Talking Points: LawAccord

Due Diligence is Key

SportAccord Director General, Vlad Marinescu, opened LawAccord on behalf of SportAccord and SportAccord Convention President, Marius L Vizer, on Monday of the Convention week, with delegates tackling the hot legal topics of ‘host agreements’, ‘risk and the role of insurance’ and ‘rules, regulations and disciplinary procedures’.

With Chairman, Stephen Townley, steering the discussion, FIBA Secretary General, Patrick Baumann, Michael Lenard of CAS and ISAF Secretary General, Jerome Pels, debated the key factors of hosting agreements in the first session, with the importance of due diligence emerging as a key theme.

Compensation provisions in contracts were also highlighted, although Pels noted that it would be ‘make believe’ to imagine an IF suing a National Association.

With panellists warning that it is impossible to eliminate risk, the second session examined ways in which it might be significantly mitigated by insurance. Panellists warned sports to look at the exclusions in policies to ensure that they have the right type of coverage.

LawAccord also examined the question of the use of new rules to maintain interest and modernise some sports, and panellists representing IFs noted that the legal aspects of their jobs are increasing steadily, regardless of whether they have any legal expertise.

The session heard that, in common with other sectors, sport can often face resistance to change. Sarah Lewis, Secretary General of FIS, skiing’s world governing body, and Pierre Ketterer, Legal Counsel of the FIA, motorsport’s global governing body, said that often sport needs a catalyst to enact such changes and that even if the catalysts are negative – such as doping scandals or accidents – they can sometimes bring positive changes.

Matthieu Reeb, of the Court of Arbitration for Sport, said that sport’s efforts to develop internal discipline and appeals processes have been quite successful, with very few such disputes being referred, and added that mediation has also become increasingly appropriate to resolve disputes.