Sports, as a profession is rapidly gaining popularity and the need for a codified system of law with sports as its sole focus is the need of the hour. Taking specifically the case of India, the scope of sports in India is finally widening from just cricket, with the emergence of tournaments such as Premier Futsal, with some of the greatest legends the sport has ever seen, and the Indian Super League India is finally trying to break the stereotype that Indians are not good at sports other than cricket.
Furthermore, there are various other competitions conducted to increase popularity and help develop other sports such as badminton, tennis and even indigenous sports such as kabaddi are finally being given the chance to develop.
After decades of slumber, when one tries to develop something from scratch, issues are bound to arise. Taking the case of Premier Futsal, the Brazilian legend Ronaldinho had to leave early as his country needed him, thankfully this situation was resolved amicably which may not always be the case.
As India enters a new age of Sports entertainment and development in India, it is extremely pivotal that it takes sports law as a serious division. The merger of the ISL and the I-League will lead to further complications both within and amongst teams and players unless India develops sports law to the required extent it will be very difficult to settle disputes which may arise during the tournaments. It would be impossible for the ordinary courts to handle issues and disputes occurring in the sporting world as they are already backlogged with both criminal and civil cases.
Another recent example of the necessity of Sports law and the extent to which it has already developed is the case of Mohammad Salah and his loan period at Fiorentina from Chelsea, where Chelsea had been sued for allegedly breaking the contract with Fiorentina which both FIFA and the CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sports) had dismissed. Such an incident would’ve have led to serious issues in India.
The need for a separate segment of law dedicated to sports is also clear from the IPL match-fixing incidents and the ban which had been briefly placed on India’s Olympic Association (IOA). The IPL match-fixing scandal was an eye opener as the players were charged with criminal offences as it was not easy to determine what category the offence fell under, which would not have been the case if there existed a segment for Sports law. Cases such as the Narsingh Yadav case, which highlighted the subpar implementation of doping tests as compared to world standards as well as the poor judgement that the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) had given on the case, shows the need to improve the current structure of Sports law in the country.
Sports law is a tried and tested segment of law in countries such as the United States, though it is considered to overlap various other segments such as labour and contract law, sports law is granted the authority to act as a decision-making body in the realm of sports in the United States. This has helped in the advancement of sports in the country and shows the need for India to follow suit and opt for such a legal system.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Vittal is currently a Second- Year law student studying at O.P. Jindal Global Law School. He is also pursuing a career in accounts as an aspiring ACCA. Academic interests include; sports, economics, contracts and accountancy. Hobbies include; listening to music, watching tv shows and movies.