Law, integrity of sport and regulation

  • Law of (sport) federations and associations
  • Private law and contract law
  • Anti-doping law and anti-fraud law
  • Sport litigation and arbitration rights
  • Sports taxation
  • Civil/criminal liability and sport
  • Detecting fraud systems

This research theme covers the numerous and complex connections between sport, especially elite-level competition sport, and the law. Every aspect of sport, from the structure of sport federations and competition proceedings to sanctions, the status of athletes and litigation, is covered by rules and regulations (whether private or governmental): the law of associations and company law for the structure and operation of sport organizations; private law (including data protection) and contract law (employment contracts, sponsorship contracts and federations’ rules on transfers) for the status of individual athletes; anti-doping and anti-fraud regulations, whether imposed by states or by sport organizations; and arbitration rights, most notably through the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, for litigation. Other major fields of research include the taxation of organizations and individual athletes, the laws governing civil and criminal liability, whether in relation to violence by competitors, misbehavior by spectators or the fraudulent management of sport organization finances. Even building regulations, local development rules and environmental protection legislation have to be taken into account.
Collecting and managing evidence that can be used in legal proceedings requires a forensic approach that is still poorly developed in sport. In cases of fraud, a more proactive approach is needed to resolve problems. Detecting suspicious trends, analyzing the problem (Who is involved? What are they doing? Why?) and drawing up responses in the form of preventive and punitive measures whose efficacy can be measured are the bases of a methodology that requires further development. Studies of spectator and/or player violence and the implementation of longitudinally analyzed indicators for values such as transparency and stakeholder integrity complete the criminological contribution to sport.


Researchers working on this theme:


  • Andrea Bonomi - Full professor (law of arbitration)
  • Robert Danon - Full professor (tax law)
  • Nathalie Dongois – Assistant professor (criminal law)
  • Anne-Christine Fornage - Assistant professor (law of obligations)
  • Alain Macaluso - Associate professor (criminal law)
  • Philippe Meier - Full professor (associations, private law, data protection)
  • Laurent Moreillon - Associate professor (criminal law)
  • Edgar Philippin - Associate professor (company law and arbitration)

Integrity of sport and regulation/doping

  • Alex Biedermann - Associate professor (forensic science)
  • Stefano Caneppele - Associate professor (criminology)
  • Pierre Esseiva - Associate professor (forensic intelligence)
  • Olivier Ribaux - Full professor (forensic intelligence) 
  • Quentin Rossy - Assistant professor (forensic intelligence)
  • Franco Taroni - Full professor (forensic science)

Some previous and future projects within this research theme:

  • Joint projects with various bodies (e.g., Energia project with Interpol, looking at the treatment of open sources on doping - Pineau, T., A. Schopfer, L. Grossrieder, J. Broséus, P. Esseiva and Q. Rossy (2016) 'The study of doping market: How to produce intelligence from Internet forums', Forensic Science International Vol 268, 103-115)
  • Conferences (taxation of athletes, spring 2017; CEDIDAC conference (Oct. 4, 2016) on the financing of professional football clubs)
  • Creation of a course on the law of arbitration with respect to sport and sport law
  • Several books and papers (e.g., A. Kuhn/L. Moreillon, Aspects pénaux de droit du sport, Berne 2002; Ph. Meier/E. de Luze, Droit des personnes – art. 11-89a CC, Genève/Zurich 2014)
  • PhD theses : J. Jaquier, La qualification juridique des règles autonomes des organisations sportives, 2004; S. Manaï, Les attributs de la personnalité du sportif et leur commercialisation dans le contexte du contrat de sponsoring individuel, 2008; A. Bichovsky, Prévention de la violence commise par les spectateurs lors des manifestations sportives, 2008; M. Steiner, La soumission des athlètes aux sanctions sportives, 2009; G. Burghardt, Die Beteiligung an einer Fussballkapitalgesellschaft vor dem Hintergrund der wirtschaftlichen Betätigung von Idealvereinen, 2011  A. Brunk, Der Sportler und die institutionelle Sportschiedsgerichtsbarkeit, 2015; S. Nafissi, La tierce propriété des droits économiques des sportifs professionnels, in preparation.
  • Taroni F., Biedermann A., Vuille J., Bozza S., 2018, Statistical adhockeries are no criteria for legal decisions - The case of the expert medical report on the assessment of urine specimens collected among athletes having participated to the Vancouver and Sochi Winter Olympic Games. Frontiers in Sociology 3:25. doi: 10.3389/fsoc.2018.00025
  • Biedermann A., Taroni F., Bozza S., Augsburger M., Aitken C. 2018, Critical analysis of forensic cut-offs and legal thresholds: a coherent approach to inference and decision. Forensic Science International, 288, 72–80,
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