Academic journal article The International Sports Law Journal

Legal Problems of the Olympic Movement

Academic journal article The International Sports Law Journal

Legal Problems of the Olympic Movement

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

Olympic Games are the greatest sports event in the world, in which thousands of athletes take part. At the turn of July and September (1) 2012 there will be held the XXX Summer Olympic Games in London. Contemporary nature of Olympic Games has departed from the assumptions of the knight-gentleman (2) game, which possessed the idea of fair-play launched by the baron Pierre de Coubertin.

History of the Olympic Games (OG) (3), which dates back to ancient times, obviously influenced its modern character. However the early modern period is the time that had the biggest impact on the formation of contemporary law regulations forced in Olympic Movement. It affects also the problems that appeared in relation to social and economic development. Olympic Games bring quantifiable financial benefits. It should be remembered that since the revival of Olympic Games by the baron Pierre de Coubertin in 1986 sports rivalry, as the sport itself has undergone sweeping changes and actually appears to be complicated and multivariate phenomenon (4), that entails legal problems. The basic legal act of a constitutional nature, enacting the activity of International Olympic Committee (IOC) and affiliated with it National Olympic Committees (NOC) is the Olympic Charter (5). This document is approved by the International Olympic Committee and is a set of fundamental principles of Olympism. It regulates the organization, activities and functioning of Olympic Movement. It also establishes the rights and responsibilities of its members (6). At this point it has to be noted that international sports organizations, which include the IOC, should be counted as a separate doctrine of international law in the category of international nongovernmental organizations (NGO). International sports organizations are not legal entities in international law, but they are corporate bodies operating on the basis of the law of the country of the seat. In terms of formal and legal issues it means that regulations established by them are not part of the international legal order. They have the character of norms only within the organizations. However taking into account their specialized character in an efficient way they affect legislation of individual countries (7). We have to remember that sporting activities is connected with social and political aspects, which correlates with increasingly deeper relations between entities occurring in the sports market.

The aim of this paper is to show legal problems of the modern Olympic Movement, which follows the actually social and economic position of sport. From such point of view there will be analyzed regulations of Olympic Charter touching issues connected with qualifications to OG, and also regulations of international law that directly or indirectly influence issues related to participation in OG. Implementing the concerning assumption there will be addressed the topic of age limits, and also the issue connected with sex and its change.

2. Membership in the Olympic Movement

Determination of subject scope of Olympic Movement is the starting point for considering qualifications for participation in the OG. The Olympic Movement means coordination, organization, universal and sustained efforts, implemented under the main authority of the IOC, all natural persons and legal personalities inspired by the values of olympism (8). It also has significant meaning relating to the problem of polarization of modern Olympics (9). According to the content of the Olympic Charter, the condition of membership in the Olympic Movement is by the approval of the IOC (10). In accordance with its regulations the IOC may assent as National Olympic Committee, as such national sports organization, that is the activity linked with the direct mission and the role of the IOC (11). Moreover pursuant to the relevant regulations, they may also be accepted as the associations of National Olympic Committees, International Sports Federations and their associations (12). …

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