Sporting Rules/Regulations Part 7

A response to the question that critically considers the self-regulatory sporting rules and the impact of the same on the UK Domestic Laws, The ECJ jurisprudence and the inpact of the EC White Paper on Sport: written by Football Agents and Sports Lawyers:


It is argued that money in football has been centralised on a few top PL clubs,94 with the majority of smaller clubs run by inexperienced but passionate boards, whose only mind was on the intricacies on what happens on the pitch and not the balance sheet. Against this backdrop there is only one bastion of human truth that is inevitable; if you welcome big money with open arms you expect the devil and corruption to follow by those in control. With clubs sold out to bigger and greater entities, greed took a foothold. The Governing Bodies failed to put the devil to the sword and allowed short-term finance and mismanagement to run sacred clubs of worship to the dust only to rise phoenix like, from the ashes reincarnated into another form.

Whilst this statement is quite dramatic and sceptical it is reasonably foreseeable that mis-management in club finance was clearly on the cards, where Regulation had taken an arms-length, non-abrasive approach. That it was only with high profile insolvency of clubs that Governing Bodies reacted.

The self-regulatory rules considered in this paper can be seen as anti-competitive, restrictive and will only serve to preserve the status of the football hierarchy. Certainly Governing Bodies tend to be slow to react, inward looking full of self-preservation95 or in need of modernisation96 but from an objective point of view, the self-regulatory rules discussed in this paper are clearly designed for the long term good of the game; to preserve financial stability and controlling those with influence and power. Such ideals are fair and proportionate to the legitimate sporting objectives as expounded by Meca­Medina. Against this backcloth of arguments one thing must prevail, that Governing Bodies must be granted a degree of autonomy to self-regulate but shall not be left to their own devices and be kept under supervisory control by the Commission and ECJ. Recent history arguably provides a cautionary tale why this must be.97 Governing Bodies, must be fit for purpose, professionally run and attuned to various competing internal and external demands otherwise they too may face similar sanctions for getting it wrong.98

It can be argued that the self-regulatory measures discussed here, are necessary as UK Laws on Insolvency and competency of directors have failed football. That the Governing Bodies are making a stand and clearing out unsavoury characters and incompetence creating stronger, more professional and robust financial club structure. Whilst the rules discussed in this paper may be harsh to some individuals, as a whole, they have served a legitimate purpose.

94 Alan Keen MP, "Report: "English Football and its Governance " (2009) 7 (7) WSLR6

95 Thorp & Leadcramer "Self-regulation of sport: arguments for and against  (2010) 8 (8) WSLR 7. in particular page 5.

96 See Burns Report on modernisation of the Football Association

97 Ibid: Walgrave & Koch, Bosman, Meca-Medina & MOTE

98 See Burns Report 2005 and Thorp & Leadcramer "Self-regulation of sport: arguments for and against (2010) 8 (8) WSLR 7.

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An original essay written by Football Agents and Sports Lawyers


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