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Sports Corruption: Sporting Autonomy, Lex Sportiva and the Rule of Law
journal contributionposted on 2023-07-26, 14:30 authored by Tom Serby
An apparent escalation in on-field corruption (doping and match-fixing) in professional sports has led to increasing numbers of athletes facing bans and a loss of livelihood as a consequence of decisions taken by sporting tribunals, as part of a regulatory system referred to as lex sportiva. This has led to challenges in domestic courts from athletes over the lawfulness and fairness of these proceedings (for example Pechstein and Kaneria). These challenges to the legitimacy of lex sportiva (and to the principle of the autonomy of sport) echo Foster’s (2003) critique of lex sportiva/global sports law as: "a cloak for continued self-regulation by international sports federations…a claim for non-intervention by both national legal systems and by international sports law… [which] opposes a rule of law in regulating international sport." The paper considers what is the ‘rule of law’ that regulates on-field corruption, and concludes that it is a complex web of law, since sports governing bodies now share with the state many aspects of the sanctioning of on-field corruption. The paper considers how the doctrine of ‘the autonomy of sport’ has informed the development of lex sportiva in regard to athlete corruption, and the competing claims of private sports law and national legal systems over the regulation of athlete corruption.
Publication titleEntertainment and Sports Law Journal
PublisherUniversity of Westminster Press
- Published version