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Update: sports law

Oliver Hunt and Simon Thorp consider breaches of sporting regulations in Formula 1 and rugby, football managers’ contracts and the new rules on third party ownership of players

27 October 2009

Since the last sports law update (Solicitors Journal 153/14, 14 April 2009), Formula 1 has once again come under the legal spotlight. On 21 September 2009, the World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) found that members of the ING Renault F1 team had conspired to cause a deliberate crash at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix in breach of the International Sporting Code (‘the code’) and F1 Sporting Regulations. There are a number of legal ramifications of the WMSC’s decision:

(a) Immunity from sanctions

Whereas Renault’s team principal, Flavio Briatore, was banned for life from motor sport and the team’s director of engineering, Pat Symonds, was handed a five-year ban, Nelson Piquet Jnr, the driver who deliberately crashed, was granted immunity even though the WMSC had concluded that the extent of the conspiracy was limited to these three individuals. This was because no investigation would have been possible without Piquet first coming forward a...

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