Whilst the global growth in football continues unabated, the continued boom in the industry has seen an associated growth in both the number and value of international disputes between clubs, players and intermediaries. Centrefield has experienced this growth first hand, advising a variety of participants on disputes across the sport. The firm recently published an article in the European Professional League Legal Newsletter summarising of the legal framework for dispute resolution within football and examining the international and domestic positions for participants in the industry. In particular the article emphasises the limitations football regulations place on the ability of participants to launch claims or resolve disputes outside of the football regulatory framework. Those involved in any dispute may be surprised to find the usual role of national courts for resolving disputes within football is considerably limited. The article also provides some useful considerations for industry participants on how to prepare for and protect against any issues arising when navigating the football landscape, including:
#1 Identifying mandatory pathways – both at the time of drafting a contractual agreement and when faced by an impending dispute, it is important to be aware of the mandatory dispute resolution pathways to which you are bound (in particular through the membership of a league, national association and ultimately FIFA).
#2 Getting the contract right – where possible you should seek to agree clear dispute resolution provisions at the outset of any contractual arrangements, noting that any arbitration provisions should be compatible with the mandatory dispute resolution pathways set out in the applicable rules and regulations. Such provisions should be clear on the nature of disputes to which they relate, the forum, and any relevant procedural considerations, including the language and timeframe of any proceedings.
#3 Seeking advice – the various forums available to participants can be a labyrinth to those with limited experience of such matters and getting the process wrong can be costly. It is therefore important to seek early advice on the options available in any dispute and where possible before committing to any proposed contractual arrangements.
The full article can be viewed here.
If you would like more information on any of the points raised above or any advice in connection with any potential or ongoing disputes, please contact Matthew Bennett (Partner) or Jennifer Norris (Associate), or call 0161 672 5450.
Please note the information contained in this briefing is intended as a general review of the subject featured and is not intended as specific legal advice.