Sports Law

Sports law refers to a specialised practice focused on legal issues concerning the sports industry, rather than a separate body of law, though there are a few unique legal issues only faced by professional sports organisations.

Sports law issues include:

  • Anti corruption
  • Anti doping
  • Athlete welfare
  • Commercial law
  • Competition law
  • Contract law
  • Corporate law
  • Criminal law

eSports law

The British eSports Association (British eSports) is the UK's eSports national body. It was established in December 2016 to support, promote and instil good governance for amateur eSports players and teams. A British eSports advisory board and website provide legal advice, with the current focus on intellectual property and contract law for individuals, teams and those under 18 years of age.

With a variety of legal matters routinely faced by members of the sports and eSports industry, sports law firms are generally a practice with a particular group of clients, although there is not yet a sole eSports law firm in the UK.

Amateur sports law

Much of sports law is divided between amateur and professional sports. In 2012, Sport England, the Sport and Recreation Alliance (SRA), Sport Wales and UK Sport established a framework panel of law firms to provide legal services to national governing bodies of sport (NGBs) and recreation organisations, making it easier for sport governing bodies and wider sport and recreation organisations to identify and gain access to high quality legal firms at fair rates, delivering better value for money and providing a wide range of value added opportunities for the sector.

International amateur sports law

International amateur sports are run by a variety of organisations, including the International Olympic Committee (IOC). International amateur sports can face many of the same legal issues as professional sports, including anti-doping issues.

Professional sports law

Professional sports organisations have their own unique set of legal issues. Some of the most well publicised issues of sports law relate to contract negotiations. Players hire agents to represent them in negotiations of multimillion sterling player contracts, trades, promotional deals, etc. Stadiums have a stream of commercial contracts with vendors for food and merchandise. Media companies contract for broadcast rights and much more.

Sports Law: International organisations

Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS)

Court of Arbitration for Sport

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) is an independent organisation that facilitates the settlement of sports-related disputes through arbitration or mediation or procedures adapted to the specific requirements of the sports world. The CAS was created in 1984 and is placed under the administrative and financial authority of the International Council of Arbitration for Sport (ICAS).

UNESCO – International Convention Against Doping in Sport


The purpose of this Convention, under the umbrella of UNESCO’s physical education and sport policy is to eliminate doping in sport by promoting prevention and fighting against the use of doping.

United Nations Code of Sports Ethics

United Nations Code of Sports Ethics

The basic principle of the Code of Sports Ethics is that ethical considerations that lead to fair play are integral, and not optional elements, of all sports policy. The code applies to all levels of ability and commitment, including recreational as well as competitive spor

The legal impact of Brexit on sports law

The legal impact of Brexit

In the short term the UK’s existing laws and legal structures continue to apply, but in the medium-long term all areas of business will be affected, particularly in employment, business regulation, financial services, consumer protection, data protection and intellectual property. UK contract and corporate law are areas less harmonised with the EU, if at all, so changes are likely to be minimal.

Amendments to existing laws and new laws need to be discussed, negotiated, drafted and implemented and may take several years. Through all of this there is a high risk of uncertainty, as both the UK and EU attempt to operate as normal while also going through the separation process.

The legal impact of Brexit on eSports law

The legal impact of Brexit

There is likely to be a number of legal changes affecting daily business for eSport companies ranging from employment to intellectual property matters. This is likely to create changes to the business landscape. The situation will become clearer as negotiations progress.