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Sport is not only healthy but has both legal and economic aspects. News from the world of professional sports almost always have a legal background, and even mass sports, sports within sports clubs and sports in schools are increasingly confronted with legal issues. Sport and legal regulation are reflected in the deep linkage, as the most important and essential element of sport is its legal regulation. This applies in particular to the competition rules as well as to other supporting elements of the sport organization. In addition, sports activities often take place outside state borders, whereby their international dimension is expressed.
For the majority of the population, sport is a past time that is played as a non-vocational leisure activity or watched on television or other media platforms as part of a healthy, balanced lifestyle . For a few talented individuals, it is a way of earning a living. Sport as a professional occupation requires physical skill, mental focus and dedication to a disciplined way of living that includes eating well, training and sleeping. It is also a career of short duration for most athletes. A football player, tennis player, 100 m sprinter, rugby player, Formula 1 driver, netball player, hockey player, speed skater, cricketer or basketball player, must maximize their career earning potential over a short period of time by providing athletic services to a club, team or federation, or through selling their image for product endorsement. The amount of money or benefits received for services and the working conditions in which those services are provided are important to a professional athlete, but those concerns are not unique to professional athletes. A worker, employee or independent contractor in any industry considers the amount of money and benefits he or she receives and health and safety in the work environment to be important. An employee desires fair working conditions in return for the services provided. Owing to the scarcity of talented athletes, the short duration of a professional career and competition for a player’s services, the remuneration or market value of a professional athlete’s services can be quite high for some athletes, though not for all. Some players in certain sports have to supplement their sports related earnings with other jobs or forgo sport as an occupation altogether. The disputed employment conditions in professional sport are many and varied but the employment terms in each sport will discuss relate to wages, contract termination and access to employment
or eligibility. Overly restrictive working conditions that limit wages, restrict movement between employers and a player’s opportunity to take up employment in a competition were initially introduced unilaterally in most professional sports at a time when employment and labour laws were not as robust as contemporary laws. The conditions were generally implemented to serve the economic interests of the clubs, teams, league or federation. Over time professional athletes in some sports at a national level have organized collectively and with the support of national labour relations law have collectively negotiated employment terms. Collective bargaining has enabled athletes in some competitions to become involved in the determination of working conditions.
The regulation of sport has developed according to the history of each country; there is greater government intervention in some countries than in others . Most sports in the European Union are organized within a regulatory structure that extends internationally and assumes the form of a pyramid. At the apex of the pyramid is an international federation, a private association of national federations for the sport. Its authority to regulate the sport and organize competitions between national teams will usually derive from a private contract between members. A national federation, in turn, will be an association of clubs or associations that govern the sport at a national level. A national federation is responsible for organizing, promoting and governing all aspects of the sport in its jurisdiction. Through membership to the international federation, the national federation will be contractually obliged to adhere and enforce an international
federation’s rules but only to the extent permitted by national law.
Insofar as there is a conflict between an international federation
rule and national law, the latter will usually prevail.
An international and national federation will require revenue
to pay administration costs and develop a sport internationally
or nationally. Revenue earned in a competition between
national teams will be used to pay the international federation’s
administration costs and distributed to national federations to
support the development of the sport globally. At a national level
the commercial success of a professional league supports the
development of the sport at grassroots level through payments
made by the league to semi-professional and amateur clubs. A
successful youth development policy and talent identification
program at grassroots-level can assist with the flow of talented
players into a professional league and also the success potential
of a national team. A federation or league is usually the ultimate
disciplinary authority for conduct that arises during a match.
It may also adopt regulatory rules on a wide range of matters
through decision-making processes outlined in its constitution.
The legal status of the federation as a public or private entity may
determine the extent to which it is legally obliged to consider other
affected interests in its regulatory decision-making processes.
The basis for an employment relationship is an employment
contract . The tests for establishing whether an employment
contract (or a contract of service as it is frequently termed) exists
are prescribed in common law. If an employment contract does
not exist, a party may be considered in law as a worker or selfemployed.
The advantage of employee status is that it entitles
a person to minimum statutory employment rights for which
an independent contractor or a worker may not be eligible.
Employee status is also relevant for issues of vicarious liability
under tort law, the application of trade union law, health and
safety legislation and tax law. In the context of modern contractual
relationships and working arrangements, determining whether a
contract of service exists can be difficult. The tests that the courts
have devised relate to the degree of control that one party exerts
over the other, the presence or absence of a mutual obligation,
the integration of one party into the other party’s enterprise, and
the economic reality of the situation in which the contract exists.
No single test is determinative of employee status and the weight
ascribed to each feature of the relationship differs between cases.
The label that the parties place on the relationship is also not
determinative of the status of a particular working arrangement.
Historically, control was the determining factor. If a person was
“subject to the command of his master as to the manner in which
he shall do his work”, then that person was employed.
Sport is a global phenomenon that performs many important
functions in contemporary society . It is most often mentioned
in its positive role as a tool contributing towards education of
children and young adults, a means of social integration and
overcoming cultural differences, a major source of employment
in modern society, and a vehicle towards better mental and
physical health. In addition, in its socio-cultural dimension, sport
is a part of the popular culture that entertains billions of people
worldwide. Many people identify with their local or national team,
follow their games ‘religiously’ and derive a sense of pride if their
team wins. This effect that sport has on masses and its immense
cultural importance has made it a most valuable content for
broadcasters, as well as a target for political propaganda. Sporting
activity crosses a wide range of legal subjects such as contract law,
tort law, intellectual property law, competition law, constitutional
law, labor law, internal market law and fundamental rights. It
involves everyone (people of all ages, genders, races, etc.) at all
levels (beginners, recreationists, amateurs, semiprofessionals
and professionals) and in all capacities (spectators and television
viewers, players, coaches, medical doctors, psychologists, agents,
During the recent decades the number of children and youth
involved in organized, competitive sports has increased. As a
consequence, youth sports in general, and more specifically, elite
sports for teenage youth are presently a public phenomenon .
Changes in expectations of performance at top levels, together
with the extreme training demands and the controlling of young
athletes by their coaches, parents, and the peer environment,
has resulted in public and medical concerns. The prerequisites
of athletic success in many sports rely to a great extent upon
physical characteristics, including anthropometric dimensions,
somatotype, and body composition. The relevance of morphology
is especially evident in ‘artistic’ sports, such as ballet, gymnastics,
figure skating, and diving, wherein the body is a primary element
in obtaining high performance scores, and scoring may be
influenced by the perceptions of the judges.
The importance of a well-suited ‘gymnastic specific’ body
build for reaching the highest level in artistic gymnastics is
well documented. On average, compared to reference peers
of the same chronological age, top-level female gymnasts are
characterized by a short stature, light body mass, narrow hips
with relatively broad shoulders, an ectomesomorphic somatotype,
a low percentage of body fat with a high fat-free mass, and later
maturation. Gymnastic training commences at a very young age –
for example, in are presentative sample of world-ranking female
gymnasts starting age was about 7.5 years. In many teenage girls
there is a latent pressure to obtain the ‘ideal’ gymnastic-specific
body build, especially to keep their weight, and more specifically
their percentage of body fat, as low as possible. This can lead to
substantive physical and psychological problems. From a medical,
health, and gymnastic-technical perspective, it is important to
estimate body composition characteristics in these young athletes
as accurately as possible.
One of the most important facts for every athlete is their
nutritional needs. The relationship between nutrition and sports
performance has become increasingly important due to the rise
in the number of athletes and active people that need qualified
professionals to optimize their food choices, thus supporting
exercise performance and health status . Based on the previous
assumption, the role of the nutritionist in sports such as handball
will require knowledge of the sport-specific physiological
demands of training and competition to be able to implement
dietary recommendations and strategies within the framework
of a multi-professional sports team. An individual approach is
needed to meet each athlete’s nutritional and hydration needs,
assessing nutritional status and guiding and advising based on the
evidence for health and exercise performance in athletes, sports
organizations, and physically active people.
In order to stay healthy and avoid infectious diseases,
athletes need an optimally working immune system which
can handle viruses, bacteria and other microbes encountered
every day . The immune system with its many cellular and
soluble componentsais dispersed throughout most of the body
with connecting blood and lymph vessels as a communication
web between the different immuno-active tissues. There are no
‘headquarters’ in the immune system, in the way that the brain
governs most of the nervous system. Nevertheless, certain immune
cells and signal molecules circulating between the various organs
and tissues have a paramount role in coordinating both local and
systemic responses when the immune system is activated.
With regard to its strategic operations, the immune
system resembles a military defence system with surveillance,
resistance and attacking functions. These operations are closely
integrated and essential for a well-functioning immune system, as
intelligence service, air-raid shelters and missiles are important
parts of a national defence system. However, the various immune
cells and soluble components come into play in a different way,
depending on whether the body is at rest (state of peace), or is
being challenged (state of stress) or invaded by microorganisms
(state of war). Additionally, the immune response depends on
what type of stimuli activates the immune system. Physical activity
and, in particular, strenuous exercise such as cross country skiing
is a potent stimulus for the immune system, which may result in
both activation and depression of several immune functions.
Physicians acquire information in many ways . They ask
questions. They perform physical examinations. They use their
senses of touch and smell. And, increasingly, they prescribe
various tests. Tests to measure the concentration of constituents
of blood, urine, sputum, and other body components have long
been available. Newer tests identify genetic markers associated
with the advent of various diseases. Simple x-ray examinations,
once the only noninvasive way to look inside the human body,
and exploratory surgery have been supplemented or replaced
by ultrasound, radioisotopes, magnetic resonance imaging, fiber
optics, and computed tomography-technologies that often supply
more and better information than common x-rays. But such
information is costly and does not always translate into better
treatment or improved patient outcomes.
An ideal test is cheap, produces no side effects, and is always
right in two senses: it correctly identifies a pathology whenever
it is present, and it correctly indicates its absence whenever it
is not present. Inaccuracy in either sense is clearly costly when
a beneficial treatment is available. But signaling an abnormal
condition when none is present is also damaging because it may
expose healthy patients to needless worry, costly treatments, and
perhaps to harmful side effects.
Just imagine for a moment a sports law attorney sitting with
his or her athlete-client, the client swearing that he has no clue
how that substance with the unpronounceable name ended up in
his urine and claiming that his innocence must be recognized .
Counsel then faces the delicate task of explaining to the athlete
that the rules do provide for the elimination of all sanctions in
the absence of fault, but that, unfortunately, he has the burden
of proving such absence of fault and he will not be permitted to
do so unless he is able to establish the origin of the substance.
Alternatively, imagine same counsel having to tell another athleteclient
that a low concentration of the substance in the sample
might well have assisted in demonstrating that she had no intent to
enhance her performance. Unfortunately, however, this data is not
available since the laboratory did not measure the concentration.
This was because a quantitative analysis was not required under
Sport is a multi-dimensional and complex phenomenon. In
addition to competitions, the field of sport encompasses social,
psychological, economic, political, pedagogical, scientific, medical,
philosophical, religious, cultural, legal and other values. Sport
is a social phenomenon with specific social functions and is an
expression of certain social phenomena. Sporting or any other
form of physical activity is useful and desirable, both for adults and
children. Sporting is the main factor for successful psycho-physical
growth in the life of a young person. Exercise keeps and improves
health, affects physical development and the development of traits
and skills. Sport also influences the development of personality,
the strengthening of the will, the emotional maturation, because
in the competitive sport the athlete passes for a short time through
different emotional states. The development of sports and the ever
increasing political and economic role of sport within society has
meant the immediate development and expansion of Sport law.
Sport law as an independent branch of law has recently become
more and more active and it is inseparable linked to the so-called.
traditional legal fields, such as, for example, Contract law, Tax law
and Labor law. A great influence on the development of a special
legal field is the fact that sport has a specific position in the society
which is primarily result to the autonomous position of certain
sports organizations which they have autonomous rules.
O'Leary L (2017) Employment and Labour Relations Law in the Premier League, NBA and International Rugby Union, TMC Asser Press, Springer Science + Business Media BV, The Hague, Dordrecht, The Netherlands p. 13-89.
Pijetlovic K (2015) EU Sports Law and Breakaway Leagues in Football TMC Asser Press, Springer Science + Business Media BV, The Hague, Dordrecht, The Netherlands p. 2.
Claessens AL Delbroek W, Lefevre J (2001) The Use of Different Prediction Equations for the Assessment of Body Composition in Young Female Gymnasts - Is There a Best Equation? in Jürimaäe T, Hills AP (eds) Body Composition Assessment in Children and Adolescents, Karger, Basel, Switzerland pp. 138-139.
Molina-López J, Planells E (2018) Nutrition and Hydration for Handball in Laver L, Landreau PH, Seil R, Popovic N (eds) Handball Sports Medicine - Basic Science, Injury Management and Return to Sport, ESSKA, Springer-Verlag GmbH, Berlin, Germany p. 81-82.
Ronsen O (2003) Medical aspects of cross country skiing in Rusko H (eds) Handbook of Sports Medicine and Science - Cross Country Skiing, Blackwell Science Ltd, Malden, USA pp. 101-102.
Aaron HJ, Schwartz WB, Cox M (2005) Can We Say No - The Challenge of Rationing Health Care, The Brookings Institution, Washington, USA p. 77-78.
Viret M (2016) Evidence in Anti-Doping at the Intersection of Science and Law, TMC Asser Press, Springer Science + Business Media BV, The Hague, Dordrecht, The Netherlands p. 2.
Mitten MJ, Opie H (2012) Sports Law: Implications for the Development of International, Comparative, and National Law and Global Dispute Resolution in Siekmann RCR, Soek J (eds) Lex Sportiva - What is Sports Law, TMC Asser Press, Springer Science + Business Media BV, The Hague, Dordrecht, The Netherlands p. 180-181.