Sport know how

IOC-FIS clash over Russian skiers ‘a plate of scrambled egg’

This article first appeared in Sportcal. An embarrassing and potentially damaging rift has opened between the International Olympic Committee and the FIS over their treatment of six Russian skiers that were recently banned for life for doping by the IOC, after the international skiing federation declined to follow its lead. Yesterday, the FIS gave the six […]


Dispute resolution in a future EU / UK trade “deal”: what are the likely costs of avoiding indefinite European Court of Justice jurisdiction?

In most commercial negotiations, discussions about dispute resolution procedures are usually left until last. The parties don’t like to poison negotiations by talking about how they resolve disputes before they even reach agreement. But the future resolution of disputes in any eventual EU/UK agreement has exercised both sides already in the embryonic negotiations. This is […]

Employment status

Given the recent high profile cases involving Uber, CitySprint and the like, the true employment status of purportedly “self-employed” individuals has come under the spotlight. So what is genuine self-employment and what is a worker or an employee? And why does it matter? What are the categories of employment status? There are three categories of […]


The blanket banning of Russian participation in the Paralympics; Swiss courts to choose between Blackstone and Pol Pot

According to the great English jurist William Blackstone, it is better that ten guilty men go unpunished than one innocent man is convicted.  Authoritarian opponents of Blackstone (who, Wikipedia informs us, include Bismarck, Dick Cheney and Pol Pot) would appear to have been joined by the Court of Arbitration for Sport( CAS). CAS has decided […]

After the Premier League file closure: is this the new ‘industrial policy’ in action or time to strip Ofcom of its competition enforcement powers?

This week’s announcement that Ofcom is closing its investigation into Virgin Media’s complaint that the Premier League is restricting the supply of live TV rights to its matches, in return for the Premier League increasing their number from 168 to 190 and agreeing that no single buyer will scoop the pool next time the rights […]


Why Britain’s current semi-detachment from EU Competition principles could become complete post Brexit

Much of the speculative commentary on Brexit and its implications for competition law has adopted “a business as usual” analysis.  It is said that we are bound to follow EU law while we are members and that it is likely that competition law based on the EU/EEA model will kick in once we leave – […]

Adam Johnson’s gross misconduct: time for meaningful action from the players union

When it became public that Adam Johnson’s lawyers had somehow disclosed to Sunderland’s Chief Executive (Margaret Byrne) well before his trial, that their client had confessed to one of a number of criminal charges brought against him, the suggestion was made by much of the media that she should have informed the board. Had she […]


Sports Governing Bodies face EU intervention: could their members actually leave the Hotel California as a result?

The effect of having only one governing body for a sport is to make member clubs and individual athletes like the guests in the fabled Hotel California; they can check out any time they like but they can never leave because there is nowhere else to go to. Last week’s announcement that the European Commission […]

Rugby World Cup and player safety: the policing of acts of foul play – is it enough?

Rugby World Cup fever is well upon us, with record attendances, the odd upset (South Africa v Japan) and the old rivalries (England v Wales) adding to the excitement. Needless to say, the debate surrounding players’ safety has reignited (if it ever went away), in particular in relation to the potential for head injuries. With the eyes […]


Sport and free market rules: should Pandora’s box have stayed closed?

  This article was first published in Lawyer Issue in July 2015, www.lawyerissue.com. In 1984, one of the very first complaints was made to a competition authority about the organisation of a sporting event. Its novelty caused some stirrings of interest in the EU Commission competition department. Swift action was required as it related to […]

Significant changes to company law in the UK, Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015

The government’s aim in introducing the Act is to enable small businesses to innovate, grow and compete. The hope is also that internationally it will endorse the UK as a trusted and fair place to do business. The Act received Royal Assent on 26 March 2015 and is set to have a significant impact on […]


Competition law and the cultural industries: is there now a “social” exemption?

Collective agreements between unions and employers setting minimum rates of pay which are intended to improve working conditions of employees generally fall outside the scope of competition law.   So trades unions can agree minimum fees for their members without fear of fines for breaches of the prohibition on cartels. But what about collective agreements entered […]

Does the FIFA Ban on TPO infringe EU Law?

Whether it be huge transfer fees, large broadcasting deals or the financial fair play rules, football and finance is rarely out of the news. The latest issue to rear its head is third party ownership of football players. Whilst the issue in the UK dates back to the well known Tevez-Mascherano saga in 2007, FIFA’s […]


Restraint of Trade, Competition Law and the Transfer Window: a Level Playing Field?

The January transfer window has once again brought allegations that a Premier League club has made an ‘illegal approach’ to sign a player without involving his current club. This puts the issue of restraint of trade and the FA transfer rules under scrutiny yet again. The differences between the FA rules and the FIFA rules […]

Top 5 New Year resolutions for HR practitioners

***** Stop Press: Katee Dias was recognised as a “Star Legal Writer” by the The Lawyer for this article. ***** Katee Dias Employment Lawyer Goodman Derrick Top Five HR Resolutions As January is often seen as the time for instigating change, we thought it would be helpful to consider some possible New Year resolutions for those of […]


Virgin Media’s Ofcom complaint – payback time for the long suffering fans?

Stephen Hornsby’s article originally appeared in World Sports Law Report Volume 12, Issue 12, December 2014. To access the original, please visit: http://e-comlaw.com/world-sports-law-report/article_template.asp?ID=1729 Virgin Media’s Complaint to Ofcom As noticed briefly in last months issue, Virgin Media has complained to Ofcom that the English Premier League (“EPL”) practice of restricting the number of games available […]

UEFA Financial Fair Play Regulations (FFPR) settlements, Striani complaint and EU Law

  With attentions naturally focussed on an evenly balanced and therefore particularly exciting World Cup, where a number of less heralded small countries are holding their own and even defeating much larger rivals – the role of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play Regulations (FFPR) in protecting the magic circle of clubs from new kids on the […]


Penalty Clauses in Commercial Agreements Following El Makdessi v Cavendish Square Holdings

It is common for parties to commercial agreements to agree mechanisms for resolving breaches of their agreement without having to resort to legal proceedings. Typically this is done by incorporating provisions, such as forfeiture or compulsory buy-back clauses, into a contract which are activated upon one party’s breach of its terms. In such a situation, […]

Should Merger Control Be Repatriated To The UK (And All Other Member States)?

Since 2012, the Government has been conducting an audit of EU powers (or “competences” to use the jargon) with a view to seeking whether their repatriation to the UK in appropriate cases.  In a recent consultation, it has got round to asking interested parties on about the current division of regulatory responsibilities between Brussels and […]


A Review of Employment Law Reform in 2013 and 2014

As with 2013, there will be no rest for employment law advisers, employers and HR practitioners in 2014, with further legislative change on the agenda.  Many of the changes hail from the government’s Red Tape Challenge following its publication of the report “Progress on Reform” on 14 March 2013, which detailed the intended timetable for […]

Important Changes to English Litigation Costs – Part 2 (Costs Management)

New rules on costs management are intended to benefit litigants by ensuring that the legal costs of fighting a case are proportionate to the issues in dispute. On the face of it this sounds like it must be a positive step, however the reality is that the changes may not be as beneficial as would initially appear to be the case.


Agency Workers – Tribunal Decides “Swedish Derogation” Lawful for Maintaining Pay Difference between Permanent and Agency Workers

An Employment Tribunal has decided that a temporary work agency which transferred a group of agency workers off zero hours contracts onto guaranteed hours contracts did in fact comply with the Agency Workers Regulations 2010 and that the Swedish Derogation could be relied upon [Bray and others v Monarch Personnel Refuelling (UK) Ltd ET/1801581/12 and others].

Reorganising the Regulation of Financial Services in the UK: The Financial Services Act 2012

1st April sees the introduction of a new structure for the regulation of financial services in the UK. Is its rolling out on April Fools’ Day just a bit of quirky Britishness or a true indication that we would be fooling ourselves in thinking that a mere re-organisation could prevent a repeat of the banking and financial crisis?


Validity of Post-Acquisition Restrictive Covenants

In a recent case, the Court considered the issue of whether covenants in a share purchase agreement amounted to penalties and whether restrictions were an unreasonable restraint of trade.

Important Changes to English Litigation Costs – Part 1

In Shakespeare’s time, lawyers adopted a “no fee, no breath” approach. In spite of the still widely held view that lawyers will do anything for money and nothing without it, “no win, no fee” arrangements have become commonplace in recent years in English litigation. However, a series of controversial changes are shortly to be introduced which, depending on one’s viewpoint, may reduce access to justice for some, whilst increasing it for others and place some losing parties in a fairer position, but some in a worse one. Jonathan Haydn-Williams explains the current position and the imminent changes.


Executive Remuneration: Changes in 2013

There are a number of company law proposals expected to be implemented in 2013. These include reforms relating to executive remuneration and the introduction of the new employee-owner status

Employment Law – What to Expect in 2013

The Government has a wide variety of new legislation currently going through Parliament, which it intends to bring into force next year. This should make for a very interesting and challenging 2013 in the employment and discrimination arena


Excessive Director Remuneration

Court of Appeal overturns High Court Decision on Unfair Prejudice

Competing Holiday Requests

Many staff will want time off over Christmas, and it’s not always possible to accommodate every request. So its important to ensure you have a sensible system for deciding who get to take holiday.


Rules on Employee Rest

Read here for a summary of the rules regarding rest breaks that should be given to workers.

The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012

The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (“LASPO”) received royal assent on 1 May 2012. The primary purpose of the bill was to reform the civil litigation costs and funding framework, but a number of other changes were also included which may have wide reaching consequences for businesses in England & Wales and their directors and senior officers.


Ofcom and the Pub Landlord: Have Sky and (FAPL) Won?

The summer’s exciting sporting action has not entirely obscured important developments off the field in the Pay TV market. Ofcom has been trying for a long time to loosen Sky’s grip on Premier League rights and BT Vision has bought a package of rights at considerable expense. However Ofcom has lost a significant battle before the Competition Appeal Tribunal . And it looks as if the pub landlady’s much trumpeted “victory” will be snatched from her as the Premier League curtails the number of foreign broadcasts. Stephen Hornsby asks whether it is now time for the regulatory authorities to move on.