ILERA Study Groups

Employment Relationship in Sport

Prof. Michele Colucci
Ruhlplein 6
3090 Overijse
BE-3090 Belgium
Tel.: (+32-2) 767-1305
Fax: (+32-2) 767-1305

The study group is open to everyone interested in research on sports law and policy.

Sport performs several functions in society: an educational, a social, a cultural as well as a recreational function. Nevertheless sport is also business: in economic terms, it is a rapidly growing area accounting for 3% of world trade and is one of the sectors most likely to generate new employment in the near future.

International and national sports association regulate this business in an autonomous way and adopt private regulations or by-laws, including organisational, disciplinary rules as well as rules of play. However, the trend towards more professionalism in sport and its growing economic and relevance have prompted an increasing reliance on legal rules adopted by governments and international organizations such as the United Nations, the Council of Europe, and the European Union.

Sport is also considered as a “special sector” and therefore workers are considered as “special workers”. In that regard the Court of Arbitration for Sport (the International Sports Arbitration body) stated that: “In sport, unlike in other employer-employee relationships where the employee is generally the weaker party, players are not regarded as the weaker party per se” (CAS 2008/A/1519&1520, FC Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine) v/ Mr. Matuzalem Francelino da Silva,)

In other words, it seems that the so-called “specificity of sport” could justify a limitation of the Athletes fundamental rights as workers.

On the basis of the above considerations The ILERA Study group on Employment Relationship in Sport shall focus on sensitive issues like:

  • The specificity of Sport,
  • The organization of sport: the American and the European models,
  • Transfer rules,
  • Contract stability,
  • Players' agents regulations,
  • Nationality clauses,
  • Salary caps,
  • Training compensation systems,
  • Medical and doping issues.
The research carried out on the basis of the above topics will aim to foster closer relations among colleagues in this specific sector and, at the same time, to promote an international understanding of new employment issues in sport.