PUBlisheR: Global sports policy review
Volume 2 | Issue 2 (Summer 2022)
TABLE OF CONTENTS
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1. Infiltration of Cryptocurrency in the Sports World - What does the Future hold?
Authors: Vrinda Nargas, Law Scholar, National Law University, Jodhpur
Namrata Jeph, Law Scholar, National Law University, Jodhpur
With increasing digitalization and emerging trends in technology, cryptocurrency has made inroads into various industries and sports is no exception. Cryptocurrency has the potential to revolutionize not only different transactions but also sports, as we see them today. However, within traditional sports, the usage of cryptocurrencies is not widespread - players, sports teams, leagues and other key entities remain restricted to using cryptocurrencies to secure sponsorships, to cater to their fan base and for token purposes. In comparison, the esports and online gaming industry has been quick to cash in on the benefits of cryptocurrencies. However, this advent of cryptocurrency into esports has also brought to light certain fundamental issues that may arise due to such interaction - such as gambling and fraud. Cryptocurrency runs on blockchain technology – a decentralised public ledger, yet there have been several instances where the system has been “gamed”. The use of cryptocurrency also poses certain challenges in the form of betting and skin gambling.
On account of concerns associated with the use of cryptocurrency and the lack of central authority, a variation in the regulatory responses to the use of cryptocurrency in esports and traditional sports in India and other jurisdictions has been observed. This article addresses the issues associated with the use and regulation of cryptocurrency in sports and offers practical and policy-based solutions through which these problems can be mitigated and resolved.
Keywords: Cryptocurrency, Blockchain, Esports, Sponsorship, Regulations
2. Sports Governing Bodies & The Role of Judicial Review: The Power Struggle and Procedural Ambiguity in India
Author: Rishiraj Pargaonkar, Law Scholar, NMIMS Kirti P. Mehta School of Law – Mumbai, India, ORCID ID: 0000-0001-5296-6438
The dichotomy of the public yet private nature of the Sport Governing Bodies (SGBs) leads to power discrepancies, ambiguities in the operational mechanism, unfair processes whether towards the athletes or the administration, and poor governance of the organization of such sporting bodies. There has been a lack of clarity with respect to the scope of judicial review of these SGBs performing public and private functions at the same time. Consequentially, there have been inconsistencies in the judicial approach toward the functioning and governance of these sporting bodies. The paper analyses this fundamental discrepancy in the judicial approach with reference to the judicial evolution in various case laws in India. It also studies the scope of judicial review with respect to the public and private functions of these governing bodies. The paper also criticises this current hybrid approach taken by the court which leads to a deferential approach taken by the courts and a light-touch method adopted by the Courts which leads to procedural ambiguities. The paper also highlights the lack of procedural fairness with respect to the dispute mechanism or doping violations and procedures for fair trials for its athletes or the power discrepancies within the bodies. In light of this light-touch approach, the author argues for a need for an alternative judicial tribunal dedicated to governing sporting matters in India to compensate for the delays of the judicial system in India and the fast-natured relief required by the athletes in their short-lived sporting careers.
Keywords: Sports Governing Bodies, BCCI, AIFF, Judicial Review, Procedural Fairness
3. UEFA Loopholes: Has Financial Fair Play (FFP) succeeded in improving the financial health of European Football?
Adrija Sengupta, Law Scholar, National Law University, Delhi
Aditya Singh Raghav, Law Scholar, National Law University, Delhi
This article examines the Financial Fair Play loopholes that allow clubs to continue their exorbitant spending during the transfer windows and on player wages, with a special focus on Paris Saint Germain. It also looks at decisions taken by the Adjudicatory Chambers in three other cases, and how the result goes against the intent with which FFP regulations were brought about in the first place – how equity investments were disguised as sponsorships to circumvent the regulations and how simple interpretations of the regulations taken in a different context allows clubs to get away with breaking the rules. The paper goes on to examine the loopholes in-depth and take up factual and procedural aspects that allow the clubs to get away with spending beyond a reasonable amount. This failure of UEFA and by extension that of CAS leaves room for massive reforms, only then would the aim of UEFA - ‘to improve overall financial health of football’ – be realised in its entirety.
Keywords: UEFA, Financial Fair Play, CFCB, PSG, Champions League
4. Pedal to the Metal: An insight into the IP regime of Formula 1
Author: Ananya Dhawan, Law Scholar, Symbiosis Law School, Noida
Formula 1 is one of the most sought-after racing sports in the world. Its appeal lies by and large in the skills and experience of the drivers as well as that of the teams’ pit crews. What further factors make it an illustrious sport is the participation of big automotive names like Ferrari and Mercedes amongst others, which compete against each other’s high-tech engines and designs. Right from when the red lights are put out, through every turn and past the straights, the entire battle for pole position and for the podium, up until the wave of the chequered flag, has fans on the edge of their seats. The fact that, in the bat of an eye, everything can change, and anyone can win makes the race a riveting affair. While the drivers’ strength, stability, and sensibility on the tracks along with their respective teams’ race strategies are vital aspects of success, even so, for a team to be the best, they undoubtedly need to have a car that is ahead of the pack in terms of having a superior engine and gearbox, the perfect grip, pace and aerodynamics around the car etc. The rationale behind this is rightly put into words by writer Mark Hughes, “the fastest driver in the slowest car would still be nowhere, whereas the slowest driver in the fastest car would be quite successful.” This entails that F1 is largely innovation driven in terms of developing components that are exceptional and adept at leading the teams to victory. Intellectual Property implications come attached to innovations and the same is true for F1. However, the modus operandi of IP protection therein is unique. This paper discusses the aforesaid approach in length, its adequacy, the reasons behind adopting the same and other related issues.
Keywords: Trade Secrets, Patents, Innovation, PCT, TRIPS, Technical Regulations, FIA
5. A Light on the Jurisprudential Remedies to Controversies in Tennis
Author: Akriti Singh, Law Scholar, University School of Law & Legal Studies, GGSIPU, New Delhi
The significant and unalarmed postponement of the Parisian Grand Slam (Roland Garros) 2020 did trigger heated debates on the move of the French Federation, however, within the rules. But is it the non-cohesiveness of the organizations in tennis that amount to autocratic behaviour? We know sports has transcended to the commercial arena, as well. This amalgamation of the commercial world with the elite sport, Lawn Tennis, has unbarred the scope of exploration. The merchandising of tennis from the late 1900s did increase the popularity of its relatives. However, the grossing of the sport has formed a complete system filled with controversies veiled by graphical screens. The paper analyzes the occurrence of contradicting views as a natural response related to the functioning of Tennis organizations with an analysis of the case. While critiques remain looped in countered questions, this piece introduces the application of jurisprudential findings in the controversies to confer a stable view.
Keywords: Tennis, Controversies, Pandemic, Jurisprudence, Sports Law
6. Hustle, Bustle & Tussle! Who’s got the Transfer Muscle?
Authors: Joseph Pious & Umair Ishfaq Wani, Law Scholars, Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur, India
Benching players, running down contracts, crafting media narratives; power is exerted in many ways. Bossing with financial muscle extracted from oil fields and loaded family tycoons, the modern game has created a competition where Football Clubs design the Financial Fair Play rules. The break-even requirement, whose fundamental principle being that a club should not spend more than its generated income, is a farce when it comes to the rich clubs: building teams of superstars creating rocket inflation in the transfer market of the past decade. When a single player in your line-up costs more than the opponents combined eleven, the question of fairness in the competition should be asked. But like in every other business, money buys labour. Clubs use this power to illegally tap players, crown them the next superstars, and even bench or sell them. But the reliance on intermediaries on every aspect of a commercial contract calls for an agent to steal the show. They can act as dual representatives for both the Club and player having no direct conflict of interests. Again, their expected fiduciary duty lies on paper. In practice, it might not be the interests of their party, but the boatload of commissions that can drive them to facilitate a transfer. At the end of the day, it’s neither the agent nor the Club but the player who
has the say in his transfer. Ideally, a player can run down his contract, enjoy the privileges and leave for free giving the club nothing. Yes, each stakeholder has a variety of weapons in this ball game. But the real question to be asked is if a single party can have absolute power in football transfers?
Keywords: Contracts, Financial, Transfer, Clubs, Agent