10 October.  The season launched with relatively little fanfare, being played behind closed doors and with no broadcast deals secured.  The first of the planned 18 rounds did not prove uneventful, however.  The two new women’s teams, Exeter Chiefs and Sale Sharks, admitted to the competition following the league’s audit and (re)tender process, had a slow start to life at the top of English women’s rugby with 34-14 and 29-7 defeats to Gloucester-Hartpury and Loughborough Lightning respectively.  Elsewhere, Harlequins look set to be a force to be reckoned with this season after a host of experienced internationals re-committed to the club and the impressive side chalked up 103 unanswered points against DMP Durham Sharks.

Continue Reading

Five Stars to the NBA: A Successful Bubble

Basketball Money and Finance ConceptCongratulations to the Los Angeles Lakers who won their 17th NBA championship on Sunday night after beating the Miami Heat 4-2 in an entertaining series. After an incredibly challenging and unprecedented season, the LA Lakers were crowned champions.

The NBA, and Commissioner Adam Silver, have pulled off a meticulously executed project, which has been an unequivocal success; a blueprint for other leagues that may wish to emulate such a monumental task.

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 that similar measures have also been recommended in the UK and elsewhere in Europe.

Continue Reading

Surf’s Up for Stand-Up Paddleboarding after CAS decision

In August this year, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) handed down its decision in the dispute between the International Surfing Association (ISA) and the International Canoe Federation (ICF) regarding the governance of Stand-Up Paddleboarding (SUP). Both international sports federations sought control over the increasingly popular sport at the world and Olympic level.

In the sport of SUP, one of the fastest growing sports in the world, an individual stands on a board and uses the paddle to direct themselves through the water. SUP can be practised in several environments, such as surf and open water as well as flat water.

Both the ISA and the ICF are recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as the international sports federations governing surfing and canoeing respectively. The ISA and ICF had previously been unsuccessful in attempts to resolve the dispute through a conciliation meeting with the President of the IOC (reported by Sports Shorts in 2017) as well as mediation before the CAS. As a result, the parties were forced to resolve the deadlock via arbitration proceedings before the CAS in October 2019, the request being lodged by the ISA.

Continue Reading

Sport and Sustainability to the Extreme

Last week, the Champions for Earth movement sent an open letter co-signed by hundreds of GB Olympians and Paralympians to the Prime Minister urging a ‘Green approach’ to recovery from the pandemic.  The letter highlights the role that sport can play in influencing global issues:  “We can sit timidly in the pack, pretending that we have no role to play in the unfolding race.  Or, like the athletes we would have watched this summer, we can race to win.”

This recognises some high profile examples of athletes associating themselves with the green agenda this summer.  Hector Bellerin, the Arsenal defender, invested in League Two outfit Forest Green Rovers, becoming its second largest shareholder, the world’s first club certified as carbon-neutral by the United Nations.  Formula One World Champion, Lewis Hamilton, no stranger to championing social-political change, made headlines after the Japan Grand Prix last year when he spoke out in favour of sustainability and warned of the threat of extinction.  Not perturbed by accusations of hypocrisy from some quarters, Hamilton has taken a further step in his environmental efforts by founding a team, named X44 after his F1 racing number, to compete in the inaugural Extreme E racing series.

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 football.

Because of this, there is no shortage of opportunities for those operating as intermediaries to make lucrative introductions between betting firms and football clubs. Where there are such large sums at stake, however, it is important to ensure any rights to commission for such introductions are properly protected.

Last week, sports intermediary ‘Winlink Marketing Limited’ had their claim for commission against Liverpool FC dismissed in its entirety due to what was, in essence, lack of contractual certainty.

Continue Reading

Football fan engagement limited to broadcast again

The Premier League resumed on 12 September 2020 and initially plans had been in place for an October return for fans to be allowed in stadia, with home fans only. Yesterday, following an announcement from the government of a spike in coronavirus cases in the UK, those plans were put on hold indefinitely.

Back in May, Sport Shorts considered how Europe’s top football leagues were dealing with the global pandemic, all of which, at that stage, had been forced to come to a grinding halt. Project Restart brought football back on 17 June 2020, but fans had to settle for the digital experience as they were precluded from attending matches. Suddenly, all of the football was available all of the time, but this was little consolation for those dedicated season ticket holders that had already paid upfront for the 2019/20 season. Sadly, the position for fans this season looks like it is going to be all too familiar.

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 the three, self-governing island territories off the coast of Great Britain: Jersey, Guernsey, and the Isle of Man. The FA is a member of both the Union of European Football Associations (“UEFA”) and FIFA, and it holds a permanent seat on the International Football Association Board (“IFAB”), which is responsible for the Laws of the Game (i.e., the codified rules of association football).

Continue Reading

Managing Coronavirus in the NBA: A Success Story

The NBA returned to action in July with teams currently in the process of competing in eight regular season matches before the playoffs commence.Basketball arena

COVID-19

The return to action has been full of drama on the court and has been, without a doubt, a success. In the most recent round of COVID testing, all 343 players tested inside the league bubble at Disney World tested negative for the third week in a row. Players who have tested positive are required to quarantine until they test negative. Similarly, players who leave the bubble or breach the bubble’s rules will have to quarantine for at least four days and be required to test negative before exiting quarantine. However, Lou Williams, of the Los Angeles Clippers, was required to quarantine for 10 days after attending a funeral (which was sanctioned by the league) but appeared to break the league’s rules by visiting a restaurant before returning to the bubble. This demonstrates the NBA’s careful and precautionary approach to matters in Orlando. Continue Reading

Prize promotions in sport

With the sporting world wrestling with the effects of COVID-19, stakeholders in the industry are considering various ways in which they may boost engagement with fans and increase their profile. Carlton Daniel and Ailin O’Flaherty recently wrote an article for Sports Business Daily looking at the benefits and challenges of running international prize draws for those operating in the sports sector as well as some key legal issues to consider. You can read the article here. If you are considering running a prize draw, please contact Carlton Daniel or Ailin O’Flaherty for further information on how Squire Patton Boggs can support you.

LexBlog