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Lex Sportiva by Humphriessportslaw - 4d ago

If we asked people in the street what they thought of intermediaries I’m sure many would be critics with negative views, labelling them money grabbers or blame them for the hyper-inflation of transfer prices. While supporters might argue that intermediaries constitute an essential part of the football ecosystem. What neither would really consider is whether FIFA should regulate this group or not, but it’s an essential concern for FIFA to consider.

In order to understand the context for the oncoming reform on the way intermediaries are regulated we have to cast our minds back to the FIFA Players Agents Regulations issued in 2008. FIFA Players Agents Regulation was a complex system of regulations based on the concept of an “agent” as a person who, for a fee, negotiates employment contracts to conclude transfer agreements.

Under the Agents Regulations system it was actually very difficult to become an agent: You had to be licensed by the relevant association. When qualified you could only represent one party in a negotiation and any international disputes where agents were involved would be settled by the FIFA Players Status Committee.

After a few years of the complex regulations FIFA realised that their system was not up to scratch and did not meet their expectations. Some deficits that FIFA identified were that:

  1. Only 25% to 30% of acting agents actually had a license;
  2. Agents and clubs preferred not to report transactions in which they participated;
  3. There were many discrepancies between national regulations regarding the activities of agents;

Due to these failings FIFA issued the Regulations on Working with Intermediaries in April 2015 and this is the regulatory system that operates today.

Unlike the previous regime, this system is based in the concept of an “intermediary” as a natural or legal person who, for a fee or free of charge, represents players and/or clubs in order to conclude an employment contract or represents clubs in negotiations to conclude transfer agreements. In contravention with the FIFA Players Agents Regulations 2008, FIFA decided to deregulated Agents. This meant that intermediaries no longer needed a license in order to provide services. In fact, any person regardless of their expertise could be involved in a player’s transfer for example. Other relevant changes were that intermediaries were able to represent a player and a club. This meant that dual representation was permitted as long as both the club and the player consented in writing and prior to the start of the negotiations and established which party shall remunerate the intermediary. Furthermore, since intermediaries were out of the football ecosystem, the Player’s Status Committee (or any other FIFA dispute resolution body) no longer had jurisdiction on matters relating to intermediaries.

Yet again FIFA found that such a system of regulations didn’t achieve the desired objectives that they were looking for. During a conference by Emilio García Silvero (Chief Legal Officer, FIFA) entitled “Towards a new Regulatory Framework for the Transfers of Football Players: Evolution or Revolution? held at the “Instituto Superior de Derecho y Economía (ISDE)”, he mentioned:

“It was a mistake to de-regulate agents in 2015”

It seems as if regulation is back in fashion and he hinted that important changes will be introduced including a licensing system administered centrally by FIFA through a web-based examination, which an aspiring intermediary will be required to pass in order to practice. The aim of this was to ensure integrity and regain trust in the profession. Bringing intermediaries back into the fold also affords them access to the effective and efficient dispute resolution systems of FIFA/CAS. FIFA also intended to create a “clearing house” through which all payments to intermediaries will be registered in order to better understand and regulate the way intermediaries are paid. There will also be guidelines that prohibit conflicts of interest in dual representation cases. For example representing:

  • Player + Engaging Club = allowed
  • Player + Releasing Club = prohibited
  • Releasing Club + Engaging club = prohibited

In relation to the famous recommended pay cap for services it is important to mention, that apparently such remuneration would not be limited, as long as all the parties are aware of the payments made to the intermediaries. This increases transparency as all parties must be aware of all different steps undertaken within negotiations, including the agent’s fees and any payments directly or indirectly related to the player. Finally, there will be a sanctioning system in place to deal with non-compliant clubs, players and intermediaries.

It seems that radical change is on the horizon and despite FIFA’s best intentions the effectiveness of the proposed measures remain unclear. Most of the changes seem promising and positive. FIFA’s willingness to admit the failings of the previous system are a sign that changes will continue to be made with the sole purpose of improving the the sport we love the most. Let’s see how things all unfold…

Santiago Barroso Torres

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Lex Sportiva by Humphriessportslaw - 1w ago

“The Fifa Women’s World Cup France 2019 is going to be the biggest women’s sporting event of the year”- Sarai Bareman (Fifa’s chief women’s football officer)

The FIFA 2019 World Cup (FIFA WC) has been running from the 7th June to 7th July 2019 in France, where 24 countries face each other in a competition of 52 matches. The host cities are Grenoble, Le Havre, Lyon, Montpellier, Nice, Paris, Reims, Rennes and Valenciennes. On these stages, 552 of the best professional players will battle for football’s greatest trophy. The favourites for this competition were the Canadians, the Brazilians and the current champions, the US national team (USWNT). But, let’s go back in time to understand the importance of this years competition.

International Women’s Day 

On March 8, 2019, International Women’s Day, the official poster of the FIFA 2019 World Cup was revealed with the slogan, “Dare to Shine” (Le Moment de Briller, in French). The poster and the slogan together reflect the desire to empower girls and women through the love of the game, and more widely the love and practice of sports worldwide.

Adidas, one of the official sponsor of the competition announced that all the players on the winning team would receive the same bonus pay given to their male counterparts. Adidas seems to want to focus on  celebrating the champions of the tournament, and not the sex of the players on the field. 

On the same day he USWNT filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against U.S. Soccer. In a country were football, or “soccer” is a sport democratised by women, all 28 players of the national team are accusing the federation of “institutionalized gender discrimination.” 

In the United States, the legislation called Title IX passed as a part of the Educational Amendments of 1972, commonly referred to as the “Gender Equity Statute” prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex. There is also a law called the Equal Pay Act (1963), which prohibits differential pay on the basis of sex, for substantially similar work. For instance, a sports program that allocates more funding to the men’s program than the women’s is in violation of Title IX and the Equal Pay Act. The remedies they seek are estimated to be worth millions of dollars. This legal challenge by the USWNT turned the World Cup from an already exciting sporting competition into a platform to promote equal rights. 

Prize Money 

This year’s competition is going to experience the first edition of Club Benefits Programme, in order to develop women’s game and improve its professionalisation to the tune of $8.48 million. The main goals of the programme are:

  • To recognise the importance of professional clubs in creating a high-performance environment for the best players in the world
  • To encourage clubs around the world to set up such high performance environments for the most talented players during their training years
  • To provide funding on a global scale
  • To reward to clubs whose players are participating in the World Cup

This is how the money is divided: 

This year the prize money is double the amount awarded in the 2015 World Cup in Canada, from 15 to 30 million. (Still only 7.5% of the $400 million total prize money awarded to the 2018 men’s World Cup champions)

FIFA president Gianni Infantino believes “It’s a very important message for women’s football. It will certainly boost this World Cup even more,” 

The prize money increase is a nice start but it still has a long way to go, at this rate,  according to the Australian players’ union it will take until 2039 to reach equal pay.

Record Breaking

The competition began with a sold-out Parc des Princes with hosts France facing Korea, and interest in the competition has grown and grown. FIFA’s French organisation committee created a commercial strategy to fill the stadiums for every game, and it is woking: the semi final tickets and the final tickets were sold out after 48hours.

It has been a competition for record breaking and despite the Brazilian national team being knocked out let’s celebrate individual players accomplishment:

  • FORMIGA, 41 years old, was playing her 7th FIFA world cup, a record in both men and women’s tournament. In fact according to FIFA’s official website “150 players in France 2019 were not born when Formiga made her debut in 1995” for the Brazilian national team.
  • MARTA, 33 years old, captain and 6 time winner of FIFA World Player of the Year became the top scorer in the World Cup history (all genders) by scoring a penalty against Italy on the 18th June in Valenciennes. Marta reached a total of seventeen goals surpassing German player Miroslav Klose who has 16 goals at in World Cup.

This year the World Cup reached further than it ever has before. There has been a global infatuation to advertise, talk and promote the competition. All of the 52 matches were produced in ultra high definition and covered by over 130 Media Rights Licensees. There have been a record number of people watching the matches on TV, records not excepted but welcomed by broadcaster who took a chance on the World Cup 2019 and were right to do so. 

Who will lift the trophy of the FIFA 2019 World Cup? Find out tomorrow as the USA take on the Netherlands!

Let’s hope the USA wins so we can see another Trump twitter meltdown… 

Amiinah Rawa 

P.s. I hope readers noticed that in this article, the tournament was simply referred to as ‘the competition’, or the ‘World Cup’ – No need to qualify it with the players’ genders. 

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Lex Sportiva by Humphriessportslaw - 2w ago

While you read this I want you to keep two questions in mind:

  1. Are young players being protected or kept from having opportunities?
  2. Are FIFA giving preferential treatment to Europeans?

Becoming a professional football player is the dream of many children around the world. As the most popular sport on the planet, it’s no surprise that in many countries kids start practicing very young to develop their skills so perhaps one day they might be sufficiently experienced to sign a professional contract with a club. Sometimes young players try alternatives outside of their home country, where they may have more opportunities. Minors in football is nothing new or a rare, however, can minors actually move to foreign countries to seek their dream of becoming – who knows? – the next Messi?

  1. FIFA’S RULES

FIFA established in the Regulations of Status and Transfers of Players (RSTP) a specific chapter for the international transfers of minors, referring to it as protection of minors in football. Initially, FIFA RSTP defines the term minors as a concept regardless of each country’s law in relation to maturity; it’s an objective concept aiming for international unification. The RSTP provides the relevant rules for the protection of minors in Article 19:

  1. THE GENERAL RULE AND THE EXCEPTIONS

As provided by Art. 19(1), an international transfer of a player is only permitted if the player is over the age of 18. According to FIFA, such protection is necessary to provide minors a stable environment for their training and education, as well as to avoid the abuse of minors. This used to happen in the past, in situations where clubs transferred them, but if they didn’t perform, abandoned them, leaving them alone without assistance.

Art. 19(2), however, provides exceptional cases that an international transfer of a minor can be authorised:

  1. The first one, Art. 19(2)(a) is when the player’s parents move abroad for reasons not related to football. In this scenario, a transfer may be allowed for the minor to follow his parents moving their home, and not the other way around, meaning that the transfer of the minor to a foreign club can’t be the reason for the family to move abroad.
  2. The second exception Art. 19(2)(b) is in cases where the international transfer takes place within European Union (EU) territory or the European Economic Area (EEA) and the player is aged between 16 and 18. In such a scenario, the new club must meet the requirements listed on the provision for the transfer to be authorised.
  3. The third situation allowed by FIFA is the ‘border rule’, self-explained by the provision of Art. 19(2)(c) where the player lives sufficiently close to the neighbouring country.

Although not expressly mentioned by the RSTP, there are other circumstances in which FIFA may authorise the international transfer of a minor: The list of exceptions isn’t exhaustive. Amongst these other exceptions there’s the transfer of refugee minors, both accompanied and unaccompanied by the parents, known as a ‘transfer for humanitarian reasons’, mentioned by FIFA in Circular Letter number 1635. A further exception admitted by FIFA is when the minor moves abroad for study reasons, for example, international student programs for limited time periods. Both these exceptions can be found on FIFA Minor Application Guide, and FIFA mentioned during the 2018 Football Law Review that they would be included in the RSTP soon.

It’s worth mentioning that these same rules provided for transfers apply to the first registration of the minor, as determined by Art. 19(3), in case they aren’t a national of the country in which they wish to be registered for the first time and have not lived continuously, for at least the last five years in the said country, the so-called ‘5 years rule’.

So, again: can minors be transferred internationally?

The general rule is the prohibition of the international transfer of minors. However, if certain requirements are fulfilled, some exceptions are accepted by FIFA. The authorisation of the transfer or the first registration is subject to the approval of FIFA Players’ Status Committee, as provided by Art. 19(4).

What about these exceptions? More specifically, does the possibility of transferring minors from 16 to 18 years old only within the EU/EEA territory seem fair? Is there any problem with that?

  1. THE EU/EEA PROBLEM NOTICED BY CAS

Initially, according to the wording of the RSTP, the criteria seem to be territorial. However, FIFA explained in the Commentary on RSTP that such exceptions are because of an agreement reached with the EU in 2001, so as not to contravene the free movement of employees within the EU/EEA. FIFA used to interpret the rules very strictly, understanding that they would only be applicable if both clubs involved were within the EU, using a purely territorial criteria. However, since the so-called ‘VADA II’ CAS Case (TAS 2012/A/2862), in which it was understood that an exception should be made in cases where the minor was a citizen of an EU country, FIFA started authorising the exception also by the athlete’s nationality/citizenship.

Although FIFA started to interpret the relevant provision of the RSTP according to CAS understandings on ‘VADA II’ case, it hasn’t modified the wording of the article in question. Neither has it expressly disclosed such interpretation to its members through circular letters, raising doubts regarding the strict application or not of the territorial criteria, as well as discussions about a potential discrimination against athletes and clubs from non-EU countries regarding the international transfer of minors.

As seen in CAS 2016/A/4903, it was recognised that such interpretation, in certain circumstances, could lead to unequal treatment between athletes holding EU/EEA citizenship and athletes not holding an EU/EEA citizenship. The CAS Panel also pointed out that there was no apparent justification for FIFA to apply different treatment between EU/EEA citizens and non-EU/EEA citizens.

The discriminatory treatment becomes more apparent in cases of athletes holding two or more citizenships, where one of them is from an EU/EEA member – as shown in the aforementioned case where a 16 year old athlete, holding Argentinian and Italian citizenships, requested a transfer from an Argentinian club to a club in an EU country.  In this scenario, the transfer should be allowed based on the free movement of workers within the EU. However, if the transfer was from an EU club to an Argentinian club, applying the same interpretation, the transfer wouldn’t be allowed, even though the athlete was a national from Argentina, due to the fact that the transfer is only authorised if the new club is located within the EU/EEA territory. Therefore, there is an evident special treatment given by Art. 19(2)(b) of RSTP to clubs and athletes from EU/EEA members.

In its conclusion, CAS expected FIFA to duly consider the findings of the award and to determine whether to amend the regulations, or to adopt a different interpretation of the rule through circular letters, or otherwise. However, so far there hasn’t been any change, apart from revealing that the protection of minors in the agenda for next regulatory reforms, although FIFA didn’t specify how things would change.

  1. SO WHAT NOW?

The protection of minors is an extremely important matter in the world of football and FIFA plays a very important role. Nevertheless, such protection can’t be followed by discrimination or preferential treatment to some. If the financial gap wasn’t already an advantage for European clubs, there’s also this ‘minors transferring’ advantage, permitted by FIFA itself, which was supposed, contrarily, to promote equal competition. Although FIFA must comply with EU law regarding free movement of workers, it shouldn’t allow that compliance to give an improper advantage to EU/EEA members over non-members. Moreover, it should also take into account the law of other jurisdictions, especially when it comes to the minimal legal age to sign professional contracts – for instance, in Brazil, it’s 16 years old.

Delving deeper into the problem, why limit this exception only to players from 16 to 18 years old? If a minor is younger than 16 years old and their family holds EU citizenship in addition to their home country citizenship, and the family is able to provide for them  to follow their dream abroad, and if the national laws of the country allow them to do so, why keep this family from trying to achieve the kid’s dream? Why limit the opportunities for young players?

It’s time for FIFA to review the protection of minors in the RSTP, including the transfer system for young athletes. The rules from 2001 can’t be applicable almost 20 years later especially seeing how quickly society, but more importantly, football changes.

Thomás Prestes Bosak

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Real Madrid recently signed Belgium star Eden Hazard. To conclude the deal, the Spanish club had to sign, inter alia: 

  1. A transfer agreement with Chelsea FC, which stipulated a transfer fee of around €100 million and
  2. An employment contract with the player.

When such a big star like Hazard is transferred to a top club like Real Madrid, it is common to see a video of the player undertaking a medical exam before his presentation. But does this medical exam take place before or after the signature of the transfer agreement and the employment contract?

Does it really matter?

Yes. A lot.

It is very common for a lawyer, when drafting a contract, to include clauses, which only are “subject to” another act from the counter party.

When it comes to the football industry, FIFA established in its regulations that some kinds of contractual clauses would not be recognised and therefore considered invalid. The main example of this is Article 18, par. 4, of the FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players (RSTP):

“The validity of a contract may not be made subject to a successful medical examination and/or the grant of a work permit.”

Therefore, if any of such conditions are included in a contract it would be disregarded by FIFA and the contract would remain valid without the disputed clause.

The question is: does it apply to all types of contracts?

No!

In CAS 2013/A/3314, the Panel ruled that “transfer agreements between football clubs can legitimately be made subject to a player passing his medical examination”. The reason for such statement resulted from the analysis of the wording of the RSTP provision. As a matter of fact, Article 18, par. 4, belongs to Section IV of the regulations, which concerns “maintenance of contractual stability between professionals and clubs”. Besides that, Article 18 provides “special provisions relating to contracts between professionals and clubs”.

Applying a prima facie literal interpretation of the wording of this provision, CAS confirmed the FIFA Players’ Status Committee’s decision and ruled that the prohibition does not encompass contracts between clubs (i.e. transfer agreements), giving effectiveness to the clauses relying on medical examinations.

Moreover, in the award CAS 2013/A/3436 the arbitrators concluded that the club and the player must proceed with the medical examination in the course of the employment negotiations – and not after the signature of the contract.

In this respect, the well-established jurisprudence of both FIFA and CAS confirms that it is possible to make the validity of a transfer agreement subject to a successful medical examination by the new club.

However, such a clause would not be deemed valid if inserted in employment contracts. Undesirable situations may arise if the lawyers advising a deal are not aware of the applicable regulations and well-established jurisprudence. Consider a situation where the transfer agreement and the employment contract are signed simultaneously and the validity of both are subject to a successful medical examination. In this instance if the player fails the examination, the transfer agreement would be deemed invalid whilst the employment contract would be considered valid and binding.

In order to avoid situations as the one explained above, it is extremely important to sign – at least – the employment contract after the approval of the player in the medical examination.

Imagine if this situation occurred with the transfer of Hazard to Real Madrid. Somebody in this story would probably lose millions – and a lawyer would probably lose their job….

Udo Secklemann

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Lex Sportiva by Humphriessportslaw - 3w ago
I. Introduction

Virtual currencies have recently captured the attention of every government, prominent software company, bank and financial institution. The concept of digital currencies such as Bitcoin has generated sudden curiosity in recent years, even to those who do not know  about the potential benefits they have to offer. Virtual currencies are based on blockchain technology, which works as a peer-to-peer network, which means that every digital cash transaction made between two individuals is registered in a decentralised ledger, independent from interference by intermediaries such as governments, banks or financial institutions.

The whole operational system is completely visible to all members of the ledger, in fact every member of the blockchain network has an up-to date copy of it. In order to verify and ensure a secure transactions history, blockchain technology draws on encrypted codes assigned to each transaction making them impossible to be duplicated, double-spent or counterfeited by an individual without the whole ledger’s consent.

II. ANALYSIS OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY IN FOOTBALL PIONEERING CASES

Over the last few years, the football industry has embraced new technologies with the purpose of improving the game in the spirit of competition. For example, FIFA decided to introduce the Video Assistant Referees (VAR) at professional football competitions in the first place. However there’s a new player on the technology market in football: Blockchain Technology.

Football clubs, have been looking for innovative ways to engage fans and sponsors while adhering with UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules.Over the past few years, football supporters have become mere spectators. The Football industry, unconsciously, had assigned them a passive and neutral role whereby they couldn’t be part or even been heard in any of their beloved clubs’ activities or decisions directly. The only way they could express their thoughts or feelings was through social media, mainly Twitter and Facebook. Football Clubs have been wondering how they can monetise their fans and attract more sponsors. Perhaps technology can increase operational efficiency which in turn means more profits for clubs? Perhaps surprisingly, Blockchain technology has been identified as an effective and suitable measure. 

1. FAN ENGAGEMENT. PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN AND JUVENTUS FOOTBALL CLUB CASES

Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Juventus Football Club (Juventus) were the first two big football clubs who dared to lead the path by implanting the most pioneering Blockchain initiatives within the football system. As a matter of fact, both clubs recently closed a partnership deal with Socios.com. Arsenal Football Club became the first team in the Premier League to engage with Blockchain with CashBet Coin, an American gambling cryptocurrency company that was named its exclusive and official Blockchain partner. (Express, City & Business News; 2018). Moreover, FansUnite, a firm focused on the sports betting and data has already signed to become an official sponsor of Leicester City FC (Celeste Skinner; 2018). What is even more surprising, a Spanish women football club called “Club Deportivo Tacón”, seated in Madrid, is about to launch the TaCoin as a result of the association with the American firm Grant Thornton. (Iusport; 2018).

On September 2018, both PSG and Juventus announced their partnership agreement with Socios.com, a Blockchain platform that allows for launching their own club-branded token. By doing so, increasing supporters’ engagement through the activation of a Mobile App while offering teams a chance to monetise their fanbase by enabling them to build their own brand and engage their audience in a meaningful way. (Cision PR Newswire; 2018).

Given that Socios.com describes itself as an online voting website, fans would be granted the right to vote on some decisions of the club by purchasing tokens. Nevertheless, this right does not include institutional nor corporate decisions, not even those related to transfers of players. These tokens, planning to be launched in 2019, will entitle fans to participate in polls linked to team’s jerseys, the stadium anthem and logos. This would also include decisions related to sporting aspects, such as Man of the Match, summer tours, friendly matches and charity line-ups.

Accordingly, fans would be able to give their feedback and make remarks about their team performance on the field. Despite all entitlements, some people would think that this fan’s feedback could be managed as it is nowadays, via social media. The implementation of such Blockchain system could be easily avoidable. However, fans’ feedback goes beyond the fact of letting the club know what they think. On one hand, this specific Blockchain platform is particularly designed for encouraging and improving fans’ engagement in clubs’ operations, activities and developments. Consequently, by sharing their opinion and participating in pools launched by the club through the app, fans would be able to gather points, gain discounts for tickets and even have access to rewards or exclusive football experiences. The system will build an entire database gathering all personal information providing fans with a private profile. Logging in will be necessary to have access to your personal account. Thus, fans would find enclosed in their personal account things as follows: the total of points they had already gained, loyalty discounts and tickets just bought for the next game, among others. (Anatol Antonovici; 2018).

Football clubs would be able to track back and collect extremely useful information provided by the fans through this app. Since club-branded tokens could involve tickets, merchandise and certain services provided at the stadium, this database will allow clubs to recognize which activities or services their fans like so they could better focus their business strategy and the way they engage their fan base.

Beyond this, there is another reason why the blockchain initiative is potentially capable of revolutionizing the powerful asset of fans. It is important to emphasize the fact that every club’s fanbase, besides representing those supporters who go to the stadium every week, include those living abroad. Those who might never get the chance to experience a home fixture live but still feel the same passion for their beloved football club and its colours. Through this app, fans from all over the world would get access to the same exclusive content as the ones who have the privilege to see their team playing on the field every week. As a result, football clubs get to enrich their fan experience. Clubs such as PSG, with more than 300 million supporters, and Juventus with more than 340 million supporters, both worldwide, could engage a wider audience by enhancing their fans commitment globally and grow into emerging markets, such as Asia and North America (Sport Industry Group; 2018).

Marc Armstrong, head of sponsorships at PSG, stated that “They (Socios.com) will work with us across multiple areas, securing data, tracking financial transactions and all the things involved through blockchain,”. He also affirmed that “Ultimately any club is about providing a better experience for their fans and creating new fans and more fans. If you do that, ultimately you will make more money as a business.” (Nicholas Earl; 2018).

1.1. CLUB-BRANDED TOKENS DO NOT REPRESENT SHARES OF THE CLUB: DIFFERENCES BETWEEN AN INITIAL COIN OFFERING AND AN INITIAL PUBLIC OFFERING

These tokens do not represent the right to vote on institutional nor corporate decisions, not even those related to transfers of players decisions; meaning that fan tokens do not represent ownership, part ownership equity or shares in football clubs. The purpose of this strategy is not to “tokenise the club’s existing corporate structure, but to focus on incentivising and monetising fan engagement and experiences via crypto” (Marie Huillet; 2018). Club-branded tokens will be created and distributed among fans through an Initial Coin Offering (ICO). Socios.com’s blockchain platform refers to it as Fan Token Offering (FTO). An FTO is like an Initial Public Offering (IPO) for stocks, with critical distinctions.

Specially, an ICO is launched when a company is looking to create a new coin, app or service, similarly to crowdfunding. So, in case of PSG and Juventus, Socios.com plans to launch the clubs’ own cryptocurrency (FTO) through a mobile and desktop app developed specially for this matter. Interested supporters will be able to buy tokens as a form of services and rights.

“The fan tokens will be tradable on the socios.com marketplace only. On the contrary, although the FTO will take place before the start of 2019-2020 season, there is no disclosure on the exact date these tokens will be released neither whether supporters would be able to pay these tokens with fiat currency6 or digital currency, such as Ethereum or Bitcoin” (LT PULSO; 2018).

While IPOs deal with investors who are interested in buying shares of a company; ICOs, in this case “FTOs”, deal with supporters who are keen on getting a new cryptocurrency with voting rights that might confer a Fan ‘VIP Status’ by granting rewards to their holders. It is worth mentioning that, when an FTO is launched, a company’s structure is not affected or modified at all. On the contrary, once the IPO is launched, the company’s social capital turns public and at least a portion of its shares are traded on a stock market. The club holding the FTO uses fans’ funds as a new asset, but nothing to do with raising the company’s capital.

It is worth mentioning that ICOs appear to offer much more freedom than IPOs in terms of structure, considering that ICOs are decentralised, and no single authority would govern them. However, ICOs are starting to capture the attention of governments and public institutions due to the high values that could be traded within the network and since different business sectors are using cryptocurrencies to manage their operations. It appears to be a sphere where governments lose control over the money and taxes that supposedly should be accrued. Therefore, governments such as China and South Korea have declared ICOs illegal due to the risk of funding criminal activities.

In Europe, for instance, ICOs are allowed although subjected to regulations. Earlier this year, the European Union created the International Association for Trusted Blockchain Applications (INATBA) with the purpose of offering developers and users of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) a global forum to interact with regulators and policy makers. Considering that it would be extremely difficult to regulate the whole crypto market, the primary idea is to impose more transparency on the information disclosed and to determine security standards and protections towards the individuals involved. All of that would lead to a legalisation of startups to raise funds using tokens and trade in the EU.

For instance, in some places such as Russia and Singapore, ICOs are legally allowed but tied to heavy regulations. In the United States, even though there are no current regulations banning ICOs specifically, they have to be registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). As a matter of heavy regulations, last year, the SEC announced that would impose civil penalties against two cryptocurrency companies that didn’t register their initial coin offerings as securities (Samuel Potter & Todd White; 2018).

2. PARTNERSHIPS

Certainly, the decentralised nature of Blockchain would help facilitate and encourage multiple partnerships. Sponsors can connect with fans in a more direct way engaging and enter a whole new market. This asset might be more valuable than advertisements at stadiums or being the official sponsor of the team’s shirt.

Clients are the most important and valuable thing at a company, brand, club or any business. However, this is about quality more than quantity. Databases are unlimited and the more information gathered about clients, the more detailed and effective marketing strategies can be designed. For this purpose, social media is extremely important as you can gather information but it would also be appropriate to get a complete record of clients. It would be interesting to know where they are from, the last purchases they made, their hobbies, their jobs, etc. This way, more targeted campaigns could be launched to engage fans in club’s activities. The more information gathered about the fans, the more value the club has to attract sponsors. A new partner is always looking to enter new markets. This means, a football club that knows its fans’ hobbies and priorities with a complete and a developed fanbase would be extremely appealing for a company looking to push a particular product.

By closing a partnership deal with a club, sponsors could offer special discounts and promotions right away to the fans through the club’s app and grant gifts to those who attend games or events organized by the club. Additionally, fans could have direct access to the sponsor’s website. In this way, sponsors could build a more personal relationship with supporters, being able to reach not only those who go to the stadium every week, but also those who are supporting the team from the distance. In fact, sponsors could reach fans worldwide.

When offering this asset to a new sponsor, clubs must be aware of the legal scope of  the European General Data Protection Regulation, (hereinafter, GDPR) which is a set of data protection rules for all European customers, regardless of where the company is seated. The new EU Regulation came into force in November 25, 2018 granting users stronger rights, allowing consumers to have control over their personal data given to any company and asking for pecuniary compensation in case rules are broken. Pursuant to this regulation, the main objective of this regulation is that users become aware of who manages their personal data and how.

The GDPR specifically alludes to the principle of transparency within the scope of Article 15, which refers to the right of users to be informed in case of any transactions of its personal data made to a third party and even in case they will be used for a different purpose. Additionally, users have the right to access and get a copy of their data managed by the business in question. Article 19 also states that whoever oversees the management of data shall inform the user every single time a rectification, elimination or limitation occurs.

More control and consent is conferred to users over their personal data through the right to be forgotten and data deleted for breach pursuant to Article 17. Furthermore, this control is reflected by virtue of Articles 16 and 18 of the GDPR. According to Article 16, users have the right to alter their data in case if incomplete; secondly, pursuant to Article 18, data can only be used for the purpose for which it is gathered. Besides that, Article 33 and 34 of the GDPR provide that businesses making use of the respective data shall inform the competent control authority and users without delay in case of any data breach.

A database cannot be transferred, sold or rented unless every GDPR requirement has been fulfilled. According to Article 6 GDPR, users must give their affirmative and express consent before their data could be used, understanding silence as non-consent. Clubs should not presume implied consent from their supporters to receive advertisements or publicity from any sponsor. Clubs should ask for every fan’s express consent in order to be legally allowed to deliver any kind of publicity to them. Let’s say a club has a database of 15,000 supporters and closes a partnership deal with a gas company. The gas company cannot, under any circumstances, address to the club’s supporters delivering any kind of promotion or advertising. Clubs become the intermediary between the sponsor and the fans through the corresponding app. In order to do that, must be the club who should contact its database informing them of the partnership agreement with the gas company through which they can get a special promotion.

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“Few things happen in Latin America that have no direct or indirect relationship with football. Football occupies an important place in reality – sometimes the most important of the places – although it has been ignored by those ideologues who love humanity but despise people.” –  Eduardo Galeano (1997).

An old wives tale says that at the birth of South America there was only land, water and a “Hincha” (a popular South American expression to refer a fan) jumping and supporting his club. We can’t easily explain where this great passion comes from, even historical sources aren’t certain but if there’s one remnant left over from European colonisation it’s the fantastic sport we call football. Modern football is directly connected to glamour, fortune, big stars and entertainment. When it comes to football, the main difference between the simple game and the billionaire business taking over the world is the existence of a bunch of fans that crowd stadiums and attach significant value to the brand of their clubs around the globe. 

Thank you football for for being played in the countryside and the cities, for breaking the neighbours’ windows, for being the most democratic sport and for giving birth to true national heroes. We can not deny that in a continent with so much poverty and inequality, football (and sport in general) is a powerful social promotion tool that takes young people out of misery and crime, provides better quality of life and leads them to success. Go to a match in South America and you won’t see the poverty or inequality but intense fans in organised models divided in two styles: The “Organizadas”, more present in Brazil, and the “Barra-Bravas”, a model created in Argentina but spread in all other Latin American countries.

Both are famous for their flags, banners, flares, reels and songs that express their love for the club during the 90 minutes of the match, but a deeper analysis allows us to say that for all this people who frequent the stadium, regardless of age or economic power, football has always represented a very large portion of their lives, embedded in their family by generations. On game days, the ritual of going around the stadium, drinking beer standing during the game and singing with friends is worth more than any result that takes place on the field. And yes, this applies to the reality of supporters from all clubs, big or small, in victory or defeat. 

During the Copa Libertadores (our Champions League) we gather clubs, fans and cultures of all countries of the continent to play and celebrate football, our way of living and being, showing the world why we are different. Then of course the competition provides dazzling games, true battles that fill the hearts of all supporters. Lines are occasionally crossed and we can’t forget the controversy surrounding the two finalist clubs of last year, Boca Juniors and River Plate, whose fans staged a terrible episode outside the field, causing the final not to be played in their motherland, Argentina, but in Spain (ironic for a competition titled to honour the heroes of independence of Latin American countries). 

 After controversy involving violence that generated an impression of “hostility” in our stadiums, Conmebol has taken a series of drastic measures to control the situation and ensure “convenience”. Conmebol published its Safety Regulations of 2019 including bizarre changes, such as prohibition of banners and flags larger than 2m x 1m:

Art. 25– Proibited Objects – It is prohibited to enter the stadium and / or manipulate, before, during and after the matches, the objects listed below:

[…]

o) Giant flags or also called “top bleachers”.

p) Hand-held flags exceeding 2 m wide by 1 m in length. The EGS will install the relevant measuring elements at the stadium inputs […] (Translated from Portuguese)

Also included in the regulations is that from 2021 all tickets should identify a seat and location, putting an end to the culture of watching games standing up, as was popularised in the concrete bleachers across the continent:

Art. 17 – Ticketing System – The club shall establish a nominal online ticketing system that allows for capacity control, reduces the possibility of forgery, sales in unauthorized places, identifies the ban on the entry of registered persons of offenses of the authorities of each country and that complies with the requirements:

[…]

i) Stand, seat number and location. […]

Sole Paragraph– This provision shall be enforced from January 1, 2021. (Translated from Portuguese)

It should also be noted that from 2019 the final of the Copa Libertadores will be played in a single-leg, on a neutral field, forcing a true “Europeanisation” in our way of enjoying the sport. Such a measure, even if turns out to be a success, already shows a big regression. The two-leg final system was extremely attractive both for the fans who attended the stadium and were present with his team throughout the campaign, and commercially because there were two games of football generating revenue and creating great shows that reinforce the identity of our football. In fact, we are facing a policy that’s increasingly alienating the faithful supporter and importing a ready-made model that has nothing to do with our culture ( like trying to fit a triangle into a circle).

We can not deny that the Libertadores has a security problem or that these new measures might provide an effective remedy. It seems that our historical inability to create safety in a stadium will now impact on our cultural identity. We’re paying the price of our sins with the only thing that still distinguishes us as producers of a sporting show fuelled by a plethora of passion. Football is intrinsic to the lifestyle of millions of South Americans and today we hear more and more that professional football is entertainment. Therefore, there is no better formula for success than linking the show to the reality of people who are part of it. Neither I nor most people would like to take a flight for 2 miles away from home to watch the final of the continent’s most important tournament sitting quietly and eating popcorn.

We don’t know if these Conmebol decisions are for the good of South American football or only to please FIFA. Ultimately, despite trying to end violence – which still occurs throughout society – they are denying the passion of the the old man who tunes into the radio for the game, the kids kicking bottle caps at the bleachers, the families that go together to watch a Sunday football match, the crowd singing, jumping and hugging strangers by their sides….

Much is said about the violence promoted by fans, but people never question the condition of available public transport, neither the cost of tickets nor the schedule of games, etc. We are little by little killing the humbleness of the game putting it out of reach of the people who value football as part of their past, present and their future. 

Eduardo Roberto Jacoub Nader

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Lex Sportiva by Humphriessportslaw - 1M ago

Why is it socially acceptable, that every time a sexual abuse scandal comes to light, (like with USA Gymnastics -Dr.Nassar) the mass response is “we knew something was going on”? As a society we encourage people to speak up, but at the same time are not taking the necessary steps to make sure none of this happens again. It feels as if being reactive is more applauded than being proactive. Speaking up is essential, it’s almost as important as prevention; but if we found a way to stop sexual abuse in sport from happening, speaking up would not even be necessary. Everyone was “outraged” when the Nassar scandal first hit the news, even the USA Gymnastics Federation. Unsurprisingly, it was later revealed that people within the USA Gymnastics Federation knew what Nassar was doing. Everyone screams out after-the-fact because it is socially expected to do so, but no one does anything to stop these abuses from happening, in fact these organisations keep covering it up. Movements like #MeToo do have their merits, but they need to go further, much further.

Everyone understands that there is a widespread sexual abuse problem in sports, yet at the same time, no one knows about it, hears about it, or talks about it. There is a systemic problem, top to bottom, in sports, especially those that involve minors, where a scandal made public would lead to such chaos within the organisation that it just “feels better” to “deal with it internally” (i.e., sweep it under the rug). Why is no one speaking about it? As long as no one says anything, it’s easy for the people to turn a blind eye and let the abuse continue.

These athletes are scared, they are fighting for their dreams, and they know that in one unlucky break, it can all be over. Athletes feel that they are paying a price for their dreams, but they pay such a high price that most of these athletes end up hating the sport they once loved. The cost of glory should not be innocence; the price of a medal should not be the love of the sport. They already work hard, they already possess the skill; athletes need people to help them reach that podium, not people that threaten to take away that dream if they don’t “do whatever it takes.” Most of these athletes are intimidated into not disclosing such abuses with taking away their chances to compete, while others fear such a possibility. In a world where only a handful of athletes are ever able to achieve their dream, it is understandable why these athletes fear to disclose and why they take so long to do so.

“No means no,” we can all agree on that. But what happens when the fear of losing the one thing they love leads to that “no” becomes a coerced “yes”? What happens when their dreams mean so much that they would give anything up for them, no matter the cost?

Organisations should care as much about athletes’ well-being as they do about their success. Safeguarding measures should be put in place and accusations need to be taken seriously. Sexual abuse scandals cannot be kept confidential and swept under the rug. Education is critical; tolerance and understanding are a must. It is simply not enough to say, “I’ll look into it,” actions need to follow, rules need to be enforced. There needs to be a procedure that teams and federations follow when they become aware of possible abuse and this procedure needs to be followed without deviation. It’s about prevention as well as management.

Although a false accusation can ruin a career, ignoring someone who claims to have been abused can destroy many lives. It’s not about making the accused guilty with only an accusation, it’s about understanding and listening to the accuser and taking allegations seriously. A career can be rebuilt; a life simply can’t.

People are afraid to disclose sexual assault, because when they do, no one takes them seriously. Can you see the problem? Today it is still taboo to accuse someone; it’s always looked at with skepticism. When someone is brave enough to step up and denounce an abuser, society doubts, ridicules, and ignores them. Accusations wouldn’t be taboo if they were taken seriously. We need to make athletes feel safe disclosing when they feel unsafe or feel something is wrong. We need the people surrounding these athletes to value their lives and not fear reporting abuse. We need athletes’ safety, so they can do what they were born to do and show the world their magic. Abusers should not, and cannot, have the power to rob these athletes of their shine.

Even worse than turning a blind eye is blaming the athletes that suffer this abuse. People say, “everyone else knew, how could you not have known?” and move on with their lives. As if saying that, since the “victim” should have known that a person was dangerous, it’s that person’s fault and no one else. The problem with this? Abusers get a free pass because if we tolerate the abuse and victim-blame, we are saying that the only person responsible for the abuse is the “victim.” Society makes athletes feel like telling someone is putting an unwanted burden on them, and therefore athletes prefer to keep quiet than to tell anyone. The problem is not sport-specific, it’s about society as a whole; tolerance, blame, and guilt should not be the norm when dealing with abuse. We should be comprehensive, caring, and understanding, that’s the problem.

The problem is not only that there is widespread abuse. The problem is that this abuse is being tolerated, ignored, and applauded. Reporting of this abuse is being ridiculed; people being abused are being threatened not to disclose. We are losing this battle, not because of how many abusers there are, but because everyone is willing to sit back and let it happen.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke

Some sports are more susceptible to abuse than others, but the reality is that athletes of all disciplines are at risk, unless society steps up. In gymnastics, for example, young athletes are taught to respect authority, to trust coaches, doctors, spotters, and staff, to do as they are told, listen to the people in charge. These views are enforced throughout their lives and careers. Athletes grow up believing that the only way to be great it is to allow coaches and staff to do whatever they want because there is no other way to make it.

The solution?

I wish it were that simple. We need to educate people, top-to-bottom within organisations, federations, and especially, in society. We need to establish safeguarding measures at every level of sport and to enforce these measures. We need to ensure athletes are well-taken care of. We need to follow-up on accusations and take them seriously. We need to help these athletes, that have been abused, cope and heal. We need to establish guidelines to prevent this from happening, but we also need procedures in case it does happen. Putting pen to paper is one thing, but it’s not enough. Anonymous questionnaires are fine, but again, insufficient. It’s not about the appearance of doing something, it’s about doing something. It’s not about seeming pro-sport, it’s about being pro-athlete. We need people that care and do something real, not just put fancy words on a piece of paper to say, “we did what we could.”

It’s not a one-word-answer. It is not a simple solution; it takes time and conscious effort from everyone involved. It’s a complicated and lengthy process that might cost money, employees, and medals. But is it worth it? More than winning gold at the Olympics.

We no longer need hashtags or reactions. We need superheroes. People that step up do the right thing and expose the systemic confidentiality surrounding sexual abuse in sports. We need to help athletes reach their dreams by only having to pay the price of hard work. We need athletes to fall in love with the sport and never out of it. We need to protect their innocence, their passion, their lives. The abuse is widespread and well known, the dreams being shattered are plenty, the lives being ruined incalculable. Education is the key to stop this abuse. It’s about time we value athletes over medals and lives over money.

Gilberto Oliveras 

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Lex Sportiva by Humphriessportslaw - 1M ago

Why is it socially acceptable, that every time a sexual abuse scandal comes to light, the mass response is “we knew something was going on”? (like with USA Gymnastics -Dr.Nassar) As a society we encourage people to speak up, but at the same time are not taking the necessary steps to make sure none of this happens again. It feels as if being reactive is more applauded than being proactive. Speaking up is essential, it’s almost as important as prevention; but if we found a way to stop sexual abuse in sport from happening, speaking up would not even be necessary. Everyone was “outraged” when the Nassar scandal first hit the news, even the USA Gymnastics Federation. Unsurprisingly, it was later revealed that people within the USA Gymnastics Federation knew what Nassar was doing. Everyone screams out after-the-fact because it is socially expected to do so, but no one does anything to stop these abuses from happening, in fact these organisations keep covering it up. Movements like #MeToo do have their merits, but they need to go further, much further.

Everyone understands that there is a widespread sexual abuse problem in sports, yet at the same time, no one knows about it, hears about it, or talks about it. There is a systemic problem, top to bottom, in sports especially those that involve minors, where a scandal made public would lead to such chaos within the organisation that it just “feels better” to “deal with it internally” (i.e., sweep it under the rug). Why is no one speaking about it? As long as no one says anything, it’s easy for the people to turn a blind eye and let the abuse continue.

These athletes are scared, they are fighting for their dreams, and they know that in one unlucky break, it can all be over. Athletes feel that they are paying a price for their dreams, but they pay such a high price that most of these athletes end up hating the sport they once loved. The cost of glory should not be innocence; the price of a medal should not be the love of the sport. They already work hard, they already possess the skill; athletes need people to help them reach that podium, not people that threaten to take away that dream if they don’t “do whatever it takes.” Most of these athletes are intimidated into not disclosing such abuses with taking away their chances to compete, while others fear such a possibility. In a world where only a handful of athletes are ever able to achieve their dream, it is understandable why these athletes fear to disclose and why they take so long to do so.

“No means no,” we can all agree on that. But what happens when the fear of losing the one thing they love leads to that “no” becomes a coerced “yes”? What happens when their dreams mean so much that they would give anything up for them, no matter the cost?

Organisations should care as much about athletes’ well-being as they do about their success. Safeguarding measures should be put in place and accusations need to be taken seriously. Sexual abuse scandals cannot be kept confidential and swept under the rug. Education is critical; tolerance and understanding are a must. It is simply not enough to say, “I’ll look into it,” actions need to follow, rules need to be enforced. There needs to be a procedure that teams and federations follow when they become aware of possible abuse and this procedure needs to be followed without deviation. It’s about prevention as well as management.

Although a false accusation can ruin a career, ignoring someone who claims to have been abused can destroy many lives. It’s not about making the accused guilty with only an accusation, it’s about understanding and listening to the accuser and taking allegations seriously. A career can be rebuilt; a life simply can’t.

People are afraid to disclose sexual assault, because when they do, no one takes them seriously. Can you see the problem? Today it is still taboo to accuse someone; it’s always looked at with skepticism. When someone is brave enough to step up and denounce an abuser, society doubts, ridicules, and ignores them. Accusations wouldn’t be taboo if they were taken seriously. We need to make athletes feel ok disclosing when they don’t feel safe or feel something is wrong. We need the people surrounding these athletes to value their lives and not fear reporting abuse. We need athletes’ safety, so they can do what they were born to do and show the world their magic. Abusers should not, and cannot, have the power to rob these athletes of their shine.

Even worse than turning a blind eye is blaming the athletes that suffer this abuse. People say, “everyone else knew, how could you not have known?” and move on with their lives. As if saying that, since the “victim” should have known that a person was dangerous, it’s that person’s fault and no one else. The problem with this? Abusers get a free pass because if we tolerate the abuse and victim-blame, we are saying that the only person responsible for the abuse is the “victim.” Society makes athletes feel like telling someone is putting an unwanted burden on them, and therefore athletes prefer to keep quiet than to tell anyone. The problem is not sport-specific, it’s about society as a whole; tolerance, blame, and guilt should not be the norm when dealing with abuse. We should be comprehensive, caring, and understanding, that’s the problem.

The problem is not only that there is widespread abuse. The problem is that this abuse is being tolerated, ignored, and applauded. Reporting of this abuse is being ridiculed; people being abused are being threatened not to disclose. We are losing this battle, not because of how many abusers there are, but because everyone is willing to sit back and let it happen.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke

Some sports are more susceptible to abuse than others, but the reality is that athletes of all disciplines are at risk, unless society steps up. In gymnastics, for example, young athletes are taught to respect authority, to trust coaches, doctors, spotters, and staff, to do as they are told, listen to the people in charge. They are taught this at a very young age and these views are enforced these views are enforced. Athletes grow up believing that the only way to make it is to allow coaches and staff to do whatever they want because there is no other way to make it.

The solution?

I wish it were that simple. We need to educate people, top-to-bottom within organisations, federations, and especially, in society. We need to establish safeguarding measures at every level of sport and to enforce these measures. We need to ensure athletes are well-taken care of. We need to follow-up on accusations and take them seriously. We need to help these athletes, that have been abused, cope and heal. We need to establish guidelines to prevent this from happening, but we also need procedures in case it does happen. Putting pen to paper is one thing, but it’s not enough. Anonymous questionnaires are fine, but again, insufficient. It’s not about the appearance of doing something, it’s about doing something. It’s not about seeming pro-sport, it’s about being pro-athlete. We need people that care and do something real, not just put fancy words on a piece of paper to say, “we did what we could.”

It’s not a one-word-answer. It is not a simple solution; it takes time and conscious effort from everyone involved. It’s a complicated and lengthy process that might cost money, employees, and medals. But is it worth it? More than winning gold at the Olympics.

We no longer need hashtags or reactions. We need superheroes. People that step up do the right thing and expose the systemic confidentiality surrounding sexual abuse in sports. We need to help athletes reach their dreams by only having to pay the price of hard work. We need athletes to fall in love with the sport and never out of it. We need to protect their innocence, their passion, their lives. The abuse is widespread and well known, the dreams being shattered are plenty, the lives being ruined incalculable. Education is the key to stop this abuse. It’s about time we value athletes over medals and lives over money.

Gilberto Oliveras 

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Lex Sportiva by Humphriessportslaw - 1M ago

It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently. – Warren Buffett

Paolo Guerrero was suspended for 14 months for testing positive for a banned substance after the game that Peru played against Argentina in Buenos Aires. To be more precise, the metabolite was a derivative of cocaine called benzoylecgonine but over the last week new facts have come to light that cast doubt over the decision to sanction the player.

When there are cases of doping in sport the athlete must be able to demonstrate how the prohibited substance entered their body. During proceedings, WADA plays the role of prosecutor and often sets out to make an example of athletes who contravene the rules. Unlike other CAS proceedings where money or other interests are the most important, there’s something far more valuable at stake here; an athletes reputation. After the due processes at CAS and the Swiss Federal Tribunal a sanction was ratified and the 35-year-old player was suspended until 5th April 2019

Firstly, what are WADA’s prohibited substances?

WADA divides substances and methods (also known as the forbidden list) into three categories:

  1. Firstly, there are substances that are always forbidden. This means that athletes are prohibited from using them both in and out of competition. Among the most prevalent are anabolic agents, peptide hormones, beta 2 agonists, hormonal modulators and diuretics. It should be noted that methods of blood manipulation, chemical-physical and genetics are also prohibited. (This involves the improvement of athletic performance by blood transfusion, manipulation of samples taken during anti-doping control and the use of genetically modified cells.)
  2. Secondly, are substances that are only forbidden when the athlete is in competition, among which stimulants are subdivided into specific categories, for example, specific and non-specific substances including narcotics like cocaine or morphine as well as cannabinoids (natural and synthetic) and finally the glucocorticoids such as cortisone. 
  3. Last but not least there are substances that are only banned in certain sports. This consists mostly of beta-blockers for sports such as motor racing, darts, golf and shooting.

In CAS anti-doping cases “there can be no question that CAS review is de novo.” This means that the court acts on a first instance basis , without considering if the issue has been previously been reviewed by another body or entity, which might have already issued an opinion or award on the matter.

So what happened to Guerrero?

While the Peruvian team was in the hotel preparing for their World Cup qualifying game, Guerrero was suffering from a very strong flu meant he didn’t feel 100% for the match. Following the recommendations of his nutritionist and a doctor from the Peruvian Football Federation, he ingested flu medication served to him by the kitchen staff in a mug of warm tea.

A few days later, after playing the match against Argentina Paolo was doping controlled and tested positive, which is where the problem of liability began. How did a derivative of cocaine get into his system? Who was responsible?

Many stories emerged about the player during the next months and although the striker could not prove innocence, his lawyer Juan De Dios Crespo appealed to the Swiss Federal Tribunal, who allowed Guerrero to play at the World Cup in Russia 2018. However, he then had to continue to serve his ban of 14 months and suffer reputational damage.

Guerrero, trusting in his innocence and asserting his right to defence, denounced the staff of the hotel after learning that they revealed confidential information to WADA in two emails dated 7th & 15th February 2018 in which, according to the player, the hotel revealed their infusion service and details of their catering deal with the Peruvian Federation of Football (FPF). The information that they sent to WADA was considered as evidence in the appeal before CAS, which ultimately sanctioned Guerrero.

Coca Tea

Part of the player’s defence at CAS was that he possibly ingested the prohibited substance due to cross-contamination, as the player admitted having ingested an infusion of tea for his flu. In the highland countries of South America, such as Peru and Bolivia, it is very common to drink coca tea to soothe headaches or general body relief. This brew is a custom that comes from ancestral times and is so common that many people (especially from the Andes) continue drinking it today. Guerrero knew this drink could cause problems during doping controls and allegedly asked the waiters of the hotel for a normal tea. So what happened?

This last week Anthony Obando and Erick Paz, a waiter and ex-waiter from the hotel spoke to local journalists in Peru. They accused the hotel of not taking adequate precaution when serving the food and drink. After years of working at the hotel, they knew that the containers in which food and beverages were supplied were not properly washed, because they sought to serve customers as quickly as possible. They pointed out that before the incident the hotel had coca tea among the infusions on the hotel menu, but that it was quickly removed after the doping case, because the hotel wanted to exonerate themselves of responsibility. They also indicated that there was a high possibility that the infusion jug that the Peruvian striker received from the kitchen suffered from cross contamination. In this regard, they expressed the following:

“The Swissotel Food and Beverage Manager, Ivan Hoyle, urged us not to testify before the Peruvian Football Federation and not tell what happened, because they would damage the hotel with their statements. Likewise, Hoyle told the employees that he would fire them if they spoke.” (Source: Diario El Comercio)

According to experts, ‘cross-contamination’ is something we hear very often when we talk about food safety and it became very important in the case of Paolo Guerrero, where workers and ex-workers of Swissotel admitted that their tea could have been contaminated. According to experts pro cross-contamination can occur when:

  • The hands of those in contact with food are not clean
  • Utensils and preparation surfaces are not sufficiently cleaned
  • Insects or rodents come into contact with food

Since the sporting sanction had already ended and the striker has returned to a great sporting level, he’ll never recover the months of worry, the time out of competition or the damage to his image and reputation. The search for truth is priceless and honour is a right that we all have especially professional athletes. Perhaps rather than Guerrero, those that knew better but who said nothing should be punished. In fact Guerrero has just taken Swissotel to the civil courts in Peru. Hopefully, the truth will soon come to light!

Franco Rodriguez

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Lex Sportiva by Humphriessportslaw - 1M ago

**Picture the scene**

Liverpool beat Barcelona 4-0 in an unlikely comeback to win their Champions League semi-final tie and set up an all English final with Tottenham. In a rush of pure ecstasy and drunken stupor a Liverpool fan, let’s call him Mo, decides that this is a unique opportunity to see their team win the coveted trophy. “That’s it” they say, Klopp seems to think we’ll win, “I’m going to Madrid for the final last minute!”. With Karius’ errors long forgotten and the excitement of 2005 still palpable in the air Mo finds a second-hand ticket for the match going on a resale website and books his hotel and plane ticket.

One month later… the Liverpool fan arrives back home to Merseyside from Madrid, grining from ear to ear after their Champion’s League victory. Their partner asks “How was your weekend darling?” Mo breaks into song, “We’ve conquered all of Europe…”.

Two weeks later… the bank statement comes through the door and reads something like this: (Information correct as of 28th May 2019)

Flights (For Saturday morning to Sunday Night)

3 *** Hotel (For Saturday 1st)

2nd hand ticket for the match

Unfortunately, as you can see Mo’s bank statement doesn’t make very happy reading. In fact he’s spent €11,627. Say goodbye to that dream car he was saving for. No more holidays for the next decade. No presents for his nieces at Christmas. Mo is broke.

Mo’s story isn’t unfamiliar and unfortunately many fans have to break the bank to watch their team play. If Mo had been a bit more organised he would have been able to get tickets at a cheaper price through Liverpool who were allocated 16,000 tickets or through the public ballot. 16,000 were allocated to Spurs fans with the remaining tickets of the 63,500 capacity stadium allocated to the local organising committee, UEFA and national associations, commercial partners and broadcasters and to serve the corporate hospitality programme. Over the weekend there were several people holding up signs reading “Buying ticket!” but they didn’t seem to have much luck. Here are what some Liverpool fans had to say about the lack of tickets for fans:

“The ticket prices are crazy and why are fans being allocated a quarter of stadium capacity? Fans are being short changed in the modern game,”

“I know we can’t influence this, but 16,000 tickets is a joke. 68,000 capacity. 32,000 to fans.”

Many fans were forced to turn to ticket touts as their only chance of attending the match…

Ticket Touting in the UK

The practice of ‘ticket touting’, where tickets for events are bought and sold at higher  prices is commonplace within the UK. If you go to any sports event you’ll often see people standing around selling their tickets to ticketless punters. Did you know that it’s actually illegal? The following legislation deal with ticket touting for football matches:

  • Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 (CJPOA 1994)
  • Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 (VCRA 2006)
  • Ticket Touting (Designation of Football Matches) Order 2007
Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994

Section 166 of CJPOA 1994 made it an offence for an unauthorised person to:

  • Sell a ticket for a designated football match or
  • Otherwise to dispose of such a ticket to another person

As s166 has been in place for a number of years, ticket tout practices evolved to find ways round the legislation. This included:

  • Offering an item (like a pen) at an inflated price with the inclusion of a ‘free’ match ticket
  • Offering tickets in exchange for other goods or services
  • Offering unauthorised hospitality style packages with a ticket included

As s166 of CJPOA 1994 became less able to combat ticket touting in football, the government brought in new legislation to bring the law up to speed.

Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006

Section 53 of VCRA 2006 amended s166 of CJPOA 1994 and continues the fight against ticket touts. It is now an offence:

  • For newspapers to carry advertising for ticket touts
  • For touts to claim that they are giving a ticket away free with another product
  • For touts to offer tickets with a wider hospitality/travel package
  • To supply touts with tickets

It doesn’t matter whether the tout is making a profit or a loss. The crux of the issue is whether public order has been jeopordised. For example, by selling tickets to stray fans you might end up with rival supporters sat next to each other, which might lead to conflict. Just imagine one lone Arsenal fan proudly wearing his team’s colours in a sea of Spurs supporters; I don’t think they’d stand a chance!

Ticket Touting (Designation of Football Matches) Order 2007

The Ticket Touting (Designation of Football Matches) Order was introduced in 2007 to increase the definition of regulated football matches to include:

  • Matches involving one or more teams who are members of the Premier League, the Football League or the Football Conference
  • Matches in England or Wales in which an international team or a club side from outside of England and Wales will play
  • Matches outside of England and Wales in which a national team representing England or Wales will play
  • Matches in the Europa League, Champions League, European Championships, FIFA World Cup Tournaments and FIFA World Club Championships.
But Mo bought his ticket on the internet?

Section 53 of VCRA 2006 includes trading on the internet within the definition of ticket touting. An offence would only arise, however, if any part of the transaction occurs within England and Wales as that is the limit of the Act’s territory. If convicted, ticket touting carries a maximum penalty fine of £5,000 and a football banning order as a preventative measure. In a statement on their official website last Tuesday morning, Tottenham confirmed they had “issued indefinite bans to three season-ticket holders” who had offered their tickets “on a secondary ticketing platform.” Perhaps a better way of protecting consumers while combating ticket touts is to offer more tickets to fans than sponsors?

Touting also poses other dangers as criminals flog fake tickets to fans. A statement from European football’s governing body Uefa read:

“Uefa has warned fans of the high number of fake tickets being sold on the black market in advance of the 2019 Uefa Champions League final in Madrid.” It continued,“It is believed that there is a high number of fake tickets in circulation and arrests have already been made in a clampdown on bogus tickets. Holders of forged tickets will not be allowed into the stadium.”

On their website Liverpool’s CL final tickets were on sale from £60 up to £513 so yes, maybe Mo could have avoided the hefty second-hand illegal ticket price but the expensive airfares were inevitable and Liverpool’s mayor was quick to call out airline easyJet for raising their prices:

Fans were quick to side with the Mayor responding: “Sudden increase in charges ought to be made illegal. Pure greed and mean spirited.” Another commented, “Should change their name to Easycash…Feeding off LFC success again!” Easyjet responded, “We use dynamic pricing, meaning our prices rise as each seat is sold. Unfortunately for you these flights were released months ago, which is why the price is higher now, not because we’ve raised them overnight. Hope you manage to find something suitable.”

It seems that EasyJet were quick to blame capitalism for the prices. Mo didn’t really have a choice in how to get to Madrid, or did he? Maybe he could have run there! To put Easyjet’s stance in perspective, roughly the same prices exactly two weeks later for accommodation and flights look like this:

Hotel: The hotel prices have been hiked up from €168 to €1,350 which is an increase of 800%.

Flight: £300 is around €340 so British Airways raising their price to €1,882 is an increase of around 550%.

We get it, being a football fan is tough, happiness is expensive.

I know all this sounds pretty terrible but imagine being a Chelsea or Arsenal fan going to the Europa League Final… they were only given 3,000 tickets each and there were no direct flights to Baku where the game was held!

Justin Humphries

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