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The definition of ‘sports law’ has been a question frequently inquired by attorneys, students and academics. This question is strenuous to answer mainly because of the lack of certainity on the information looked for. A person who is asking what is sports law may be trying to find out its area of practice under sports, the role of a sports lawyer or even the existence of sports law. In recent years sports law has become an area of study with worldwide teaching and research, it has also provided employment opportunities for people associated with sporting activities. There have been debates on whether Sport laws should be viewed in a more traditional way with the existing legal rules or in a different way where sports law is a separate corpus of the law. There also lies an intermediate position where it is recognized as an identifiable and independent area of law that justifies the title of ‘Sport laws’.

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Sports laws are a group of legal rules that control and regulate the world of sports by primarily affecting professional athletes. They may include regulations on drug tests, contracts and the relationship between a franchiser and a franchisee. Sports laws are mandatory for everyone working in the sports industry, failure to follow this laws could lead to legal consequences. The purpose of sports laws is to provide a legal framework through which disputes in laws can be settled.

Contemporary Issues and Debates in Sports Laws

  1. The Debate
  2. The traditional view: Sports law does not exist

It states the term ‘sports law’ does not exist because sports are regulated by the legal system as a whole. It argues that there are no distinguishing laws called sports laws because a sport law is a combination of laws that are relevant in field of sports.

  1. The Moderate Position: “ Sports Law” May Develop Into a Field of Law

According to this debate, there has been an increased attention by laws schools on sports and the ever growing significance of sports to individuals and organizations. Sports are therefore in the middle of thrilling and breath-taking process which may lead to legislations that will affect it.

  1. “Sports Law”: A Separate Field of Law

Supporters of this case highlight the various statutory laws that are distinct to only sporting activities. They argue that sports have moved on from traditional antitrust and labor law boundaries to sports representation, sports and disability, and other permutations.

  1. Factors to consider when considering a field of law
  2. Unique application by courts
  3. Factual peculiarities within a specific content
  4. Issues involving the proposed discipline’s subject matter
  5. Elements of the subject matter must connect
  6. Decisions within the proposed discipline conflict
  7. It must significantly affect the nation
  8. Development of interventionist legislations
  9. Publications of legal casebooks
  10. Development of law journals and other publications
  11. Acceptance of the proposed field of law schools
  12. Recognition by legal associations

            4.1 Contract Law

Similar to other contracts, sports contracts are legally binding agreements, where a failure to perform the signed contract without a legitimate excuse results to a breach of contract.

            4.2 Labor Law

Professional athletes are governed by labor laws where player unions, sporting leagues and the entire management sign a collective bargaining agreement which establishes the duties and rights of club owners and players.

            4.3 Antitrust Law

Antitrust laws aim at prohibiting monopoly and preventing anti competitive behavior within the sports industry.

            4.4 Tort law

This law aims at ensuring that any athlete who acquires sports related injuries recovers from any losses that may have been posed by the injury in case it occurred as result of another party’s negligence.

4.5 Constitution and statutory law

This is a body of laws which can be regarded as mechanisms aimed at regulating the laws in the sports industries. Therefore, the laws aim at ensuring that the sports laws are adhered to.

4.6 Other substantive areas

Similar to any other practice, the sports industry calls for adherence to all the legal laws such as intellectual property laws, criminal law, professional responsibility laws, agency laws among others areas of law.

            5.0. Practicing law in the sports context

Sports attorney handles matters related to sports industry and is thus given the legal mandate to represent the financial and legal interest of teams, players and the coaches.

            5.1 Representing Athletes

The role of sports attorney or agents stems from representing the financial issues and medical issues and employment issues. For instance, the sports agents are responsible of financial planning, employment contracts, Insurance matters as well as other legal matters for individual athletes.

            5.2 Representing coaches

The attorneys representing coaches offer advice to the coaches regarding employment contract negotiation and signing, they are also involved in representing the coaches in case of any disputes arising in teams or sports leagues.

5.3 Acting as counsel for a Major or Minor league sports league or an individual team.

The attorney functions include negotiating lease agreements and negotiating media related endorsement contracts. They also counsel any cases related to tort laws, antitrust laws and other breach of contract cases.

      5.4 Representing educational institutions

According to Howland et al. 2020, attorneys are called upon to: negotiate and monitor contracts with teams, concessioners, and contractors. They also represent or supervise education facilities and offer counsel on matters related tort liability and any other legal agreements that lead breach of contract.

            5.5 Representing sports facilities

The services of attorneys representing sports facilities include; contracts drafting, negotiating and taking part in contract signing. The attorneys take patty in contract negotiations involving team members, media corporations, and government authorities.

            5.6 Other areas of representation

Sports attorneys offer other legal services which include and are not limited to; representing the athletes involved in individual sports, representing sports federations and sports related events promoters.


The best claim proposers of sports laws can make is that there is a developing international jurisprudence arising out of the activities out of the international court of arbitration for sport.













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