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Sport is both an industry of the modern age and a traditional activity that reaches to the core of the social fabric. Law and sport intersect in many and varied ways, some of which challenge established notions of thinking about law. Sports Industry and the Law is the flagship subject of the sports law program, surveying many areas of legal controversy in sport, with particular emphasis on the link between the commercialisation of sport and the emergence of sports law. This subject is the best place to start for students embarking on a program of sports law studies and, for the student with wider interests, the ideal subject through which to sample sports law.
The aim of this subject is to provide an account of how the law influences the operation, administration and playing of modern sports. Although the subject focuses on legal doctrine, it will bear in mind sport’s historical, cultural, social and economic context, including the drama and colour of major sporting events and leading personalities. And although it is inevitably very much concerned with elite professional sports, it is not dominated by them and seeks to cover the widest possible range of sports, professional and amateur.
Initially, the subject addresses practical issues such as the structures of national and international sport, and examines the evolution of the body of law known sometimes as “sports law” or lex sportiva. Thereafter, three main themes are identified: regulatory, participatory, and financial aspects of modern sport. The regulatory theme is dealt with in lectures that consider the manner in which decisions of sports governing bodies may be challenged in the ordinary courts and the development of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms in sport. The participatory theme includes the legal regulation of doping and criminal violence in sport, as well as the broader topic of tortious liability for sporting injuries. The financial theme, reflecting the enhanced commercialisation of sport at all levels, is developed in lectures concerning issues in applied contract and employment law for players and legal matters surrounding the organisation of major sports events.
In sum, the subject is designed to cover fundamental and topical areas of sports law:
- Sports law in general
- Sports bodies and the courts
- Arbitration in sport
- Civil liability
- The commodification of modern sport
- The likely future of sports law.
Intended learning outcomes
A student who has successfully completed this subject will:
- Have an advanced and integrated understanding of the specific principles of law and regulation as they apply within the context of sport, including recent developments in these fields of law and practice
- Be able to critically examine, analyse, interpret and assess the effectiveness of these legal principles
- Be an engaged participant in debate regarding emerging and contemporary issues in the field, such as the emergence of sports law as a system of global law and regulation
- Have a sophisticated appreciation of the factors and processes driving parliamentary and sporting body revision of the legal and regulatory framework both domestically and internationally
- Have an advanced understanding of situations in which legal issues may arise in both elite and community based sporting relationships and management practices
- Have an understanding of sports law issues in an international context
- Have the cognitive and technical skills to generate critical and creative ideas relating to sports law, and to critically evaluate existing legal and regulatory theories, principles and concepts with creativity and autonomy
- Have the cognitive and technical skills to independently examine, research and analyse existing and emerging legal issues relating to sport
- Have the communication skills to clearly articulate and convey complex information regarding sports law issues relevant to specialist and non-specialist audiences
- Be able to demonstrate autonomy, expert judgment and responsibility as a practitioner and learner in the field of sport law.
Last updated: 31 January 2024