Contract Disputes In Sport


Many legal disagreements in sports revolve around commercial contracts. All aspects of sports law are governed by commercial contracts, including those between athletes and intermediaries/agents, employees and employers, merchandisers and sponsors, and advertisers and media buyers.

In this article, Contract Disputes In Sport, we take a look at how to resolve these types of disputes and the options open to you.

Please click here to find out more about our Commercial Litigation services.

Free initial telephone discussion

For a free initial discussion on how we can help you if you are involved in a sports contract dispute, get in touch with us today. We are experienced in dealing with all forms of commercial litigation and dispute resolution. We will review your situation and discuss the options open to you in a clear and approachable manner. Early expert legal assistance can help ensure you avoid the stress of dealing with these issues on your own. Simply call us on 0345 901 0445 or click here to make a free enquiry and a member of the team will get back to you.

The first thing to do is review the contract

The first thing to do is read the contract thoroughly. You can use the details provided in the contract to figure out the gravity of the disagreement, how to guide negotiations to reach a settlement, and the relevant jurisdiction, among other factors.

The gravity of the disagreement

You can determine what constitutes a breach of contract by looking at the contract provisions and figuring out which clause was breached. In the event of a material breach, the contract may be terminated and the innocent party may seek compensation for damages.

If the breach is minor, the innocent party is limited to seeking compensation for incidental and consequential damages, and the contract itself remains in effect.

Knowing the gravity of the disagreement is essential in grasping its implications, the parties’ entitlements, and the possible avenues for finding an alternative resolution.

How the terms of the contract should guide negotiations to reach a settlement

When evaluating the contract to determine the appropriate course of action for the disagreement, there are a few items to check, including the relevant jurisdiction.

Which jurisdiction’s laws will apply to this agreement?

Jurisdiction refers to the body of law that controls the interpretation and enforcement of a contract. This is likely to be spelled out in the contract itself, but if you’re having trouble figuring it out, you should consult a solicitor.

What type of disputes are frequently encountered in sports?

Disputes arising out of contracts – Sports contracts are prevalent, and it’s crucial that the interests of all parties are protected. However, disagreements can emerge if one party to a contract believes that the other side is not being fair or is not abiding by the provisions of the deal.

Agent disputes – Agents are hired to look out for their client’s best interests and play a crucial role in today’s sports. However, disagreements might emerge if an agent’s conduct or motivations are questioned.

Problems arising from the use of social media – Social media provides a welcome outlet for many athletes and sports teams, but its very nature also increases the danger of legal action if used improperly. It is, therefore, strongly suggested that you consult with and be represented by an attorney in such circumstances.

Board members and stockholders – A content board of directors and owners are the backbone of any thriving sports team or business. However, tensions can build and disputes might develop amid times of instability, uncertainty, and unfavourable press (whether due to “on-field” or “off-field” concerns).

Dispute resolution in sport

Disputes originating from sporting events are often referred to an in-house settlement process. In cases of claimed major rule violations, arbitration is the preferred resolution method. The International Cricket Council (ICC) serves as an arbitration authority in cricket, among other sports. Indeed, where an enforceable arbitration agreement is in effect, the matter cannot be addressed by the courts until arbitration has been pursued to its conclusion.

Advantages of alternative dispute resolution include procedural freedom (rather than being constrained by court rules), expedited resolution, confidentiality, and the chance to choose decision-makers with a strong experience in the relevant sport. These benefits can have a major impact on the final score of a game or on an athlete’s standing in the community. In the event of a sporting dispute, Switzerland’s court of arbitration serves as a private, final arbitral tribunal of appeal.

For many years, British courts have encouraged athletes to seek alternative conflict settlement techniques. Agreements to arbitrate will be strictly enforced by the courts, showing respect for the competence of seasoned sports professionals in resolving conflicts. However, the courts involvement will be necessary if the conclusions of an arbitral tribunal appear to breach natural justice or standards of proportionality.

How we can help

We have a proven track record of helping clients involved in sports contract disputes. There can be an array of issues to take into consideration. We will guide you through all the necessary legal due diligence in a comprehensive and timely manner and support and advise you with all the negotiations. We firmly believe that with the right solicitors by your side, the entire process will seem more manageable and far less daunting.

Please click here to find out more about our Commercial Litigation services.

How to contact our Commercial Litigation solicitors

It is important for you to be well informed about the issues and possible implications of a sports contract dispute. Expert legal support is crucial in terms of ensuring a positive outcome to your case.

To speak to our Commercial Litigation solicitors today, simply call us on 0345 901 0445, or click here to make a free enquiry. We are well known across the country and can assist wherever you are based. We also have offices based in Cheshire and London.

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