Demystifying Sports Law: Legislation and development

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Law has undergone immense diversification in these years. Being the guiding force, laws cannot be kept out of reach of any sphere. The rate of popularity sports has gained in India is exponential. Not only this growth in following is of one sport, but many. Cricket, badminton, football, chess and many more are highly entertained, watched and followed in India.

What can be implied from this is that the need for laws in sports. Sports Law is not a new name. With the rise in the number of federations, governing bodies pertaining to sports and game need of particular laws become more important. It is worthy to mention that unfairness and malicious actions are not tolerable concerning the public interest. Match-fixing, cheating, issues of broadcasting, gambling, the privacy of players, anti-competitive practices are some of the areas that sports law provide for.

National Sports Policy and Lodha Committee

National Sports Policy is the sole sports-dedicated policy that was formulated in 2001. Earlier, National Sports policy, 1984 was brought in to meet the purpose of inculcating the element of law in sports. The policy manifested the efforts of excelling in the arena of sports at both national and international levels. It has been formulated many times to match the dynamism of the changing sports and their practices. With the evolvement in the rules of the game, it has been a challenge to keep with its accordance.

Lodha Committee is one of the core elements in the phase that shaped sports law in India. After Justice Mukul Mudgal Committee investigated the IPL betting scandal and paved the way for this committee. From the time, the committee has recommended BCCI in various aspects and better functioning.

Important Case Laws

In the case of K. Murugan vs Fencing Assn. Of India, the case highlighted the notable importance of sports in its eyes. Quoting from the judgement

Sports in modern times has been considered to be a matter of great importance to the community. International sports has assumed greater importance and has been in the focus for over a few decades. In some of the recent Olympic games the performance of small States has indeed been excellent and laudable while the performance of a great country like India with world’s second highest populations has been miserable.

The discussion of sports law in India is can never be done without the mention of the case of Zee telefilms and others vs Union of India and others. The case was about broadcasting agreements with ZEE telefilms. It ended answering a question, whether BCCI comes under the ambit of State as per Article 12 of the constitution. It was declared by the majority that it does not be held state under the article but in view to its role and functioning, BCCI is amenable under writs under Article 226 of the constitution. This case is referred as the Magna Carta of India Sports Law.

The Sports Broadcasting Signals (Mandatory Sharing With Prasar Bharati) Act, 2007

Turning the pages, the litigations have been about the broadcasting of the sports events. Any sports event comes with lots of sponsorship opportunities and excites many companies to approach for their marketing. The increase of the competitive angle came with its problems. As the consequence, the government came with The Sports Broadcasting Signals (Mandatory Sharing With Prasar Bharati) Act, 2007

This act is viewers oriented. To respect the support and spirit for sports the act provides for free telecasting of sports events that are of national importance. The broadcasting rights were vested to Prasar Bharati. The act undoubtedly has brought the experience of sports to its enthusiast one step closer. The act also provides for the advertisement partners and their share in the revenue.


Sports finds its position in the concurrent list. Important to consider that, India does not have a very devoted or specific law governing issues of sports uniformly.  The most severe shortcoming out of this has been the lack of financial assistance in sports. Every sport has its organization or federation. The considerable amount of funds provided relates to its popularity. For instance, the Indian cricket team is managed by the wealthiest Cricket board in the world. In other sports, there is a lack of funds. Wrestling, archery, kabaddi are sports to be named in which India has been land to star players. However, the potential these sports have is not realized to full.

The core reason has been not enough finance and which has invited other problems too. Also, these sports have been headed by bureaucrats from which the problem of corruption is predictable. The formulation of a specific law is the solution for the problem of the fund. Ministry of Youth Affairs and Funds along with other active sports organizations and bodies have discussed the need for a specific law. However, it has merely been in talks and yet to be realized in reality.

Sports has various implications for any country. The fame and craze associated with it have upraised the matters. The company endorsement by the players, brand ambassadorship, promotional activities has added the contractual concerns.  Sports legislation will not only cover these aspects and protects the rights of individual players but will help to develop other sports stars that India homes too.

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