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Published by Enhelion, 2019-11-24 08:06:27






Introduction to sports law Modern sports are often multi-billion-pound
Sports in relation to European ventures, with global spectators and consumers
Union – with priceless commodities being traded and
Sports Law in the United States marketed. However, since the 19th century,
of America sports have been run on a self-regulating model,
Understanding of the long- secured and anchored in their origins as
lasting debate between Sports recreational diversions.
Law and Law of the Sport.

Lastly, Sports law in India With the steady growth and expansion of the

sports industry, the capability of traditional

models of governance of sports activities to deal

with contemporary issues is under scrutiny, which raises the question: is the current structure

of sports governance effectively working? And if not, how can it be made better?

The traditional position of global sports on various issues that are faced by the sports
fraternity is that: governance is an internal matter, and external forces such as the
governments should be kept out and should not be allowed to interfere into the matters of
solving any such disputes that arise. Government intervention is heavily discouraged – sport


At Indian national strategy and policy level, sport is at par with public education and public health.
Even though national sports bodies are autonomous in nature both, the Supreme Court of India
and several High Courts have, in various judgments, retained and contended that although national
sports bodies are not State‘ within the meaning of Article 12 of the Constitution of India, they
come within the writ jurisdiction of High Courts under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, the
reason being that they perform state-like functions such as the selection of national teams and
representing the country in international sports events and forums.

should be kept for sports men and women and their sections of adoring fans. The conformist
view of the governed and the governors is that sport regulation is a specialised, focused and a
niche issue, which requires bespoke knowledge, skill and familiarity.

It is said that the traditional model of self-governance allows flexibility. For example, a

number of sporting institutions assert to have

accepted corporate governance standards, DID YOU KNOW?
which are said to meet any governance

criticisms, while maintaining the Glenn Moore calls these 5
independence of the sector. Recent years have International Federations as “red

been turbulent for many sports governing cards” in terms of governance

bodies amid scandals, public inspection across issues

the media which indefinitely poses

fundamental challenges to their independence.

In a recent article, Glenn Moore1 identified at least 5 major international federations: the

International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF), the International Olympic Committee

(IOC), the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the Union Cyclisté

Internationale (UCI) and the International Tennis Federation (ITF).

Other federations are not sheltered from the storm – for instance, shortly before the launch
of the Rio Olympics, the International Boxing Association (AIBA) faced allegations of

Particular issues which have raised eyebrows in the past are doping, corruption and match-
fixing. The International Amateur Athletics Federation declared that athletes from the
Russian Athletics Federation would be ineligible from participating in the Rio Olympics3,
following investigations into allegations of widespread doping at the 2014 Sochi Olympic
and Paralympic Games, potentially with the knowledge of the national anti-doping
authorities. The decision was upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport on 21 July 2016.
These findings were also presented in a report of the Sochi Games by Canadian Professor
Richard H. McLaren for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which concluded that
there had been a state-sponsored doping programme in Russia.

1“A sporting chance”, 20 July 2016, last viewed 25 Nov 2016, available

2 ‘Rio 2016: International Boxing Association rejects allegations of corruption’, 2 Aug 2016, last viewed 25

Nov 2016,
ATHLETES IN THE OLYMPIC GAMES RIO 2016’, 24 July,2016, last viewed on 26 Nov,2016

Just before the launch of the 2016 Olympics, however, the IOC decided not to suspend all

athletes selected by the Russian Federation for the Games, leaving the decision to suspend to

individual sporting federations on a case-by-case basis after carrying out an analysis of each
athlete’s anti-doping record. The IOC banned any Russian athletes with previous doping
violations – even if they had served their periods of suspension4. Despite reports of potential
challenges to WADA’s authority5, the IOC recently avowed its commitment to devote in the


ce and

Restoring the limits on duration of tenure of office bearers of Indian WAD
Olympic Association and all recognized National Sports Federations. A.

Guidelines for Good governance in the context of Basic Universal

Principle of Good Governance of Olympic and Sports Movement.


Annual recognition of National Sports Federations. (Annexure-XV)

Measures to combat fraud in age of players. (Annexure VI)

Prevention of sexual harassment of women in sports, etc. (Annexure-


Notifying IOA and NSFs as Public Authority under Right to
Information Act. (Annexure –XVIII)

Withdrawal of advance calendar of sporting events both national and

international. (Annexure-XIX)

National Anti-Doping Rules notified vide gazette notification no 21-
4/2008-ID dated 5th February, 2010 (Annexure-XX)

Guidelines for efficient management of Coaching Camps, Selection of
Coaches, Selection of Athletes, etc. (Annexure-XXI)

Representation of Indian Nationals only, in National Teams (Annexure-

4 I.O.C. Forces Russians to Prove They Have a Drug-Free Past 24 July,2016, last viewed on 26 Nov,2016
5 Wada fears for future as Olympic chiefs take aim over Russia’s ban at Rio 2016, 20 Sep, 2016, last viewed on
27 Nov, 2016


In the European Union, not much importance is given to Sports law and it is not widely
accepted, which is why a discrete body is emerging to look into and deal with the growing
field of sports law. Furthermore, the EU has no legal competence to develop a sports policy.
This is because the Common Market has got nothing to do with sports, so emerging policies
in the field are often questioned. If we browse through the list of EU activities that are listed
in Article 3 of the EU’s Treaty, it is apparent that sport is nowhere to be mentioned.
Nevertheless, Article 3 does state that the EU is permitted to establish an area where goods,
persons, services and capital can freely circulate and where competition is not distorted.

The EU has, in place, a regulatory policy interest in sport which can be directly attributed to
be a result of its obligation to protect the legal fundamentals of the Single Market. On the
other hand, the EU anchors political policy objectives for sport, particularly in the field of the
‘people’s Europe’ project. Hence in short, EU needs to focus on the construction of a distinct
area in sports law. EU sports law extends outside the mere appliance of law to sport. It
includes the formation of an approach for dealing with sports disputes which permits
objectives of EU’s regulatory and political policies to co-exist within the EU sports policy
framework. What is fascinating here is that, the twin concepts of EU sports law and EU
sports policy have emerged only due to the absence of a foundation in the Treaty.6

Article 3 also expresses the EU’s wish to expand into more social grounds. Since the 1984
Fontainebleau Summit, the EU has made an effort to extend European integration beyond the
economic field by setting up a ‘people’s Europe’. In attempting to do so, the EU aims to use
sport to put into operation a range of social, cultural and educational strategy objectives
outlined in Article 3.

However, the intense commercialization of sport combined with legal regulation at EU level
intimidates to undermine these political objectives. Without co-ordinated action in the field of
sport, EU policy towards sport risks being distant competing policy tensions

The concept of sports law is not universally accepted. Grayson argues that:

6 Sports law and policy in the European Union; Richard Parrish; 2003, last seen on 1 Dec, 2016

No subject exists which jurisprudentially can be called sports law. As a sound
bite headline, shorthand description, it has no juridical foundation; for
common law and equity create no concept of law exclusively relating to sport.

Each area of law applicable to sport does not differ from how it is found in any other social or
jurisprudential category.

Critics of sports law argue that cases involving sport are grounded in the well-established
fields of law such as contract and tort. Indeed, ‘the traditionally minded, purist lawyer, may
indeed distrust any activity-led “vertical” field of law, preferring the surer, traditional ground
of rule-led “horizontal” law’.

Recently, the sport and the law versus sports law dispute have taken on a new facet.
Commercial forces and the public’s desire to see the best competition has fuelled the internal
regulation of sport. To regulate this cross-border activity, sports administering bodies have
established rules governing associations between participants. The international and
nongovernmental quality of modern sport has not however steered in for sport a new form of
international independence insulated from law. The escalation and growth of the EU’s Single
Market has been vital to the internationalisation of sports law. The re-regulation of sport has
been consigned within the context of the Treaty of Rome’s fundamental economic freedoms.
As the EU is dedicated to ensure that these freedoms are protected, it has applied the Treaty’s
free association principles to a growing number of sports-related cases. The ECJ rulings in
Walrave, Donà, Heylens and Bosman illustrate the growing relationship between sport and
the EU.7

The surfacing of a co-ordinated EU sports policy held together by a distinct area of sports law
is a new progress in the EU. It has its source in the post-Bosman political debate about the
future of EU involvement in sport. The conjectural method of survey and analysis employed
in this text reflects this political impetus behind the birth of EU sports law and policy. The
approach, drawn from policy examination, stresses the need for ‘subsystem analysis. Within
the EU run numerous policy-specific subsystems, one of which concerns sport. Operating
within them are rival advocacy coalitions attempting to steer policy in a course consistent


with their belief system. The identification of the coalition’s contents and belief systems is
therefore an essential mechanical starting point.

However, policy changes as a result of the activities of the advocacy coalitions and their
accomplishment depends on their ability to influence policy in numerous institutional venues.
Coalitions who are institutionally well supplied will be able to utilize legislative, budgetary,
legal and other settings in order to make sure of their belief system prevails. The sports policy
subsystem is composed of two advocacy associations. The Single Market coalition has a
dictatorial policy interest in sport.

Actors within it seek to guarantee the legal establishments of the Single Market are
protected. As a significant economic action, sports rules should comply with EU law. The
socio-cultural partnership pursues more political policy objectives for sport. In particular the
actors within it want the specific features of sport to be documented in the application of EU

Despite the absence of a Treaty base, the EU at present operates a sports policy. This policy
is the produce of action within the EU’s sports policy subsystem, a subsystem formed in
response to the infamous Bosman ruling. First, the EU took a transitory dogmatic interest in
sport. The ECJ and the Competition Policy Directorate mediated in sport to correct free
movement and competition restrictions and misrepresentations within the Single Market.
These interventions were not however conversant by the EU’s other main policy strand and
as a consequence EU sporting actions were not co-ordinated and in sync. The second string of
policy involvement in sport occupied the EU pursuing a political interest in sport. In
particular, sport was identified as a tool through which the EU could build up its image in the
minds of Europe’s citizens. As the two strands of policy involvement in sport did not relate to
one another, a policy tension features EU sports policy. Today, the dictatorial and political
policy strands of EU involvement in sport recount to one another in a more co-ordinated
manner. The creation of the separate territories approach to sport has allowed both policy
strands to co-exist within the framework of a more co-ordinated sports policy.


Sports law in the United States substantially overlaps with labour law, contract law,

competition law and tort law. Issues like defamation and privacy rights are also fundamental

aspects central to sports law. With the rise of player-agents and amplified media scrutiny;
sports law has emerged as a separate and important entity just only a few decades ago.

Historically speaking, most sports agents recognize the inception of the profession stemming
from the 1960’s. However, sports agency can be drawn back to 1925 when Red Grange hired

an agent to consult and negotiate his DID YOU KNOW?
professional football contract. This today has
become commonplace for professional athletes Red Grange was the first football player
to achieve. to have a personal delegate, an agent as
they are called now, to work out
Grange’s 1923 team turned in an unbeaten presentation of a contract.
season, something very special was arranged He was the first professional athlete in
for the 1924 season the sports arena whose pay was linked
with the number of fans his fame and
On November 22, 1925, the day following his performance which attracted audience to
last game for the University of Illinois, Red the games.
Grange signed the first big time professional
contract, casting his lot with the Chicago Bears.

The contract was for one hundred thousand

dollars and a share of the gate in a period when most professional football players were
getting twenty-five to a hundred dollars a game that is, if they were paid at all.

In the 1960s, attorney Mark McCormack’s work with young golfer Arnold Palmer probably
changed the course in which sponsors dealt with professional athletes. Since the 1960’s,

many other significant sports agents have made an imprint on the profession that is now

dominated by high-profile individuals working for large sport management agencies.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association functions along a chain of bylaws that
administer the areas of ethical behaviour, amateur eligibility, monetary aid, recruiting, gender
equity, championship events, and academic standards that needs to be met.
The NCAA possesses power to enforce and introduce a series of punishments up to the death
penalty. Coaches are presented contracts and if any contractual agreement is violated NCAA
has the right to hold any person accountable under the contract.

An act, passed in 1972, makes it illegal for a federally funded institution to categorize and
discriminate on the basis of sex or gender. In sports law, the piece of legislation often pursues
the objective to achieve equality for women's sports in colleges. The Office of Civil Rights
(OCR) is issued with enforcing this legislation.

This agency implemented a three-prong test which schools must adhere to:

➢ Are the opportunities for female and male athletes proportionate to their enrolment?
➢ Does the school have a history of expanding athletic opportunities for women?
➢ Has the school demonstrated success in meeting the needs of its students?
In 1995, the Gender in Equity Disclosure Act was passed to entail schools to make an annual,
public report on male-female athletic participation rates, recruiting by gender, and financial
support. Brown University v. Cohen is an important aspect of litigation for women sports,
delivered by U.S Supreme Court.

A significant piece of federal legislation, the Amateur Sports Act of 1978 assures certain due
process rights including hearings and appeals for U.S. athletes under the authority of the

USOC and its NGBs.

DID YOU KNOW? The National Labour Relations Board in 1967
accepted that contestants have the right to form
The 2005 National Hockey League season unions or players' associations. Professional
was cancelled because of owners' lockout athletes are now authorized to organize into
after the parties' CBA had expired is an associations or unions in order to
example that illustrates the mandates of the negotiate collective bargaining agreements
Act. (CBAs) with the owners or board members of

the teams and associations. Under federal labour

law, players and owners must negotiate and settle mandatory issues, those relating to hours,

wages, and working conditions, in good faith. In 1994, Major League Baseball lost half its

season because ballplayers went on strike over the issue of a salary cap. Historically, the most

controversial issues subject to CBA negotiation are free agency, minimum salary, salary cap,

grounds for termination, and suspension.

The issue of restrictions on the use of performance-enhancing drugs and steroids has become
a central aspect of CBA negotiations in nearly all professional sports. Drug policies are not
uniform for all professional sports the policies regarding drug testing, vary. Typically, each

CBA explains list of banned drugs, violations, penalties, privacy issues, and rights of appeal,
drug disobediences may lead to suspensions and loss of salary. The Bay Area Laboratory Co-
operative (BALCO) scandal involving high-profile professional athletes and coaches drew
attention to the allegedly widespread use of performance-enhancing drugs in different sports.

In Fraser v. Major League Soccer until a few decades ago, most United States professional

sports leagues' contracts retained clauses contracts that essentially prevented players from

leaving their original teams by their own choice.

These "reserve clauses" were upheld because courts POINTERS

found that these sports leagues did not operate in The “reserve clauses” were upheld
interstate trade or commerce, meaning they did not because the court found that these
fall under the subject of antitrust or competition sports league didn’t fall within the
laws. In Federal Baseball Club v. National League anti-trust laws domain.
this interpretation has largely been battered today. It The Court in Nabozny v Barnhill
is important to note that the formation of players held that, player can be found

unions for the purpose of negotiating contracts with accountable for negligence provided

management is exempt from anti-trust scrutiny such action were reckless disregard
under labour law. The by-product of good faith for the safety.
negotiations between management and player’s

unions in the form of a CBA is also exempt from anti-trust scrutiny.

Torts until recently was never made part of the setting of sports law. However, in 1975 an
Illinois appeals court in Nabozny v. Barnhill changed the dynamics of the relationship of
Sports Law in connection to Torts and established that players can be found accountable of
negligence if their actions are "deliberate, willful or with a reckless disregard for the safety of
another player so as cause injury to that player."

Negligence torts are typically harder to prove in contract sports, where violent injuries are
more common and thus more anticipated and expected ("assumption of risk" or "self-
defense"). Spectators can also sue for negligence if their injuries could not have been
foreseen given the nature of the sporting event they were attending.

Sports' tort law extends into other less obvious areas. The growth of non-traditional media
outlets, e.g. web pages, instant messaging, cable, etc. has added a new active spectre to this
area of the law.

In close proximity to the subject of torts in some ways, is the area of publicity rights. While
the tort of defamation protects a person's reputation, the right of publicity permits a person to
commercially take advantage of and develop his or her likeness, name, and image. This area
of sports law includes trademarks, trade names, domain names, and copyrights.


Dispute resolution is significantly one of the major problems faced in India, and specifically
dispute resolution within National Sports Federation (NSFs). Disputes in particular, are
mainly grievances arising out of selection procedure of athletes for representation at various
national and international forums, disciplinary issues against the athletes, bans imposed due
to age fraud, gender inequality, maintenance and submission of medical records, and issues
regarding financial support.8

Sports being “legally autonomous” require that disputes are, so far as possible, being resolved
“internally”. Preferably this means that the dispute ought to be resolved within an appropriate
forum established by the relevant National Sports Federation (NSF). The NSFs have, by and
large failed to establish fitting internal instruments, mechanisms and forums to address issues.
In addition to this, the problem is further compounded by their further failure to incorporate
an arbitration clause within their regulations entitling athletes final recourse to the Court of
Arbitration for Sport (CAS). And therefore, athletes are often left in an undesirable position
of having to approach the Courts should they wish to resolve their grievances.

Sport development is a state priority, as it encourages active lifestyle, development of the
youth, generates employment opportunities and above all a sense of belongingness and
national pride. It falls within the sphere and remit of the Union Government under its
residuary powers and within the scope of Entries 10 and 13 of the Union List in the Seventh
Schedule of the Constitution of India.

The general failure of NSFs to provide adequate internal dispute resolution mechanisms was
brought to the forefront and received national attention by two recent high-profile cases. The

GOVERNMENT’S NEW GUIDELINES, 21 Nov, 2016, last viewed on 28 Nov, 2016

first concerned the female boxer Sarita Devi, which led Rajiv Dutta, a senior advocate, to file
a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) (Rajiv Dutta vs. Union of India9). The suit challenged the
verdict of International Boxing Association ("AIBA") which suspended Devi for declining to
accept a bronze medal at the Asian Games. Dutta argued that the federations must take note
of the rules and regulations of CAS, before adjudicating a said matter. The second suit
concerned former Olympic wrestler, Sushil Kumar10, who filed a writ petition against the
arbitrary and subjective selection procedure adopted by the Wrestling Federation of India
(“WFI”) for India’s representation at the 2016 Olympics.

Sarita Devi was banned by the AIBA for breaching the AIBA Disciplinary Code by refusing
to accept the bronze medal at the Asian Games. However, she was unable to file a petition
against the ban with CAS as the relevant NSF, being Boxing India, failed to offer for such a
right within its regulations. The Court in its judgment stated:

“It is apparent from the material placed on record that no remedy is available
as of today to appeal to CAS against the decision of the International Sports
Bodies like AIBA. The fact that CAS is the final authority for settlement of
disputes arising out of the decisions of International Sports Bodies has not
been disputed by the Respondent No.1 [Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports
(MYAS)]. It also appears that the National Sports Code of 2011 contains a
provision of appeal to CAS against any decision of Sports Federations in

It is imperative to make a note of the fact that while the courts have refused on several
occasions to interfere with the internal operations of the NSFs, the court in this case
recognized the significance of the right for athletes to appeal to CAS:

“…It also appears that the National Sports Code of 2011 contains a provision
of appeal to CAS against any decision of Sports Federations in India...
… we deem it appropriate to direct the Respondent No. 1 to consider the
contents of this petition as a representation and take an appropriate decision in
accordance with law after giving an opportunity of personal hearing to Shri
Rajiv Dutta, Senior Advocate/ petitioner herein to substantiate his plea that it


is essential to ensure incorporation of a specific provision for dispute
settlement with International sports bodies.”

The court in Devi’s case directed the MYAS to make certain that all NSFs include the CAS
clause within three months from the date of the judgment i.e. January 16th, 2016 (prior to the
publication of the Guidelines). As there were no punitive sanctions attached for non-
compliance the MYAS did not adhere to this deadline, and it took the latter case of Sushil
Kumar for them to finally capture the direction in clause of the directions supplied.
“Safeguarding the Interests of Sportspersons and Provision of Effective Grievance
Redressal System in the Constitution of National Sports Federations” (Guidelines)11. The
brief Guidelines express control directing all NSFs to ensure that they:

▪ Establish an effective, transparent, and fair “Grievance Redressal System” (i.e. dispute
resolution system) to safeguard the interests of sportspersons; and

▪ Include within their constitution the right for aggrieved sportspersons to appeal their
case to CAS.

The Guidelines make it obvious that the NSFs must establish suitable internal instruments to
resolve disputes in a consistent and logical manner based on the written guidelines in their
constitution. The guidelines command all NSFs to create rules addressing the said issue.

Furthermore, pertinent issues in the current operations of NSFs and the contrasting nature in
which they function have been brought to the front. The AIFF, on one hand has detailed rules

11 Press Information Bureau Government of India Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports; June 17 2016; last
viewed on 30 Nov,2016.

and regulations in place and a controlled

dispute resolution mechanism in the form DID YOU KNOW?
of a forum of first instance and a forum for
appeal. On the other we have NSFs like the On June 17 2016, the MYAS issued, Safeguarding
WFI, having no written rules or dispute the Interests of Sportspersons and Provision of
resolution panel whatsoever. The Effective Grievance Redressal System Guidelines in
fundamental theme of these issues is the the Constitution of National Sports Federations, as a
response to the case filed by Sushil Kumar

clarity of the functioning of most NSFs.

Therefore, we need course of action in

place ensuring fairness and transparency. Guidelines however reaffirm the jurisdiction of

CAS and the MYAS, advising all NSFs to add in their respective constitutions / bye-laws, it

unfortunately does not specify a time-period within which NSFs must incorporate the

Guidelines. The lack of a deadline to focus minds might result in slow implementation of the

necessary changes. The National Sports Ethics Commission Bill 2016, marks another effort

of the government to improve sports regulation which aims to improve the integrity of sports

in India, tabled in Parliament earlier this year. The Bill aims to endow the constitution of a

National Sports Ethics Commission to ensure principled practices and ethical fair play in

sports including abolition of doping practices, match fixing, fraud of age and sexual

harassment of women in sports and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

What does the Bill propose? Upon enactment, the Bill aims:

“to provide for the constitution of a National Sports Ethics Commission to ensure

ethical practices and fair play in sports including elimination of doping practices,

match fixing, fraud of age and sexual harassment of women in sports and for

Pointer: matters connected therewith or
incidental thereto.”

In another subsequent Public Interest Litigation; Increase in private investment in sport,
in the matter of Rahul Mehra Vs. UoI and shared with the importance of public trust in
Others, the Hon‘ble Delhi High Court took a authenticity of results, has brought the
severe observation on the mismanagement of subject of participant-integrity to the
the Sports Sector in the country and articulated forefront of legal discourse. Indian sport is
deep concern at the inaction on the part of the no outsider to challenges of integrity. The
Government in implementing and enforcing its
own guidelines, particularly those relating to
age and tenure

Bill further intends that the National Commission which is established shall oversee the
matters of ethics and be made a quasi-judicial adjudicatory body for all the disputes in which
the NSFs are impleaded.

If the MYAS considers, defiance as a grave offense, where NSF fails to abide by the
Guidelines; Section 3.6 of the National Skill Development Corporation, 2011 entitles the
MYAS to suspend or de-recognize such NSFs if required. The corollary outcome of de-
recognition brings about; the NSF to obviously cease exercise its functions as the NSF of the
sport in question. It also gives up the right to regulate and control the sport as well as do
without the right to select the national team for all future competitions. It shall also not
receive any financial support, funding or any sort of monetary benefit and tax concession that
it was earlier entitled to receive.

Even though, it is unlikely that the MYAS will take a step as ruthless as that mentioned
above, yet the Guidelines are a step in the right direction to fix the prevalent issues. It is
imperative to have an internal mechanism in place for redressal of such disputes. The field of
sports is such that time is a decisive factor since the career of the athletes might endure a
huge loss if the matter is not decided by the courts on a critical basis which can never be
guaranteed. Therefore, inclusion of experts becomes imperative in such panels/bodies which
have been addressed by the National Sports Ethics Commission Bill 2016 as well. Along with
which it lends to athletes the power to provide better representation and an opportunity of fair

Once these guidelines are put into practice and executed it would be interesting to see how
transparently these bodies are elected, their independence to carry out decisions; and the
willingness of the government to render financial and legal assistance to approach CAS.

The history of sports in India extends as far back as the reality of existence people as
purposive, sportive and active beings. It also shows how society has evolved its beliefs and
therefore how changes in the regulations are brought. The history of sports in India can be
marked back to the Vedic era; Chess, wrestling, polo, archery and hockey are some of the
games understood to have originated in India. But somewhere between the historical roots of
sports and sports in the modern era there is a gap of passion and encouragement. Little

importance is left for sports at grass root level in India leaving little scope for the growth of
Sports Law. Though there are various coalitions in India that provide sports facilities; India
still largely fails in every major event for sports; one of the main reasons for it is the lack of
consistent regulation in India for sports. There is a need for a legislation that governs sports
and brings the various establishments under one roof; lets unite and contribute to sport and
regulations necessary to facilitate its growth.



In the year 1984, a resolution was laid out in both the houses of Parliament on the National
Sports Policy. The primary objective behind formulating the National Sports Policy, 1984
was to raise the standards of sports in India. The Policy provided for a progress review every
5 years, to determine the course of action for future. Eventually, it was realized the provisions
laid down within the National Sports Policy, 1984 regarding its implementation were
incomplete and the National Sports Policy, 2001 was the drafted to deal with these

The National Sports Policy requires the central government, the state government, the Indian
Olympic Association and the National Federations to coordinate their working to strive
towards broad basing of sports by promoting rural and tribal talent. The union government
and the sports authority of India (SAI) along with IOA and National Sports Federations are to
concentrate on achieving excellence both at domestic as well as international levels.

The primary objective of the National Sports Policy, 2001 is mass participation. The relevant
portions of the said policy read as under:12

➢ Considering the key role of sports in national life and for inculcating national pride in
the younger generation, the objective of broad basing, that is, universalisation or

12 “Comprehensive National Sports Development Policy, 2001” Available at: accessed on 17th November 2016

mass participation in Sports assumes special significance. It is imperative to ensure
that the educational institutions, schools, and colleges in both rural and urban areas;
the Panchayati Raj Institutions, Local Bodies, the government machinery, the Sports
Associations and Industrial Undertakings, as also the various Youth and Sports
Clubs, including those of the Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS) throughout the
country are, and remain, fully associated with this Programme. Efforts will be made
to promote and encourage women’s participation in sports. The Union and State
Governments, as well as the Sports Federations/Associations will endeavor to
promote a "club culture" for the speedier development of Sports in the country.

➢ In the National Sports Policy, 2001, high priority will be accorded to the
development of Sports in the rural areas to harness the available talent and potential.
In this context, the Village Panchayats/Gaon Sabhas as well as rural Youth and
Sports clubs will be mobilized to facilitate development of the requisite infrastructure
and for the identification of talent through an appropriate competition structure in the
rural areas as also in the disadvantaged and remote parts of the country which appear
to merit special consideration under various schemes including for the North East.
Efforts will also be made for tapping such potential as swimming in coastal areas and
Archery in tribal areas. The available talent will be nourished and actively supported.
Geographically disadvantaged Regions will be extended additional support for the
promotion of Sports. There has been a strong tradition of Indigenous and traditional
games in practically all parts of the country through ages. Indigenous games will be
promoted through schemes related to rural sports.

Emphasis has also been laid down on the need for integration of sports with education as well
as the development of infrastructural facilities, in the following terms:13

➢ Sports and Physical Education need to be integrated with the Academic Curriculum.
They need to be made as a compulsory subject of learning at least up to the level of
Secondary School. A National Fitness Programme must be introduced in Schools
across the country. Major steps need to be taken ensure the availability of
infrastructure, which includes fields/grounds, sports equipment which are most vital

13 “Comprehensive National Sports Development Policy, 2001” Available at: accessed on 17th November 2016

for any sport. Action needs to be taken to provide Physical Education Teachers in
educational institutions. These teachers also require training in the discipline. Schools
that exclusively focus on sports and that offer specializations in different sports may
also be set up. Inter-school and Inter- College/University competitions must be
introduced at the District, State and National levels.

➢ Adequate sports facilities need to be made available and accessible throughout the
country. It is the most basic thing that has to be done if sports need to be inculcated
into the mainstream. In addition to the Union and State Governments, there also needs
to be an active involvement of other agencies such as the Village and Zilla
Panchayats, Local Governing Bodies, Educational Institutions, Sports
Federations/Associations. These bodies will also be required to create and ensure
proper maintenance of the Sports infrastructure. Suitable legislations have to be
introduced to aid in providing open areas to promote sports activities. Steps need to be
taken to evolve low cost functional and environment-friendly designs of
infrastructure, so that maximum benefits can be derived through relatively low levels
of investment. Efforts will also need to be made to optimally utilize the available
infrastructure and manpower. Special Coaching Cams can be organized, during
vacations which will undoubtedly provide intensive training to talented sports
persons, even as they pursue their academics.

The policy also stresses at achieving excellence in sports at the domestic and international
levels, and puts forth the same as under:14

➢ The Union Government must focus its attention on striving for and achieving
excellence in Sports at the National and International levels. Various sports
disciplines need to be prioritized and the criteria for prioritization would include
proven potential of the sport, its popularity and international performance. Particular
emphasis will then be placed on the development of such disciplines. There is also the
need for the prioritization to be reviewed frequently. The genetic and geographical
variations within the country need be taken into account while planning the
development of a particular discipline, so that in areas of potential, steps may be taken

14 “Comprehensive National Sports Development Policy, 2001, Available at: accessed on 17th November 2016

in time to harness the existing and emerging talent. Centers of excellence will have to
be set up to identify and train sportspersons who perform outstandingly. These centers
must include sports academies where young and talented sports persons will be
groomed to achieve higher levels of performance in the international sports arena.

The policy keeps in mind the importance of National Championships in inculcating
competitive spirit in sports persons by way of emphasizing the role of National Sports
Federations and in ensuring effective participation in international events. The policy also
promotes the development of sports among juniors and helps in identifying those who require
special support and training. Resource mobilization, sports and tourism, providing incentives
to sports persons. It is also seen to be providing training and of coaches, sports scientist’s
judges, etc along with ensuring access to sports equipment of high quality. These were some
of the important themes of focus which were taken into consideration in the National Sports
Policy, 2001


The Comprehensive National Sports Policy, 2007 simply builds upon previous sports policies
with a view to achieve the unfinished agenda and to address the challenges that seem to be
emerging in our country in the 21st century.15

Focus of the National Sports Policy, 2007 is the overall wellbeing of an individual, youth
development, community development, peace, and brotherhood. A multi-faceted approach
towards development is sought to be adopted including improvement in infrastructural
facilities, media coverage, and growth of sports as a business and the use of scientific
technology. The role of mega sporting events has also been recognized while considering the
tradeoff between economic benefits arising out of these events and the opportunity costs
associated with them. Issues pertaining to integrity in sports, like doping and corruption in
sports, are sought to be brought in focus and the modes to combat these menaces are sought
to be strengthened. 16

15 “National Sports Development Policy 2007, Available at:
accessed on 18th November, 2016.
16 Ibid.

The National Sports Policy, 2007 aims at involving all the stakeholders in the process of
improving the condition of sports, in India. The National Sports Policy tackles the following
deficiencies that need to be tackled:

➢ access to sport and physical education opportunities still remains highly inadequate,
especially in rural areas and the poorer parts of urban areas, in consequence, the levels
of participation in sport and physical education at home, school, college, the
community level and the workplace are abysmally low;

➢ the participation of girls and women in physical education and sports is far below that
of boys and men;

➢ persons with disability have hardly any access to sporting facilities and most of the
sports infrastructure is not disabled friendly;

➢ indigenous sports and games need to be brought center-stage in the promotion of a
national sporting culture;

➢ education remains highly academic-centric with a definite trend towards reducing
school sports and extra-curricular sports;

➢ India’s performance in international sport needs to be significantly enhanced through
a holistic and sports person-centered cradle-to-grave sports policy;

➢ to this end, and within the framework of the Olympic Charter, the Sports Authority of
India, the Indian Olympics Association and the National Sports Federations need to
be revamped, rejuvenated and reoriented to function in an open, democratic,
equitable, transparent and accountable manner;

➢ as there is too much concentration of resources and pubic support on too few team
sports like cricket, there is need to popularize other sports, especially medal-intensive
individual sports disciplines such as athletics, gymnastics, and swimming;

➢ sports medicine and sports science need particular attention;

➢ the scientific and technical support systems for high performing athletes are

➢ the disgrace of sportspersons and athletes resorting to drug abuse needs to be ended
as a matter of priority with strict adherence to the Copenhagen Declaration adopted by
the World Anti-Doping Authority (WADA) and the UNESCO Convention against
Doping in Sports and

➢ Public as well as private and voluntary support for participative/ recreational and
competitive sport has been highly inadequate.

All this calls for a fresh look at the Constitutional provisions for sports; the legislative
framework for the regulation of sports and games at the national and, possibly, the state level
(including 23 the conditions and enforcement of those conditions agreed through Long Term
Development Plans negotiated between Government and the NSFs); and the need for a Sports
Regulatory Authority.17

17 “National Sports Development Policy 2007, Available at:
accessed on 18th November, 2016.


National Sports Policy, 1984 was laid out with the intention to raise the standards of sports in
India with progress review every 5 years which will help in determining the course of action
for future. National Sports Policy, 2001 was then drafted to make good the drawbacks of the
policy of 1984.

Primary aims of the policy were broad basing of sports, integrating sports in the educational
curriculum and proper resource mobilization.

It also aimed at prioritizing various disciplines on the basis of proven potential and
setting up centres of excellence to identify and train outstanding athletes.

The National sports Policy of 2007 was brought in to fulfill the object of fulfilling
unfinished agendas of the previous policy and rejuvenating the Sports Authority of
India, Indian Olympics Association and National Sports federation.

Providing appropriate technical and scientific support to the athletes and
increasing public as well as private and voluntary support for participative/
recreational and competitive sport.

A general system of hierarchy of sports governing bodies is a three-tier pyramid like
structure. International Federations take their position in the top which is followed by
National federations and then, State federations occupy the position in the very bottom of this
hierarchy. The International Federation of any particular sport governs the sport and related
activities across the globe. The national federations are bound by the rules which are
formulated by the international federation. Only one national federation for that sport is
recognized by the international federation in each country and similarly only one state
federation is recognized by the national federation in each state for that sport. State
federations have the duty to control and govern the sport in that particular state. Below these
state federations are the district federations and clubs. The National Sports Development code
of India, 2011 also seeks to maintain the sanctity of this structure.
However, contrary to how simple the structure appears to be, it is in fact a rather complex
relationship. The following figure gives a depiction of this structure:18

United Nations (UN) Organization stands at the top of this hierarchical structure. The right of
access to sports has been recognized by the UN through various conventions. India is one of
the 47 members of the Group of Friends of Sport for development and peace under UN that
meets every two months, with the aim of member states to integrate sports within their policy

18 Mukul Mudgal and Vidushpat Singhania, “Law and Sports in India” (2016), p.26

structure. The main aim of the United Nations Office on sport for development and Peace
(UNOSDP) is to bring the world of sports and development closer.19

Various international non- governmental organizations, such as International Olympic
Committee (IOC), World Anti-doping Agency (WADA), the Court of Arbitration for Sports
(CAS) and International Sports federations (ISF) together govern the whole International
sporting system.

International Olympics Organization has the supreme Jurisdiction over the Olympic Games
as per the Olympics charter. IOC is a Swiss non-profit organization with its headquarters in
Lausanne. It was created on 23rd June 1894 to act as a catalyst for collaboration between all
the member countries to promote the values that have been listed within the Olympics
charter. It is responsible for the organization of Olympic Games; one of the greatest sporting
events in the world.20

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was established in the year 1999 as an
international independent agency composed and funded equally by the sport movement and
governments of the world. It is primarily involved in scientific research, education,
development of anti-doping capacities, and monitoring of the World Anti-Doping Code. The
WADA code is a document that seeks to harmonize anti-doping policies in all sports and all

The beginning of 1980s saw the regular increase in the number of international sports-related
disputes and the absence of any independent authority that could successfully resolve and
give a binding decision upon them. These twin issues eventually resulted in the creation of a
specialized authority capable of settling international disputes and offering a flexible, quick
and inexpensive procedure i.e. Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS).22 Initially CAS was set
up such that its jurisdiction would not be imposed on either the athletes or the federations but

19 Mukul Mudgal and Vidushpat Singhania, “Law and Sports in India” (2016), p.27
20Available at:, accessed on 15 November, 2016.
21“Who we are” Available at: Accessed on 15 November, 2016.
22“History of CAS”, available at:,
accessed on 15 November, 2016.

this changed in the Gundel judgment wherein it was held by the Swiss Court that, CAS
indeed was the true arbitration Court for sports.23

At the National level, even though it is generally preferred that sports remain out of the
control of state, state intervention in a country such as ours is essential as most sports, barring
a few exceptions like cricket, are not lucrative enough and require infrastructural support
from the state.24 The State as a sovereign entity plays a decisive role in the organization and
promotion of physical activities and sports, as it oversees the approved sporting federations.
It promotes the growth of sports federations along with along with their devolved organs such
as leagues and committees by providing them with financial assistance and human resource
and infrastructure in order to support their activities.25


The Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports was initially set up as the Department of Sports in
1982 at the time of organization of the IX Asian Games in New Delhi and eventually, became
an independent ministry on 27th May, 2000. The ministry is further divided into Department
of Youth Affairs and another one of Sports.26 The primary objectives of Ministry of youth
affairs and sports are:

➢ Maintaining and improving India’s world rankings throughout various sporting events
across the world.

➢ Supporting Federation policies to increase participation in competitive sports.

➢ Creating the infrastructure, requisite for capacity building and achieving excellence in
world- class sporting events as well as the ones that take place at National level.27

Several important awards signifying excellence in the field of sports such as the Arjuna
Award, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, Rashtriya Khel Protsahan puruskar and

23 Ibid.
24 A Nelson, ‘When, Where and Why does the State Intervene in Sports: A Contemporary Perspective’,
available at, accessed on 15th November, 2016.
25 Mukul Mudgal and Vidushpat Singhania, “Law and Sports in India” (2016), p.42
26 Available at: Accessed on 16th November, 2016.
27 Supra note 8

Dronacharya Award are also given by the sports department of Ministry of Youth Affairs and


The Sports Authority of India (SAI), came into existence post the IX Asian Games held in
New Delhi in 1982. It was established in 1984 as a society under the Societies Registration
Act 1860 in pursuance of the Resolution No. 1-1/83/SAI dated 25th January 1984 of the
Department of Sports under the government of India, with the objective of promotion of
Sports. SAI maintains and utilizes stadia on behalf of the government which became venue
for the Asian Games 1982 and Commonwealth Games 2010.29
The primary aims and objectives of SAI include:

➢ Ensuring the promotion of sports in the country.
➢ Implementing schemes aimed at achieving excellence in sports, in India.
➢ To maintain and utilize stadia which were constructed/renovated for the IX Asian

Games held in 1982 on behalf of the government.
➢ SAI acts as an interface between the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports and other

agencies concerned, i.e., U.T. Administration, IOA, State Govt., Sports Control
Boards, National Sports Federations, Industrial Houses, etc.
➢ To establish, run, manage and administer the institutions to produce high caliber
coaches, sports scientists and physical education teachers.
➢ To plan, construct, acquire, develop, takeover, manage, maintain and utilize sports
infrastructure and facilities in the country.

28 “Awards and Awardees” Available at:, accessed on 16th November,
29 Available at: https:, accessed on 15th
November, 2016.

➢ To initiate, undertake, sponsor, stimulate and encourage research projects related to
various sports sciences for up gradation of sports, sportspersons and coaches.

➢ Other incidental issues concerning promotion, development and excellence in

SAI is completely dedicated to ensuring sporting brilliance in the nation by getting into a
partnership with various agencies. As of late, SAI went into a MOU with Glenmark Aquatic
Foundation for Swimming, Mary Kom Boxing Academy for Boxing and Gopichand
Badminton Academy for Badminton. It is also looking for creating collaborations with
International Sport Bodies. SAI has held hands with International Center for Coaching
Excellence (ICCE) for building up a national coaching system.


Much before India gained its independence, it participated in the Olympics and it proved to
be monumental in fostering the image of India as an independent existence.31

A National Olympic Committee (NOC) is a national constituent of the worldwide Olympic
movement. The NOCs promote the rudimentary principles of Olympics at a national level.
They are committed to ensuring the positive growth of athletes. Only an NOC can pick and
send teams and competitors for participating in the Olympic Games. They also train sports
administrators by organizing educational programmes. Before a candidate city can compete
against those in other countries, it first must win the selection process by the NOC in its own
country. Only then can the NOC that city to the IOC as a candidate for hosting the Olympic

In India, the responsibility for preparing the athletes and their participation in Olympics as
well as many such other events such as the Commonwealth Games lies with the Indian
Olympic Association. At the national level, each sports federation has Even the Olympic
associations at the state level strive to achieve these objectives.

30 Ibid.
31 B. Majumdar and N. Mehta, India and the Olympics
32 “Governance of National Olympic Committee” Available at:
national-olympic-committees Accessed on 17th November 2016.

The role of National Olympics committee has been prescribed as:
➢ To promote the values and fundamental principles of Olympics in the country,
particularly in the field of sports and education;
➢ to ensure the observance of the Olympic Charter in their countries;
➢ to encourage the development of high performance sport as well as sport for all;
➢ to help in the training of sports administrators by organizing courses and ensuring that
such courses contribute to the propagation of the Fundamental Principles of
➢ to take action against any form of discrimination and violence in sport;
➢ to adopt and implement the World Anti-Doping Code;
➢ To encourage and support measures relating to the medical care and health of

The IOA has a differential voting rights system amongst its members. National sports
federations whose sports forms a part of the Olympics/ Asian/ Commonwealth program have
three votes; while State Olympic associations have two voting rights. The service Control
Board as well, has two voting rights whereas the members of IOC have one voting right.
Athletes representing Athletes Commission also have one vote.34
IOC was responsible for promotion of Anti-Doping in sports before the World Anti-Doping
Agency was set up. Eventually, it was the Conference on doping in Lausanne, Switzerland
that led to the creation of world anti-doping agency in the year 1999.

33 Article 27, International Olympic committee Charter.
34 Mukul Mudgal and Vidushpat Singhania, “Law and Sport in India” (2016), pg. 45.

In 2004, India signed the Copenhagen declaration on doping and set up National Anti-Doping
Agency (NADA) in accordance with the declaration. It also accepted WADA’s code and
formulated its own in accordance to that of WADA’s.35

National Anti-Doping Agency aims to achieve dope free sports in the country. The main
underlying objective of NADA is to effectively implement the Anti- Doping rules in India in
complete conformity with the WADA code to ensure the proper regulation of dope control
program, to promote education and research and creating awareness about the ill-effects of

The Primary functions of NADA include:

➢ Implementation of the anti-doping code to ensure that all the sports organizations in
the country comply with them.

➢ Conducting dope testing program and coordinating it through all the participating

➢ Promotion of anti-doping research and education to a value system that seeks to
establish dope free sports.

➢ Adopting the best practice standards and extremely efficient and high-quality systems
to enable the effective implementation and continual improvement of the program.36

The objective behind establishing NADA was that it acts as an independent anti-doping
organization for India having a vision of dope free sports. The NADA has the Necessary
authority and responsibility for planning, implementing, coordinating and monitoring
improvements in dope control. NADA must ensure proper control and coordination with
other relevant National Organizations and agencies and encourage reciprocal testing between
National Anti-Doping Organization. Nada must vigorously pursue all potential anti-doping

35 “About Nada”, available at:, accessed on 17th November, 2016.
36 “Primary Functions”, Available at:, accessed on 17th
November, 2016

rule violations within its jurisdiction including investigation into whether an athlete support
personnel may have been involved in a case of doping.37


National sports federation controls and ensures the efficient governance of a particular sport
in the country and recognizes only one state federation per state. Athletic Federation of India,
Badminton Federation of India, Cycling Federation of India, All India Football Federation
and Fencing Association of India are few such examples of National sporting federations.

National federations shoulder upon themselves, the responsibility to identify the sportsmen
who will represent India and the coaches who will supervise them. They are responsible to
ensure efficient utilization of the funds allocated for various sports by providing with
preparatory training and guidance to players and teams. They are also tasked with taking up
initiatives to help promote sporting activities and emphasizing on the social and educational
role of sports.

However, although these federations are required to play an important role in the quantitative
and qualitative improvement of sports activities, particularly for people with disabilities,
school children, women and the elderly etc, as well as in the development and fitness of every
individual, they usually don’t.


Three tier, pyramid like hierarchical structure wherein the International
Federations acquire the top most position, followed by National federations in the
middle and State federations at the very bottom.

United Nations (UN) Organization stands at the top of this hierarchical

International Olympic Committee (IOC), World Anti-doping Agency
(WADA), the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) and International sports
federations (IF’s) together govern the whole International sporting system

Ministry Of Youth Affairs and Sports was initially set up as department of
37 “Vision ofsNpoArDtsAi”n, 1A9v8ai2la.ble at:, accessed on 17th November, 2016.

Sports Authority of India It was established in 1984 as a society under the
Societies Registration Act 1860 with the objective of achieving excellence in
sports and ensuring the promotion of sports in the country.

Indian Olympic Association has the responsibility for preparing the athletes for


In India, the integration of physical education and sports with formal education was
emphasized in the First Five Year Plan itself. The Lakshmibai National Institute of Physical
Education (LNIPE) at Gwalior and the National Institute of Sports (NIS) at Patiala were
established in the Second Five Year Plan. The National Coaching Scheme and the Rural
Sports Programme were started in the Third Five Year Plan and expanded during the Fourth
and Fifth Five Year Plans. Talent spotting and nurturing was emphasized in the Sixth Five
Year Plan. The Seventh Five Year Plan focused on the creation of sports infrastructure. The
development of Rural Sports through a Special Area Games Approach was the thrust of the
Eighth Five Year Plan. The Ninth Five Year Plan emphasized the need for modern sports
infrastructure. The Tenth Plan sought to promote both the broad -basing of sports and the
promotion of excellence in sports.38

However, these high and ambitious objectives could not be realized in significant measure
both because of policy lacunae and because of the inadequacy of budgetary support to sports
from the Union Government and State Governments. Serious concern at this state of affairs
has been expressed in various Parliamentary Committee Reports.

The Standing Committee on Human Resource Development in its Thirty Fourth Report
(1995) on India’s performance in International Sports made wide -ranging observations and
recommendations, including the following:39

➢ The Government should plan the development of sports in a phased manner so that
necessary infrastructure is built up over a period of time.

➢ In view of the decentralization of resources to Panchayats, Government should ensure
that there is a sports complex in each Panchayat which should also hold sports
competitions and championships periodically.

38 “Comprehensive Sports Policy 2007”, available at: accessed on
5th November, 2016
39 Ibid.

➢ Panchayat bodies must also take up the responsibility of scouting talent at an early age
and select them on scientific basis.

Despite these recommendations, there has been little progress made in taking organized
sports and games to children in rural India or in involving Panchayats in the promotion of
such sports and games.

The Parliament Standing Committee on Human Resource Development (1998) studied a
wide range of issues concerning Sports and emphasized the need for bringing about reforms
in sports management and governance in order to make it more dynamic, responsive,
responsible and result -oriented. Some of the major problems identified by the Committee

➢ the lack of sports culture in the country;

➢ the non -integration of sports with the formal education system;

➢ the lack of coordination between all stakeholders;

➢ the inadequacy of sports infrastructure;

➢ the inadequate participation of women in sports; and

➢ The lack of effective sports systems for talent identification and training and fair
selection of teams.

Notwithstanding some progress in filling these lacunae, the validity of these observations
remains and much more needs to be done towards fulfilling these objectives.

Against the background of Government’s decision with effect from fiscal year 2005-06 to
shift the responsibility for financing rural sports infrastructure entirely to State Governments,
the Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Demands for Grants
(2006-’07) of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, in its 176th Report laid in
Parliament, pointedly recommended that the Ministry should provide “funding for rural
sports infrastructure development to patronize the rural sports under its direct supervision ”.

40 “Comprehensive Sports Policy 2007” Pg 9, Available at:
accessed on 5 November 2016

This recommendation was similar to the recommendation of the Working Group on Youth
Affairs and Sports for the Formulation of the Xth Five Year Plan which, while referring
to thrust areas for the Plan, observed that “There is an immediate need to create a network of
basic sports infrastructure throughout the country” and ensure proper access to it “to enable
more people to participate in sports thereby broadening our base for scouting of talent.” The
same point was elaborated upon by the Working Group on Youth Affairs and Sports for
the Formulation of the XIth Five Year Plan which emphasized the need to strengthen the
institutional framework for the development of sports in the country. It states that, “In order
to develop a comprehensive framework for the development of sports in a holistic manner, it
would need to be seen in a threefold perspective–the development of sports and physical
education as an essential ingredient of youth development and the promotion of a sports
culture in the country; broad-basing of sports in the context of the new dimensions that
sports as an activity, per se, has acquired and the opportunities that it would provide for our
youth; and promotion of excellence, particularly with reference to competitive sports at the
international level.”41
As outlined in the section above, the role of sports in national development requires to be
redefined to accord to sports that critical role in youth development which is the prerequisite
of accelerated and inclusive national development. Earlier attempts, have not adequately
addressed the issue. Hence the imperative need of a new Comprehensive Sports Policy.

41 Ibid


34th Report of the Standing Committee On Human Resource Development
recommended that, Government should plan the development of sports in a phased
manner and ensure decentralization of resources to panchayats.

The lack of sports culture in the country and the non -integration of sports with the
formal education system were some of the primary issues identified by the Parliament
Standing Committee on Human Resource Development (1998).

Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Demands for Grants
(2006-’07), recommended that the Ministry should provide funding for rural sports
infrastructure development to patronize the rural sports under its direct supervision
the same being elaborated by the Working Group on Youth Affairs and Sports for the
Formulation of the XIth Five Year Plan.


In India, sports are a part of the State list of the Seventh Schedule under entry 33 of the
Constitution. There are no central or state legislations that regulate sports in the country. The
Sports Law in India is governed and regulated by National Sports Policy, Sports Law and
Welfare Association of India, Sports Authority of India and The Sports Broadcasting Law in
India.42 The law relating sports is mostly scattered across various legislations. There is a need
for a more comprehensive uniform code in India which successfully combines all the rules,
schemes, notification and provisions scattered across various legislations.

Commonwealth Games and IPL and the various controversies that we associate them with,
highlighted their lack of integrity towards the sport and a lack of proper investigation,
procedures for handling complainants, lack of proper investigation procedure, and division of
responsibilities amongst others. This also shows the imperative need for revamping the
current legal structure surrounding sports in India. Sports should be free of corruption and
transparent and authorities should be made accountable to the public to ensure their

During the Commonwealth Games, the fact that there were no existing suitable legislations
for the organization of a mega sporting event deeply affected India’s objectives and attracted
a lot of controversy to the event in contrast to other international models, such as the Sydney
Olympics 2000, London Olympics 2014 and Glasgow Commonwealth Games 2014. These
models enshrine legislations for the regulation and the smooth functioning of organizing
committees (OC) and judicious dealing with key issues such as transport, ticketing, and
intellectual property, land acquisition, broadcasting and licensing rights.44

42 Emergence of sports law in India by Gaurang Kanth., Indian Law Journal
43 Corruption in sports in India by Ashutosh Misra and Abhishek Vikram
44 The Prevention Of Sports Fraud Bill, 2013: A Messiah To Indian Sports? By Ashuti Panjwani And Devika A.
Kumar, International Journal For Legal Developments And Allied Issues Volume 1 Issue 3 [Issn – 2454-1273]


A step forward in the direction of having uniform sports-based legislations is the National
Sports Development Code 2011 (sports Code) which was issued by the Ministry of Youth
Affairs and Sports in January 2011. The Sports Code was an amalgamation of the various
orders and circulars issued by the government from time to time. The purpose of issuing the
code was that that sports development was a national priority, as it had a health and public
welfare nature. Besides this, at the national level, sports teams as well as individuals
internationally involved national pride and National relations of the country.45

The intention behind the sports code was to put all government related policies pertaining to
sports in one places well as to regulate sports in national interest, especially when it involves
prevention of racism, eradication of doping in sports, prevention of age fraud, child abuse,
sexual harassment, protecting gender equality in sports, banning dangerous sports, promoting
professional management, financial accountability in sports, good governance, addressing
anti-trust and completion policy issues, regulating sports broadcasting rights, regulating the
price and entry to sporting events, etc.

The provision in the sports code that became a bone of contention between the government of
India, Indian Olympic association and the National Sports Federation was the age and tenure
norms which were to be imposed on the office bearers of these organizations. Due to strong
opposition from IOA and NSF’S the instruction was overlooked for some time.

The Delhi High Court in Narendra Batra v Union of India (civil W.P. No. 7868 of 2005)46 in
the matter f Indian Hockey Federation, while disposing off the writ petition, vide order dated
02.03.2010, observed categorically that the government's guidelines governing the NSF were
valid, binding and enforceable; and the tenure clause is not in violation of the IOC’s charter.

Also, the Supreme Court in the case of Board of Control for Cricket in India v Cricket
Association of Bihar, though not directly dealing with the sport code, has recognized the role
of government in formulating legislation or guidelines pertaining to sport especially when it
involves the performance of Public functions.

45 Mukul Mudgal and Vidushpat Singhania, “Sports and Law in India” (2016) pg. 81
46 Narendra Batra v Union of India (2009) ILR 4 Del 280

The decisions by The Supreme Court and Delhi High Court have further strengthened the
position of Indian Government and the government has undertaken the process of drafting the
National Sports Development Code of 2015.


The spot fixing and match fixing scandals in cricket brought forth the brought forth the
inadequacy in Indian Criminal law in dealing with the problem of match fixing and spot
fixing in sports. There is not a complete absence of provisions to address these problems. The
international cricket council has an anti-corruption code for participants and BCCI’s anti-
corruption code has similar provisions to address the problem of corruption by fixing and
contriving the influence of the result. However, the power to take an action under these codes
in limited to the participant and cannot include the bookies who are the main culprits as they
induce such acts. Also, the code is imposed by the governing body of the sport, the penal
provisions are disciplinary in nature and the sanctions range from bans to fines.

Dishonesty in sporting event Bill which was drafted in early 2000 had limited application to
the modern commercial game. After the IPL 2013, the government of India was of the
opinion that there was a need to relook the merits of the draft and based changes based on the
outlook of the modern game. A committee headed by Justice Mukul Mudgal was constituted
to provide suggestions and it was upon their recommendations that the Prevention of
Sporting Fraud Bill was drafted. This bill seeks to punish various kinds of practices that
threaten the integrity of sports.47

The Prevention of Sports Fraud Bill, 2013 is landmark legislation in the arena of sports in
India that aims to weed out corruption. Even though this is a step forward in the right
direction there is a very long distance to go in order to become a successful anti fixing

47 Mukul Mudgal and Vidushpat Singhania, “Sports and Law in India” (2016) pg. 79
48 Corruption in sports in India by Ashutosh Misra and Abhishek Vikram


Sports are a part of the State list of the Seventh Schedule under entry 33 of the

There are no central or state legislations that regulate sports in the country.
National Sports Development Code 2011 (sports Code) was issued by the Ministry
Of Youth Affairs and Sports in January 2011.
Dishonesty in sporting event Bill which was drafted in early 2000 with the
intention to deal with inadequacy in Indian Criminal law in dealing with the problem
of match fixing and spot fixing in sports.

Professional sports leagues are unique business structures in a free market economy. They
amalgamate within them elements of competition with cooperation and allow the owners of
these terms to gain monetary benefits based on a profit maximizing49 structures which shall
be further elaborated upon discussing each of these Indian Sporting leagues as discussed
The first of its kind, the Indian Premier League has made the ever-increasing
commercialization of sports a step further in the area of corporate finance. Commercialization
has gone to the extent of not just the team kits being sponsored but separate sponsors have
come in for sponsoring the umpires.50

49 Scott Rosner and Kenneth L. Shropshire, “The Business Of Sports”(2011) Jones and Barlett Publishers
50 Mukul Mudgal and Vindushpat Singhania, “Law and Sports in India” (2016) pg 214

The revenue model of IPL depends on DID YOU KNOW?
centralized and decentralized systems. The

centralized revenue streams include various The ninth edition of the Indian Premier
sponsorship and broadcasting deals of IPL. League ended on a high note with 121
DLF, the property developer of India, paid million viewers tuning in for the finale
more than Rs. 200 crore to win the exclusive between Royal Challenger Bangalore and
title sponsorship rights of IPL for a period of Sunrisers Hyderabad on May 29.
five years. The other sponsors are Hero,

Vodafone, Citibank, Karbonn Mobile, Volkswagen and Royal Challenge. Kingfisher Airlines

became the official umpire partner of IPL at a price of Rs. 106 crore. The broadcasting right

to show IPL matches in India was sold to Multi Screen Media at an exorbitant amount of Rs.

8,700 crore for a period of ten years. A part of this centralized revenue is distributed to the

franchises. It was decided that, till 2017, 40% of this revenue would be retained by IPL while

54% would be distributed among the franchises and 6% would be spent as prize money. After

2017, 50% of this revenue will be retained by IPL, 45% will be given to the franchises and

5% will be spent as prize money. Therefore, it is evident that IPL, like any other major

leagues, provides financial support to its franchises for their survival.51

The decentralized revenue stream allows the franchise owners to sell the commercial rights of
the individual franchise. Aircel, the telecom service provider of India, has paid Rs. 85 crore
to renew its deals with Chennai Super Kings for a period of three years. Deccan Charges has
added two more sponsors, Jaypee Cements as principal sponsor and TVS as co-sponsor.
Mumbai Indians signed a deal with Hero Honda for three years for approximately Rs. 18-20
crore each year. Delhi Daredevils signed Muthoot Group as the main sponsor of their team.
So, through decentralized revenue pool, sufficient opportunity is given to the franchises to
generate fund.52 The revenue generated by these franchisees comes through team
sponsorships, gate receipts in matches, sale of broadcast rights and gate receipts of matches
held on their home ground. All of this revenue except from the one with team sponsorships
must be shared with IPL for the next 10 years.53

51 “The revenue generation and distribution model of IPL” Dated 9 April 2012, Available at Accessed on 10

November 2016
52 Ibid.
53 Supra note 41

The cricketers are remunerated handsomely by the IPL thus setting an example for the world
on how to market a product for a huge premium. While the IPL has seen a fare-share of
controversies, such as match fixing, spot fixing and other major charges of corruption, it is a
novel concept which paved the way for several other Indian sporting leagues and helped in
popularizing those sports in the country.


The league organized by Hockey India was

initiated in the year 2013 and is played between
five franchises. Originally planned as six Indian Hockey Federation was formed on
franchises, the Bangalore Franchise eventually November 7, 1925, in Gwalior. IHF
went unsold. In 2014 the HIL was joined by a became member of International Hockey
sixth franchise Kalinga Lancersand the Federation in 1928, as the first non-
intention is to increase the franchises to 10 by the enEduorofp2e0a1n8c.5o4untry

It is a sanctioned tournament by the International Hockey Federation, wherein it provides a
30-day window in its calendar so that all international players are able to participate in HIL.55

Hero MotoCorp, signed a multiyear deal with hockey India as the title sponsors of the HIL.
The franchises spent close to USD 1.37 million to buy 49 players from Australia, New
Zealand, Spain, Argentina, Ireland, England, South Africa and India. Other sponsors of the
league include Bharti Airtel and Yes Bank. The broadcasting rights of the League were
bagged by ESPN star sports for a period of for a time period of 5 years. The broadcast rights
of Hockey India League and all other international hockey matches hosted by Hockey India
in the country will be with Star Sports from 2016 to 2018 inclusive.56

54 “Hockey India League to have 8 tteams by 2016”, The Hindu Dated 27 February 2014 Available at:
Accessed on 10 November 2016
55 Supra note 41
56 “Star Sports extends broadcasting rights of Indian Hockey for three years” The Times of India Dated 20th
June 2015 Available at:
broadcasting-rights-of-indian-hockey-for-three-years-150620 accessed on 10 November 2016.


Pro kabaddi a first significant step of Mashal DID YOU KNOW?
Sports takes the sort of kabaddi to new
professionalism, which benefits all the Kabaddi first received international
stakeholders involved, especially the players. exposure when India demonstrated the
The bold step has helped in the sports being sport during the Berlin Olympics in 1936.

known worldwide. Pro kabaddi is an eight-city

league with games to be played on a caravan

format, with each team playing each other twice in the field which is held between the

months of July and August. The first season of the league took place in 2014. The effort has

been backed by international kabaddi federation (IKF), the Asian Kabaddi Federation and the

armature kabaddi Federation of India (AKFI), who are also closely associated with

organization and delivery of the event. The games are aired live by star sports who own both

TV and online rights, helps the spread of the game to million viewers across India and the


The revenue share of organizers, Marshal Sports is 80%, which is a fairly high number. The
marketing partner, World Sports Group gets 10% and the remaining 105 is put across for the
league. Each team owner some of whom have spent between 1 crore to 1.15 crore for the
team rights for 10 years. Their revenue comes from team sponsorship, ticket sales and prize
money. 58

The cumulative reach of pro kabaddi league in its first year was 435 million, compared to 560
million for IPL in 2014, which made it the second most watched league in the country. The
Indian super league which also had its first season was closer with 410 million cumulative
reach. The new domestic sports leagues, however, require significant management of efforts
over a period of time to get established and become successful.59

57 Available at: accessed on 10 November 2016. at
58 Can star do IPL with Pro kabaddi league” dated 18 july 2014 Available
League.html accessed on 10th November.
59 Mukul Mudgal and Vindushpat Singhania, “Law and Sports in India” (2016) pg 217


Looking at the success of various other leagues in India and learning from the failures of
Badminton League, Football Sports Development, a company owned by IMG-Reliance,
along with Star India, set up the Indian Super League for football in the year 2014. The aim
of the league was to foster local talent and to feature international stars in hope to aid India in
qualifying for the 2026 football world cup.

The inaugural edition of the IHL featured eight city specific franchise teams who paid an
annual franchise fee of Rs, 15 crores. The title sponsorship was bagged by hero moto-corp for
a term of three years; a sum of Rs. 100 crore was generated in the centralized sponsorship
pool of which 80 crores was distributed equally among the franchises. The franchises are said
to have spent a sum of Rs. 30- 40 crore in the first year. While the franchises expected the
revenue levels to be at the same point as IPL they were left highly disappointed.


While based on the franchise system, the IPTL is played in a never seen before format. It is

played not just in India but in the UAE, Singapore and Philippines. A new franchise and

venue for the second season has been added in

the form of Japan Warriors. DID YOU KNOW?

The matches are played between current The Medieval form of tennis is termed as
champions, tennis legends and upcoming talents real tennis, a game that evolved over
and involve some of the biggest names in the three centuries, from an earlier ball
world like Roger Federer, Maria Sharapova, game played around the 12th century in
Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams France which involved hitting a ball with
etc. a bare hand and later with a glove

Coca cola entered into a deal with IPTL not just as the title sponsor but also picked up, 10%
equity stake. The part equity part sponsorship deal was estimated at around 18 crore and
structured in a way that coca cola’s sponsorship money would add up to 10% equity over a

certain period of time. The IPTL was broadcasted in almost 125 countries and reaches over
300 million households.


The IBL was a one of a kind initiative of the badminton Association of India. Originally
proposed by the Maharashtra Badminton Association, the league was commercially managed
by the sports management company Sporty Solutions Private Limited.

The Idea was to make Poona a household phenomenon through a format, which was exciting
and had the ability to keep the viewers on the edge of their seats, whether in the stadia or at
home. The Format of the league was, based on Sudirman Cup format with the only difference
of men’s singles match instead of women’s double match

The success of Saina Nehwal, Jwala Gutta, Ashwini Ponnappa and Parupalli Kashyap,
coupled with the guidance of Pullela Gopichand, finally culminated into the Indian
Badminton League 2013, the brand value of which was valued at USD 1 million, the richest
Badminton League in the world.

IBL was heavily dependent upon advertising and

ticket sales etc for the central pool. Similarly, the DID YOU KNOW?
individual franchisees also had the right to recover
the costs and make profits. Broadly the revenues the concept of contemporary
came for the franchisees fees, TV rights sale, on badminton was developed by the British
ground advertising and ticket sales etc. for the in the 1800's from a game called “poon”
central pool. Similarly, the individual franchisees played in India

also had the right to monetize various advertising

avenues in their respective home venues as well as

through apparel partnership, on ground advertising etc.

While, the IBL was a runaway success in its first Year, ramping up impressive numbers on
television and the viewers appreciating the format to a great extent, it was not without issues
from an operational standpoint. Some of the major issues surrounding IBL were:60

60 Mukul Mudgal and Vindushpat Singhania, “Law and Sports in India” (2016) pg 220

➢ Huge sums were spent on the venues at the last minute since no physical inspection of
the venues had been done and the agreements weren’t even in place prior to assigning
the venues.

➢ Local associations at the venue failed to lend any form of support which worsened the
situation with the lack of staff.

➢ Advertisements factors, the appointed media agency was not proactive and lacked the
skill to be able to handle the media in the right manner.

➢ A couple. This was made evident in Delhi, where the requested for 100 accreditations
to be made.

➢ The majority of the state associations were allegedly of little to no help during the
event. Instead of providing assistance, they made matters extremely difficult for the
venue managers.

➢ There were complaints received about the distance of hotels from the venues, which
in particular led to further exhaustion of the players.

➢ Signage installations were often delayed

➢ No itemized budget was put in place before the start of the league neither was any
planning or research done on the kind of expenses involved in the organization of a

In spite of these major troubles, that faced the event, the league instilled hope for more such
leagues in the future. With the emergence of more and more such leagues in the last three
years, several sports are now emerging into the limelight. Several experimentations are being
done to the formats and the games are being modified in ways to attract more and more
players/viewers. These leagues are helping in attracting the masses towards sports by making
it a viable and lucrative career option for many Indians today.


IPL was introduced by the BCCI in the Year 2008.
The revenue for IPL is generated in a centralized and decentralized manner.
The hockey India league was initiated in the year 2013 and is played between five franchises.
Hero MotoCorp is the title sponsor with Bharti Airtel and Yes Bank being the other prominent

sponsors while the broadcasting rights were bagged by ESPN.
Pro kabbadi is an eight-city league with games to be played on a caravan format, the first season of

which took place in the year 2014.
The Indian Super League was set up in the year 2014 with the aim to foster local talent in hopes of

making India qualify the 2026 world-cup.
IPTL was founded in the year 2013 and is played not just in India but UAE, Singapore, and

Coca cola is the title sponsor and owns 10% equity stake.
The Indian Badminton League was founded in the year 2013.
The Format of the league was, based on Sundirman Cup format.

It is the richest Badminton League in the world.
Some of the major issues facing the league were, the inadequacy of venues, inexperienced media

partners and the distance between hotels and venues.

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