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Lawyers turn pro as sports governance kicks off

Edward Grayson, the barrister and pioneer of the field of sports law in England, once commented that ‘the rule of law in sport is as essential for civilisation as the rule of law in society generally.’ That observation has never seemed more apposite than now: every day it seems we read of a new challenge for sports law on the back pages of newspapers and, perhaps more worryingly, on the front pages.

29 March 2016

I was fortunate to begin my academic career and to develop my interest in sports law when the subject was still in its infancy and, as a sports lawyer, I was regarded as something of a curiosity. It was not so very long ago that the description ‘sports lawyer’ signified a generalist, versed in a range of issues from crime and tort to some contract and commercial law. 

The revolution that has occurred over the subsequent two decades has been remarkable. The Bosman judgment triggered a whole new area of study and practice in EU sports law; similarly, the role and significance of sports arbitration, especially that of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), has been transformed. 

These are but two of the most notable examples. From the generalist discipline of 20 years ago, we now have sports lawyers with wide-ranging specialisms in corruption, match-fixing, anti-doping, child protection, discrimination, media, employment, and intellectual ...

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