chapter  Chapter 7
17 Pages

Football law

WithRichard Parrish, Adam Pendlebury

The regulation of professional football has been referred to as “football law.” This chapter explores this concept and in doing so it draws a distinction between private (self) regulation and public (state) regulation. Private regulation refers to the body of rules and arbitration decisions generated by the football governing bodies at national association, continental, and global levels. At the pinnacle of the private regulatory order sits the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) with its decisions generating the so-called lex sportiva. Public regulation, by contrast, refers to the legal duty imposed on football bodies to comply with national, European Union, and international law. One argument in support of private self-regulation is that the football authorities are more sensitive to the specificities of the football industry than public authorities whose regulation of sport erodes the long-standing principle of sporting autonomy. Countering this argument is the view that as modern professional football amounts to very significant economic activity, football authorities should be accountable to public authorities. This chapter examines the veracity of these arguments in relation to a number of issues including, amongst others, employment relationships in sport, athlete behaviour, and discipline, public safety, and public order in and around football venues. It concludes by suggesting that the private and public regulation of football are not mutually exclusive and are capable of co-existing in the regulatory space.