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Updated: 13 hours 32 min ago

Combatting the threat of drones to sports media and data rights

Tue, 2021-06-08 07:56

There has long pervaded the issue of unofficial filming and data collection in-stadia. From “courtsiding” at tennis matches to fans posting unauthorised video clips of goals from football matches on social media, this unofficial data collection can potentially significantly dilute the value of the media and data rights for rightsholders.

Fortunately, rightsholders have become increasingly proficient at dealing with individuals in-stadia who are operating in breach of the terms and conditions of entry, with dedicated staff employed to identify and eject them from the premises.

But what happens when the unauthorised collection of data or footage occurs outside of stadia?  To try and get to the bottom of this, we will look at the growing use of drones to capture video footage, the legal protections that may be available to sports media rights holders and take a glance at what may be coming on the horizon. This article examines:

  • The growing use of drones to capture video footage
  • The legal protections available to sports rights holders:
    • Health and safety actions
    • In-stadia vs outside of stadia (breach of ticketing terms)
    • Privacy laws
  • Copyright and / or trademark infringement
  • Comment
AuthorMatthew Curran-Whitburn

Tokyo Olympics 2020: A Comparison of the Selection Procedures For British Cycling, Athletics & Swimming

Fri, 2021-05-07 06:26

This article reviews the 2020/2021 Tokyo Olympic Games selection criteria for British athletes in the disciplines of Cycling, Athletics and Swimming and considers themes, trends and the scope for potential challenge. It also looks at how dissatisfied athletes can appeal each process.

AuthorLydia Banerjee James Green

The Racing Partnership Case – The Rights and Obligations Of Distributors Of Live Sports Betting Data

Wed, 2021-04-28 08:46

The Court of Appeal’s recent judgment in The Racing Partnership v Sports Information Services[1]  is essential reading for practitioners advising those who seek to exploit live sporting data as a commercial asset. Reversing the judgment of the High Court, the Court of Appeal held that Sports Information Services was liable for unlawful means conspiracy, but not for breach of confidence, in collecting and distributing key ‘race day’ data from horseracing arenas which The Racing Partnership had an exclusive contractual right to exploit.

This article examines the background to the case and the implications of the judgment for the law of breach of confidence/misuse of confidential information and unlawful means conspiracy.

AuthorHollie Higgins

Inappropriate Tweets & The 'Duty Of Curiosity': Why The Swiss Federal Tribunal Ordered The Sun Yang Case Be Reheard

Fri, 2021-03-19 04:41

Chinese elite swimmer Sun Yang (the Athlete) has managed to occupy the headlines of international sports arbitration in recent years.  After public hearing at the Court of Arbitration For Sport (CAS), which included several motions filed with the Swiss Federal Tribunal (SFT)[1] during the CAS proceedings itself, the SFT’s most recent judgment constitutes the first in the CAS history where the SFT annulled a CAS award for bias of its Panel Chair, Mr. Franco Fratini. The CAS Award had imposed an eight-year ban on the Chinese swimmer Sun Yang due to an anti-doping rule violation.  Now the case will be reheard.

This article examines the SFT’s decision and its implications, looking at:

  • The Athlete’s requests to the SFT;
  • Whether the Athlete should have raised concerns earlier (the “duty of curiosity”);
  • How the impartiality of an arbitrator is assessed;
AuthorDespina Mavromati

From rags to riches: what next for salary caps in football?

Thu, 2021-03-18 04:40

A month ago this week, the English Football League (EFLconfirmed[1] that it would immediately withdraw salary caps for League One and League Two clubs that had been ruled unlawful by an independent arbitration panel. Back in August 2020, League One and League Two clubs voted in favour[2] of fixed salary caps, limiting their budgets for wages, taxes, bonuses, image rights, agents’ fees and various other fees and expenses to £2.5 million and £1.5 million respectively. The new rules went over and above the existing Financial Fair Play Regulations[3] which are designed with football’s long-term financial sustainability in mind.

The successful challenge[4] was brought by the Professional Footballers Association (PFA), which argued on behalf of its members that the EFL had introduced the change without consultation and agreement. In doing so, the EFL breached the collective bargaining agreement that governs the employment of professional footballers in England, the Professional Football Negotiating and Consultative Committee (PFNCC) constitution[5], by introducing “major changes in the regulations of the Leagues affecting a Player’s terms and conditions of employment… without full discussion and agreement in the PFNCC”. When the salary caps were rushed through last August, there was no consultation and therefore no agreement.

Momentous as it is, the decision – the reasons for which, for now, remain unpublished – means that a very short chapter in the financial regulation of modern English football, prompted in large part by the severe impact of the Covid-19 crisis, has closed almost as quickly as it opened. But it is more than likely that English football is nowhere near the end of this particular tale.

AuthorWill Bordell

The FA V Nathaniel Mendez-Laing – A New Approach To Substances Of Abuse In Sport

Wed, 2021-03-10 06:01

On 12 February 2021 The FA published the written reasons[1] in the case of The FA v Nathaniel Mendez-Laing[2]. This case concerned charges brought by The FA against the Player under The FA Anti-Doping Regulations 2019-20[3] (19-20 ADR), following the Player having provided a urine sample after his match for Cardiff City FC against Bristol City FC on 4 July 2020 which subsequently tested positive for metabolites of cocaine.

The Player was notified of his anti-doping rule violation (“ADRV”) on 14 August 2020 and provisionally suspended from participating in all first team and non-first team matches from that date. He was formally charged by The FA on 12 November 2020. Following evidence being submitted by both parties, the case was heard by a Regulatory Commission on 20 January 2021.

This article examines:

  • The new Substances of Abuse regime
  • The principle of 'lex mitior' (the less severe law applies)
  • Conclusion

It is important to note that at the time of being charged, the Player was subject to the 19-20 ADR. However, by the time the case was heard, the 19-20 ADR had been replaced with the updated, and significantly amended, FA Anti-Doping Regulations 2021[4] (2021 ADR). The 2021 ADR incorporated the FIFA Anti-Doping Regulations 2021[5] (which in turn reflected the 2021 World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code[6]) and came into force on 1 January 2021.

AuthorPhilip Hutchinson

How Brexit Affects Sports Broadcasting In The UK And Europe

Fri, 2021-02-26 07:24

Even before the Brexit vote, the UK broadcasting industry has in recent years been faced with a high degree of legal and regulatory change and upheaval. Media rights to sports properties have traditionally been sold on a territorial basis, with a different national broadcaster granted exclusive rights in their official licensed territory. However, this approach has frequently been at odds with European Union (‘EU’) rules on freedom of movement, and specific legal initiatives under the EU’s Digital Single Market programme, which in general terms are aiming to break down territorial boundaries and unify markets across the EU.

On 1 January 2021 the UK’s transition period for leaving the EU came to an end under the terms of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (‘TCA’). This article looks at some of the key areas where EU law has impacted on how sports media rights are acquired and sold, and the resulting impact that Brexit will have on this legal landscape.  

AuthorConor Hume Craig Giles