India in the recent times has proved its mettle in the area of international sports. From P.V. Sindhu becoming world No. 1 in BWF rankings in September 2019 to Sumit Nagal winning the title at ATP Challenger Tournament in Buenos Aires; India is shining brighter by the day in the international sports scene. Being a dynamic and global field, sports is one unifying force across all jurisdictions. The United Nations has already acknowledged that sports is a way of enhancing the health, education and development of a population. Hence, the need for its streamlining and regulation of this sector cannot be denied.
Indian legal regime has devised various litigations and policies that deal with the many facets of sports law. These laws stem from the aspect of a sporting event they control. The main laws, policies and agencies that fall within the ambit of sports law and govern it are:
- Sports Broadcasting Signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharati) Act (for broadcasting of sporting events)
- Anti-Doping Rules enforced by National Anti-Doping Agency (for control of drug abuse in sporting events)
- Sports Law and Welfare Association of India
- The Public Gambling Act (as well as various other State Acts)
- IP laws (for merchandising and personality rights)
These laws, policies and agencies are what form the comprehensive view on the governance of sports law in India but as is clearly evident there is lack of a streamlined and established legislation that can cover more than just one aspect of sports before. Due to the lack thereof, the National Sports Development Code, 2011(NSDC) prescribe and operate for all National Sports Federations. The validity of NSDC has been upheld by the Delhi High Court in Indian Olympic Association v. Union of India. Legal disputes in sports is sometimes also resolved by Arbitration which is a method of Alternative Dispute Resolution.
For Sports and Sportsmen to develop and evolve, Sport law needs to develop and evolve in India. The imminent need is for legislature to take cognizance of the situation and come up with blanket laws that govern sports related matters inclusively and completely. Sports in India is no longer limited to a few sports but is opening up to a significant array of sports and sportsmen/women excelling in their respective fields.