Spain

By Rey, Jose M. | The International Sports Law Journal, January-April 2007 | Go to article overview

Spain


Rey, Jose M., The International Sports Law Journal


1. Introduction

1.1. Sport in Spanish law

Sport is a physical activity engaged in as a game or as a competition which is governed by rules established by various legislative bodies, which rules aim to protect the sphere of sports and its future development.

The Spanish Constitution of 1978, which has priority over all other laws in Spain, in Article 43.3, which is part of Chapter III entitled "Governing principles of social and economical policy", establishes the right of every citizen to practise sport or any physical activity as well as a duty for public authorities to encourage the organization of sporting activities and to monitor how these are practised. It is worth noting that in 1978 sports law was already deemed significant. Obviously, the legislator already understood the necessity of regulating sport not only as exercise, but as a professional activity and an activity providing public entertainment. This conception of sport has shaped the new legal meaning of sport in recent years and has led to new views on how to regulate sport.

Sport is commonly perceived as a key element in the welfare of countries, not only because it represents a basic need for human health, but also because it is an excellent means of creating relations between people, both nationally and internationally.

If we consider what sport means in Spain, we can understand the importance of specific laws to regulate all matters that may play a role in this extensive field. As a consequence, the Sports Act (Law no. 10/1990) was established on 15 October 1990, which includes and further elaborates all the legal precepts related to sport included in other Spanish regulations. The Act deals particularly with sport at a high level, and defines the subject in its "Preliminary Comments" emphasizing in Article 6.1 the significance of top level sport for the country as an "essential element for sportive development, as an incentive for minors, and for its representative role" when practised at official events among all five continents.

The Sports Act establishes sports legislation in general terms, but there are many more ways of regulating sport depending on the subject-matter dealt with, for example by means of the different Sports Laws of the Autonomous Regions in Spain, of Ordinance no. 1835/1991 concerning the Spanish Sports Federations, of the Ordinance concerning Doping Controls or of Ordinance no. 1412/2001 of 14 December 2005 concerning sports stock companies.

As a brief conclusion to this introduction it can be said that sports law is a fast expanding and developing area of legal debate and inquiry. It is both an area of significant practitioner activity and of increasing academic analysis. The private law rules governing the national and international sports world itself form the backbone of sports law. However, sports activities are as much influenced by ordinary rules of public law. The complexity of sports law thus results from interconnected disciplines and sources.

1.2. Sports law

Sport permeates all areas of life and involves multiple business, legal, political and social issues. For example, professional sport as show business has grown at such a rapid pace that nowadays it represents a highly influential activity exerting great appeal form a cultural, social and economical perspective.

As a result of the progressive commercialization of professional sport, the need for regulation of the different types of relations in this field has become increasingly evident. Such relations may be between the various sports associations that organize the different competitions at professional level, as well as relations between the clubs and these associations and relations between players and clubs (which will depend on the legal form of each individual club) and even relations which all of these actors may have with player's agents, which subject will be dealt with further on. …

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