family owned vs. professionally managed

In this blog post, Gurshabad Sandhu, a student pursuing a Diploma in Entrepreneurship Administration and Business Laws from NUJS, Kolkata, describes the career prospects of sports law in India.


Sports law in simple words is a term describing the legal issues related to sports. Sports law is based on how the law interacts with the sports activity. The history of sports in India dates back to the Vedic era. Chess, wrestling, polo, archery and hockey are some of the games believed to have originated in India. One does not have to be Different in recognizing and playing a sport for a reasonably long time enough to qualify as a sports lawyer, to become a sports lawyer, one should have a keen interest in the administration and management of sporting activity. One should have expertise in law related to Contract, Media, Administrative, Public Competition, Drafting and Negotiation.[1]

These laws have been applied in the context of involving public order, drugs, safety, disciplinary measures, conduct and wider issues relating to restraint of trade, match fixing and the exploitation of sports. Issues like defamation and privacy rights are also an integral aspect of sports law. The study of the legislations controlling sporting activities and its structure of management in India would prepare one to take up sports law as a career in India. India is predominantly failing in every major event of sports such as in the Olympics. One of the main reasons for it is the lack of uniform regulation in India for sports. There is a need for legislation that governs sports and brings the various authorities under one roof.



Human beings are drawn into sports activities from the initial days of human civilization till date; sports have evolved from a source of personal entertainment to a global industry encompassing more than 3% of world trade.[2] It is one of the primary revenue generating industries of the world and with the propagation of the Internet and other forms of media, the sports industry is growing at a faster tempo. An industry of billions of dollars with an all-encompassing worldwide presence is bound to raise its disputes. The sports industry resulted in the growth and development of sports law as a separate regulation in its own right.


Sports Law and Welfare Association of India

The Sports Law and Welfare Association of India is a nonprofit and professional organization which works with the common goal of understanding, advancement, and ethical practice of Sports Law in India for the promotion of Sports, by bringing Legal Practitioners and Sportspersons together. The Association provides consultancy on various matters including regulation of sports governing bodies, general sport and law issues, intellectual property issues in sport, online advocating in legal disputes of sports in court on behalf of sports persons and sports bodies, etc. The Sports Law and Welfare Association of India aims to further the discussion of legal problems affecting sports and to promote the exchange of a variety of perspectives and positions of sports law and provide a forum for lawyers representing athletes, teams, leagues, conferences, civic recreational programs, educational institutions and other organizations involved in professional, collegiate, Olympic, physical education and amateur sports.


Sports Law And Arbitration

Arbitration, a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), is a legal technique for the settlement of disputes outside the courts, wherein the parties to a dispute refer it to one or more persons (the “arbitrators”, “arbiters” or “arbitral tribunal”), by whose decision (the “award”) they agree to be bound. It is a settlement technique in which a third party reviews the case and imposes a decision that is legally binding for both sides. Other forms of ADR include mediation (a form of settlement negotiation facilitated by a neutral third party) and non-binding resolution by experts. Arbitration in India is governed by the Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1996 (“Indian Arbitration Act”), which is based on the UNCITRAL Model Law. The Indian Arbitration Act is broadly divided into two parts. Part I applies to arbitrations held in India, whether domestic or international, and Part II applies to arbitrations held outside India. Part II, incorporates the rules related to international arbitrations governed by the New York or Geneva Conventions. In sports, the disputes are initially referred to the federation that governs a particular sport and subsequently the international authorities that govern the sport. E.g. in hockey disputes are placed before the Indian Hockey Federation and after that to the International Hockey Federation.

At a time when sports are becoming more professional, and the stakes are becoming higher than ever, dispute resolution takes on an increasingly important role. In many respects, arbitration offers the most suitable solutions with regards to the rapidity, diversity, incontestability and professionalism of the decisions rendered. With the regular increase in the number of sports-related disputes in the country, India requires an independent authority that specializes in sports-related problems, and that is authorized to pronounce binding decisions. The controversies when referred to courts take a long time to come up with the final decision since the Indian courts are already piled up with pending cases. There is a need to have authority for sports that offers a flexible, quick and inexpensive method of resolution of disputes. With the inauguration of India’s first arbitration centre in Delhi in 2009, India is recognizing the necessity of arbitration for quicker disposal of cases. The increasing use of arbitration in the sport over the last decade has challenged the legal framework in which arbitration disputes are forwarded in many jurisdictions.

The role of a sports lawyer is to represent sports persons in various aspects of their profession. An athlete or sportsman requires assistance in understanding the terms of their contracts and endorsements, understanding the different provisions of agreements in simple language, through the confusing elements of legal terminology. The sports lawyers are carving out a niche for themselves in the field of sports as they are coming to realize that this is the place where they can earn high salaries.


Roping in Clients

When you enter the sports law practice, you need to carve out your niche, at first by working with players from the minor league or junior levels. As a young lawyer, there will be mostly budding faces, and newbie’s looking for you to aid them professionally. The job of a sports lawyer is to deal with contracts, examine the written agreement on the endorsements and act from the perspective of the client in the civil court trials when required. Slowly with experience, the spectrum of your clientele will become diversified with the top names in the industry and veteran players knocking on your door for service. Once you’ve become an established sports lawyer, you’ll be required to maintain a catalogue of your new clients for generating a long-standing commercial rapport for future reference.

Employment Outlook

The average annual salary of a sports lawyer is a minimum of Rs. 5 lakhs by lower tier representations. In fact, you can earn something around the figure of Rs. 40 Lakhs by signing new clients. A law firm prevents successful lawyers and attorneys from competition by handing out generous rewards. A sports attorney can enhance his or her standing through references and word of mouth. For instance, basketball, football or baseball players who are already on their clientele can recommend them to their friends and co-players. This is a motivation for the sports law professional to work on behalf of their client in the hope of a bigger and better contract.

Many scams have taken place in the field of various sports during the last few years, and even then no serious action on the enactment of sports law is being undertaken. Various stakeholders are involved in the sports, and a lot of private money is invested to fund the sports and the sportsmen. To protect the interest of such stakeholders and to put restrictions on some irregular activities, there is a necessity for a proper regulatory mechanism. The Central Government has proposed a bill known as National Sports Development Bill, 2013,[3] but till now it is not being turned into legislation. Even the bill has some issues, impact assessment of which is necessary. The current Indian scenario on the legal concerns in the sports law is that there are scattered legislations. There is a need for comprehensive sports law in India. Enactment of sports law should be a priority because there are various issues which need attention like sexual harassment, infringement of media ethics, organizational issues, employment issues, sports injuries about the issues of liability, sports policy concerning the competition law, etc.

The Aim of Sports Law should be to provide: educational opportunities and disseminate data and information regarding specific areas of sports law; and create a forum for lawyers representing athletes, teams, leagues, conferences, civic recreational programs, educational institutions and other organizations involved in professional, collegiate, Olympic, physical education and amateur sports. The Government must encourage discussions of legal problems affecting sports and promote the exchange of a variety of perspectives and positions of sports law. Establishing rules of ethics for sports persons and practicing professional of law involved in sports law will support the sports industry.

Additionally, sports law should endeavor to produce high-quality research in the field of sport, and the law provides up to date information on current sports law issues including a resource of sports law material; provide consultancy to sportsmen and sports bodies concerning sports law issues; promote undergraduate and postgraduate study, research and continuing education in sports law; promote ethical solutions to legal issues in sport and notions of “Fair-Play”; and positively address all issues of discrimination in sport.




The new interaction between sports and law has shaped a new need for a greater understanding of how the law relates to the sporting world. India needs expert sports law consultants to meet an amalgam of diverse legal disciplines such as sports law and policy, contract, tort, taxation, labor, competition, TV rights, match fixing and related criminal laws. In my opinion – legal practitioners and sports persons must come together to understand, advance, promote and ethically practice sports law in India. Hence Sports Law shall be considered to be a viable career option in India.







[1] India Law Journal

[2] Article by Vidhi Aggarwal, Law Quest Advocates and Solicitor



  1. Hi, I’m a 5th and final year law student from a top university. I have undertaken specialised sports law course and want to further look for a opportunities in the field of sports law. Since TMT has already gone through a merger, it does not remain an option. Are there any other prospective law firms that stand out? Any other opportunity other than Law Offices of Nandan Kamath? Any other opportunities in the discipline of sports law with good package? Any other upcoming sports law firms that can be looked up to ?


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