Welcome to the World of Sports Law

Welcome to the World of Sports Law

This is my first ever post. 

I would like to welcome you all to what I hope it will be an exciting, informative and comprehensive blog.

Almost 30 years ago, a new legal discipline appeared in the UK. Its presence was embraced with several different views and opinions. Some of them were opinions of excitement and celebration. Others were accompanied with curiosity. And some others with concern and disbelief: "There is no such thing as Sports Law" many uttered.

Thirty years on and I am convinced that whatever the prevailing view is, a separate and distinct area of legal inquiry exists. A body of jurisprudence [and statutory law] it is now present and defines, governs and regulates sporting activities from around the world. This body of jurisprudence develops rapidly and constantly. Such is its enormity and importance that an autonomous Court had to be created in relation to sports law disputes. This Court has now received a universal acceptance as the highest Court in Sport in the world: the famous Court of Arbitration for Sport [CAS].

I have had the fortune and the privilege to be taught and be guided by a remarkable man who is, deservedly so, called the 'father' of sports law in the UK: the late Edward Grayson. A barrister with enormous knowledge about sport and the law and a man of enormous integrity and professionalism. Edward loved the law and also loved sport. His vision was unique, even at an era where sport and the law were concepts foreign to one another and their connection could have been something out of this world. Edward Grayson saw the future of sports law at a time when commercialisation was threatening to destroy what he believed in and treasured the most: the Corinthian Values in sport.

I still remember the long hours I used to spend with Edward Grayson in the Middle Temple Library in London. Edward was an endless source of information. He could site long judgements from memory when others could not even remember the name of the case! His interest in sports law was immense and his desire about it was contagious. We would talk about sports law for hours and we would analyse every single sports law development that made the news. I cannot forget when he first asked me to publish with him. Such was my excitement about my first publication with the greatest sports lawyer in the country that my stomach could not settle for more than a week!

Years later, I was instructed to represent the two Greek sprinters, Mr Kenteris and Ms Thanou before the Court of Arbitration for Sport, on charges of missing anti-doping tests and also of refusing and avoiding to submit to such anti-doping tests. Not a lot of people know this, but Edward continued to support me and guide me in this difficult case. He was proud of his former student who was trying hard to defend two athletes that had already been convicted in the mind of the majority of the sporting community. But what was more pleasing for Edward was the fact that sports law was developing faster than what he first imagined.

I couldn't possibly avoid dedicating my first ever blog to the greatest sports lawyer I have ever known. I owe Edward everything I know today and everything I have achieved as a lawyer. "Serve your client to the best of your abilities" he used to say to me "and justice will be done."

Edward is no longer with us. His legacy, however, is here to stay and be embraced by generations to come. Edward fought hard for the development of sports law and dedicated most of his practicing days ensuring that, whatever the name of this new legal discipline is, it could be and must be recognised. His work on the criminal regulation of on-the-field violence is immense. His submissions in his journey from the Corinthian Values to Court Room 14 in the Elliot v Saunders & Liverpool FC matter, are to be followed by present and future lawyers.

Edward can now rest assured that his work will never be forgotten. 

The world of Sports Law owes a lot to Edward. 

I owe him a debt that I will never be able to repay....

Dr. Gregory Ioannidis

28 April 2012

PS Here is a short biography of Edward Grayson. Read it; it is as close as you could get to him: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/3111068/Edward-Grayson.html 


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