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Sports Law and Commercialization of Games


In the modern world, political science and sport are increasingly being integrated. As a result of any actions that may be perceived ambiguously by the international community, conflicts arise in the sports industry. Although sport may have existed initially outside the legal framework, sports law is now used to address such issues. In the broadest sense, sports law can be seen as an integral part of the legal system and a set of legal phenomena associated with the sport.

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The norms of sports law can be quite clearly divided into such main branches of law as labor, civil, economic, administrative, financial, criminal, international, and procedural. This is proof that from the perspective of the principles of building a national legal system, the law of sport can be seen as a complex industry. As a unique branch of the legal system, sports law focuses on a particular type of public relations inherent only in this right. Sports legal relations should be considered as voluntary, regulated by the norms of sports law, and protected by the state social relations. They arise between the subjects of physical culture and sport in the course of sporting activities.

Sports law has the full range of principles inherent in the law in general but also includes specialized concepts. These include ensuring the right of everyone to have access to physical activity, the unity of the regulatory framework, the prohibition of discrimination, the principle of competition, and fair, incorruptible play. The particular type of relations, the existence of specific legal norms, and the existence of the specialized tenets determine the unique importance of sports law in legal science.

The first problems in the field of sports law

One of the first problems that emerged in the field of sports law is the problem of harmonization of the regulatory framework and its external inconsistency. For some countries of the world, it is characteristic that the process of solving sports problems is in the initial stages. That is why many mistakes and gaps in the regulation of sport are inevitable. The first category of the issues is closely connected with labor and civil relations in the sphere of sports activity.

This includes, for example, the question of low efficiency of measures of state protection of the rights of athletes and coaching staff. The second, broader category of difficulties relates to legal and technical challenges. This implies problems of the untimely legal response to changes and issues with the classification of the existing regulatory frameworks. Improvement of the situation is possible through the thorough analysis of the problems and work on their elimination. Concrete actions may include:

  1. establishing an empowered office to coordinate the work in the field;
  2. formation of control groups to oversee the situation;
  3. creation of a complete register of existing regulatory frameworks;
  4. implementing effective communication between different bodies of sports activity.

History of the development of the sports sector

Historically, the sports sector has developed in Nigeria from children’s outdoor soccer games. Over time, the sports sector has expanded with the help of globalization and, by the middle of the last century, was one of the most developed commercial industries in Nigeria. This meant more jobs, greater involvement of the population in sports games, and stronger private property. Subsequently, the Nigerian State apparatus established the National Sports Council, whose goals and objectives were to implement sports policy and promote the sport. The establishment of a National Sports Policy strengthens the previously identified positions and identifies weaknesses in the adopted systems of sports law.

The commercial sector of sports policy has continued to grow strongly. Despite the apparent conflict of interest, commercialization brings certain advantages to the modern capitalist world. The introduction of economic models of competitiveness in the world of sports makes it possible to hire more competent professional players and coaches to create national teams. This undoubtedly contributes to the development of Olympic sport under the conditions of commercial relations. Moreover, commercialization contributes to the development of television, which introduces people to sporting events.

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Nevertheless, the creation of a commercial sector can also hurt sports policy in countries. Firstly, the structure of the Olympic Games is changing: non-spectacular sports are being removed. The predominance of commercial interest leads to higher ticket prices for competitions and shifts the focus from the original concept of games to the provision of sports services. Also, the excessive commercialization of sporting policies encourages corruption, bribery, and deception.

Transformation of sports into a commodity for consumption

It is essential to recognize that modern sport is a mass consumption product. Thousands of people go to sports events, and hundreds of thousands and millions of viewers watch them on television. The growing involvement of media in the notification and coverage of sports events leads to an emphasis on more spectacular sports, creating a myth about the ideal heroic athlete. In the process of developing a commercial image, the competition is undergoing significant changes. The increased commoditization of sport is transforming the competitive spirit of sports games into an auction for players and coaches between countries.

The transfer of players between sports teams, based on a pragmatic desire to benefit more from a stronger team, is now increasingly being heard. Professional players are no longer valued as individuals, presenting only a personal product brand. In the latter case, there is an increasing trend for sports celebrities to appear more frequently in advertising campaigns. Thus, the modern capitalist world needs sports players, first of all, their image. The transformation of sports, including the Olympic movement, into a commodity for consumption, has led to a situation where the desire to make a profit from sports competitions pushes aside all other goals and objectives, including the humanist ideals of Olympism.

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