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Gaming and Sports Laws in India

The Gaming and Sports Law regime in India is relatively new and a hardly exploited field of law. Sports law is based on how the law in general interacts with the sports activity.  Different from theoretical laws, it is a pure law. Sports law is not only an applied law in the field of sports but also a blend of laws in a number of jurisdictions.

Authority Structure : The international sports body for each sport, made up of national bodies of different countries is at the top of the hierarchy. The national sports bodies comprise the provincial or state bodies of different countries. The provincial state bodies comprise the different districts or clubs.

In India, national as well as provincial sports bodies, clubs, associations or societies are generally set up under the law of societies. These national sports bodies field the national team on behalf of the country for participation in international competitions. These bodies also grant telecasting and broadcasting rights to the successful bidder for heavy sums and also receive revenues from advertisement in sports events.

Indian Sports Policy with reference to Competition Laws

Few things that are required to be ensured:

  • proper structure and liabilities of the sports bodies;
  • key policies for sports bodies including code of conducts, policies for discipline, selection, harassment, conflict of interests, recruitment and awards, etc. 

Sports Injuries with regard to the Issues of Liability

This comprises potential liabilities, claim and compensation, risk assessment and insurance provisions.

Contracts in Sports

Sports Law is also governed by the Law of Contracts wherein employee contract agreements must ensure that all contractual agreement accrues matters of intellectual property and other requisites between employee and employer.

Harassment in Sports

This includes review of the laws and policies for:

  • the harassment of fair sex in sports;
  • means and methods for equality rights for fair sex, girl child and female participants of sports;
  • internal investigations and inquiries on the harassment in sports; and
  • humanitarian and constitutional laws for prevention of racial and gender harassment. 

Labour Issues

Players and owners have to negotiate mandatory issues relating to hours, wages and working conditions. The agents entrusted to conduct business on the players’ behalf should be working as per well laid out norms that serve the best interests of the game.

Drug Use

The problem of performance enhancing drugs is a major problem in the sports sector. Drug testing, list of banned drugs, penalties, privacy issues and right to appeal are to be clearly stated by the nodal agency concerned.

Tort Laws

Tort Laws were once not a part of the landscape of sports laws. But intentional tort pointing to a criminal act of assault may be penalized. Similarly, right to publicity covers the defamation aspect under Tort law for sports persons having reputation at any level (local/ regional, national, global etc.).

Broadcasting Rights

The Indian Competition Act, 2002, holds void any agreement that is likely to cause an appreciable adverse impact on competitiveness. In this context, the issue of grant of broadcasting rights of sporting events has been repeatedly raising controversy. The emergent interaction between sports and law has shaped a new need for a greater understanding of how the law relates to the sporting world. Till the time a specific law is formulated for sporting activities in India, it is an amalgam of diverse legal disciplines such as contract, tort, taxation, labor, competition, TV rights, match fixing and related criminal laws.

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