The potential of sports law and the essence of specialized legal advice

Posted on 12 Sep 2016, by Kyriakos Constantinou

It is commonly accepted that Sports Industry in Cyprus has been rocketing over the last years due to the huge commercialization of all areas of sport. Society’s dependence in sports and the professionalism of sports industry created the need not only for professional athletes and specialized sports directors but also for expert and experienced Legal Advisors, in order to protect the underlying rights of “sportsmen”, investors and all parties involved.

Why seek for specialized legal advice?

The “old fashioned” impression that Sports Law area is limited and rotates only around the regulations of the playing field has been substituted by the contemporary approach that along with the understanding of sports’ community, Sports law requires unique knowledge on a variety of legal matters. It cannot be approached remotely from other areas of law, such as intellectual property law, corporate law, tax law, employment law, immigration law etc. On the contrary it can benefit from the “co-existence” with them.

Areas of potential benefit

Plethora of parameters of the Sports Law has evolved overtime. With the support of the appropriate legal assistance different pools of interested parties can benefit from these:

Investors

The previous sport context is substituted by the modern, more commercialized environment in both global and domestic level. Sports arena can be approached as another route for investment through sponsorship and advertisement and most importantly, due to its publicity, it can be considered as a promising and profitable area for investment.

A new framework of commercial marketing has been developed which creates opportunities for investment in areas such as Sport T.V. Rights (which fall under the umbrella of Intellectual Property law), Sport Clubs’ shares (the majority of clubs have evolved into companies) and advertisement.

The market for sponsorships in sports is becoming increasingly sophisticated and is continuously growing. A specialized lawyer can provide assistance during the negotiations between corporation and sporting entities on a range of sponsorship rights and advice rights holders and commercial partners on concluding sponsorship, merchandising and licensing agreements.

Sponsorship is a mutually beneficial relationship. A lawyer can act as an Intermediary and offer guidance in achieving the desirable balance between the aims of the parties involved. His background can be used to build a bridge between the parallel worlds of commercial sport and financial investment.

Sportsmen – Sport Clubs

How can an athlete/sport client benefit from the assistance of a specialized Sport Lawyer?

The continuous mobility of athletes between different teams in conjunction with the length and complexity of the contracts entails a variety of legal issues. Legally authorized practicing lawyers can represent any athlete/club at any contract negotiation. Lawyers are in a position to skillfully answer questions about termination of agreements, players’ registrations, transfer agreements etc.

The broad-horizon of sports sector renders it “vulnerable” to risks and therefore any advisor should not be limited only to sector specific experience. Legal representation safeguards that cases will be approached from different perspectives and will combine knowledge with other related areas of law such as banking and finance law, tax law, corporate law, employment law, immigration law, intellectual property etc. Hence a Lawyer can act as a personal legal advisor on a vast range of legal matters.

In addition to the aforementioned, the represented party/parties can benefit from the existing cycle of work of a Law Firm and its global and domestic network.

Sport Organizations/Associations

Sport environment depends on many variables which can change overnight the norms, processes and eventually the regulations in disciplinary and other areas. Specialized legal assistance can be provided for the technical drafting field, where changes need to take place in order to meet the surrounding needs.

In parallel with this ever-changing environment, the governing structures of the respective sport bodies need to adhere to the new demands and proceed to the relevant adjustments to their management policies and decisions. Legal consulting services can be provided with regards to good governance practices, which will not be limited only to the sport legal field but also expand to the legal parameters of financing and developing a sport body.

Further to these and in compliance with the common general responsibilities of a lawyer, he can represent clients before domestic and international Disciplinary Committees/Courts for disciplinary, anti-doping matters as well as for disputes and infringement issues.

Based on relevant experience in the corporate section specialized assistance can also be provided for the registration of Sport Organizations and the establishment of companies e.g. sports clubs, betting companies etc.

Conclusion

Sports are considered to be one of the most prominent and emerging areas. As it is evident from the aforementioned, with the appropriate legal guidance someone can exploit its increasing upward trend and “absorb” any advantage may derive.

Michael Kyprianou & Co LLC, with vast experience in a great range of legal areas can provide legal, technical and administrative assistance to anyone interested in the following sub-sectors of Sports Law:

  • Advertising sponsorship and marketing;
  • Players’ contracts, Agency representation;
  • Disciplinary hearings, anti-doping hearings;
  • Sports governance and Regulatory matters;
  • Sports Law Disputes;
  • Ticketing, betting and gaming issues;
  • TV rights;
  • Registration of New Sporting Entities as well as other related areas of law such as Intellectual Property, Immigration, Contracts law and Tax.

Our Firm with its dedicated team, its strong background in the legal field and its wide network can provide the highest quality of assistance to each party through-out the whole process.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought on your specific circumstances. For further information, please contact Kyriakos Constantinou.