Sports Law in 5 questions

With sports being increasingly professional, this is an area of the law that has gained ground in Portugal, Europe and the world. Pedro Madeira de Brito, lawyer, Professor of the Faculty of Law of the University of Lisbon and partner at BAS, explains some of the key points of this area of practice.


  1. What are the main areas of activity and domains of Sports Law and what are the main aspects of this new area of practice of BAS?

The areas of practice are fundamentally Administrative Sports Law, Sports Labour Law, Civil Law (from sports companies and sports clubs and Financial Fair Play, which was the subject of a recent conference in which we participated), Insolvency Law and, Intellectual Property.


  1. Is football the most sensitive sport (which deserves more attention) because of its popularity in Portugal and in Europe? Why?

Yes. Because of its size and financial interests. These are two aspects that are necessarily associated. The greater the popularity of the sport, the greater the number of stakeholders and the greater the interest involved. Football has all these ingredients. But we have been dealing with other areas such as the American Football Championship.


  1. What points deserve more attention concerning sports contract?

The conciliation of the private life of the sports worker with his professional activity is one of the most relevant subjects. On the other hand, related matters such as the validity of the contract – the clauses of permanence and competition in the context of these employment contracts, what are known as freedom of work restriction and termination clauses – is one of the most important topic in this area. These are the two major topics that stand in the current framework.

These clauses have always deserved greater attention in Sport Work because, in fact, sports work contracts are structurally limited in time. On the other hand, it is a sporting activity and, therefore, it is necessary to ensure that the rules regarding the correctness of this sport activity are not altered by the fact that the sportsmen change clubs, also altering this correctness that results from the circumstance of having one team playing against another. It is important not only to protect the worker, but also to protect the interests of sports agents who take the employer’s position.


  1. What does the legal reform and the new legal framework bring of new and positive in terms of practical changes in this area?

It is a question of introducing a set of corrections to the previous framework, namely as regards the termination clauses and the issue of image rights. The legal framework now approved although it does not constitute a structural change in the legal framework of the athlete’s contract of employment, it contains innovative aspects that will merit the attention of those interested in this sector


  1. With the V Sports Law Congress coming up, what do you expect from this edition of the event?The main objective is to use the congress to discuss the main aspects in the new legal framework that has just been approved by the Portuguese Parliament. The objective is to contribute to the scientific discussion of this diploma, especially in these very sensitive issues: the clauses of freedom of work and these issues of reconciling work and personal life.

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