Sports Law: Overview of an Emerging Field of Law


In today’s time we often hear about constitutional law, criminal law, law of contract, intellectual property rights, company law and many famous cases dealing with the same. But, sports law is one of the fields of law which is existing in our society but people are not aware of it. The simple reason behind it is that the legal history of India does not talk much about sports law or gaming law. The education for the same is also less prevalent in the various parts of world. There are several debates going on around the world that whether sports law is a definite field of law or its just the nomenclature given.  

Sports and the Law

According to the traditional perspective, the term sports law is a misnomer given that sport represents a form of activity and entertainment that is governed by the legal system in its entirety. Some lawmakers say that sports law is the application of sport situations into the disciplines of various other laws such as contract law, competition law, intellectual property law, administrative law and employment law. After referring to this opinion various other officials believed that sports has nothing to do with the legal industry and its just one of the area where other laws are applicable.

In sum, supporters of the traditional perspective argue that no separately identifiable body of law exists that can be characterized as sports law. As per the general rule, we should also take into consideration the views of the people who propose to make sports law a different field. The main line of arguments was that due to increase in population and increase in advancements in the sports and gaming, we will require a field of law which regulates the activities infringing the rights of people while playing sports. However, this debate is still going on in some parts of the world and even some countries like US, China, South Africa have constituted sports law as an essential component in their statute.

Sports Law in India

As per the history, there is no national or state legislation for regulation of sports in India. Government of India took the initiative and established The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports in order to develop infrastructure and to facilitate institutional capacity for broad-based sporting, as well as to achieve success in various sporting events at national and international level. Sport development is mainly the responsibility of various National Sports Federations (NSFs) which are independent in nature. The Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs issues notifications and guidelines from time to time for the purpose of proper implementation of policies by the authorities.

In India, the Sports Law is regulated and monitored by The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports

National Sports Policy

A National Sports Reform Resolution was proposed in both the Parliament Houses in August 1984. The National Sports Policy, 1984 was conceived with the goal of increasing the level of Sports in the country. The policy provided that the progress made in implementing it would be reviewed every five years to assess the further plan of action, as may be required. It has been transpired over the years that, even The National Sports Policy incorporates different aspects of promoting sports in the country, it is not sufficient to enforce the same.

Sports Law and Welfare Association of India

The Sports Law and Welfare Association of India is a non-profit and specialized organization operating with the collective aim of learning and advancing the ethical practice of Sports Law in India to encourage sports by bringing together legal professionals and sports players. The Association offers advice and guidance on subjects including regulation of sports, regulatory bodies, general sports and legal disputes, intellectual rights in sports, online assisting in legal conflicts in court on behalf of athletes and sports bodies, etc.

Sports Authority of India

The Sports Authority of India was set up to accomplish the need of an executive agency to organize different sporting events in India. The accomplishment of the IXth Asian Games at Delhi has geared up the sports awareness and excitement in India which in effect, encouraged Government of India to concentrate on sports development, to promote physical fitness among youngsters and to channelize their energy towards excellence. It has expanded its activities slowly to encourage broad base sports. SAI’s other specific objectives include improving performance resources and various support services such as training programs, coaching and physical activity awareness initiatives and scholarship schemes as opportunities for athletes.

The Sports Broadcasting Law in India

The Sports Broadcasting Signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharati) Act was enacted in 2007 with the goal of providing free-to-air coverage to the maximum number of listeners and audiences of sporting activities of national significance through the compulsory sharing of sports broadcasting signals.

Practicing Sports Law in India

The work for the lawyer interested in the sporting industry can be diverse and significantly wealthy. As mentioned above, legal enforcement in the field of athletics includes nearly every practical aspect of the law. The position of lawyers goes beyond the widely held assumption that negotiating a deal with a club is their task. The dynamic quality of services provided by lawyers of athletes is representative of the vast variety of legal resources and the practical experience sought by lawyers representing those interested in the sports industry. Advocates operating within this area of the sport industry will also be called upon to serve their clients in broad and diverse areas, including representing colleges and universities in securing and executing employment terms for players, team owners and other sports-related administrators and staff, representing colleges and universities in settlements.

The Indian Sporting industry has made headway with steps and limits. Sports took on a professional shape, given the amount of economic interests involved. With the industry development and the need for transparent and detailed legal paperwork, sport problems are increasingly becoming a big issue as contracts must be able to articulate the requirements and obligations of the players. It should also protect the big picture needs of the individual and the company and must be in consideration with the industry’s implicit financial, legal and other risks. The nation has reached a stage where India requires laws and regulations dealing with the efficacies of sports. India’s downfall in all major international sporting competitions is a reflection of the federation’s shortage of resources and corruption. To meet the challenges of the changing scenario, it is good to encourage a standard code of legislation for sports.


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the views and opinions of Legally Flawless or its members.

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