Author: Miguel Ángel Dávila
Lawyer and CAS arbitrator

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Published and translated by the firm Winter – Dávila & Associés
Paris, 12 February 2024                                                                 

Introduction:

With less than 6 months to go before the start of the Olympics, officially known as the Paris 2024 Olympic Games (hereinafter the OG) it is impossible not to think about what will be the legal challenges that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as well as the French authorities in general will have to face, from a Sports Law point of view, or at any rate, from an approach traditionally discussed in forums specialised in sport.

In this sense, in this article we will review the main problems that the OG could have, from a perspective focused, we reiterate, on Sports Law.

1. Sports Justice

Well, as in all previous editions, the Paris 2024 OG will not be exempt from sports disputes before, during and after the event.

In this regard, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), as the highest arbitration court of international sports justice, will set up an Ad Hoc Chamber which will be in charge of resolving, in the shortest possible time, any conflict or sporting dispute arising at the OG.

2. Anti-doping

On the other hand, as in any OG, unfortunately, doping will be another issue to be dealt with during the competitions. For this, the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) will implement a control that can guarantee a level playing field for the competitors.

In this regard, given that the OG will be held in France, it is possible that the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) will cooperate with WADA in order to achieve this goal.

3. Intellectual property and image rights

It is no mystery to anyone that with an increasingly globalised world, the protection of intellectual property will be one of the main challenges facing OGs. In other words, by way of summary, it can be said that the organisation will have to protect the exclusive rights of sponsoring brands and try to avoid ambush marketing. The latter practice occurs when a brand tries to associate its products or services with a major event that already has official sponsors. In most cases, this strategy is carried out at major sporting events and aims to raise awareness of a particular company that does not have sponsorship rights.

Also, TV, broadcasting and image rights will be another big challenge to face, considering the massive amount of websites that will illegally broadcast the OG.

Photo: pexels.com

4. Security

Perhaps one of the most sensitive issues that the OG will have to face will be security at this major sporting event:

  • There is the negative precedent of the Champions League 2022 final, where there were problems with transport, ticket forgery and excessive use of public force. Although the Rugby World Cup was successfully held in France last year (2023), many more visitors are expected for the OG, which could once again put a strain on the organisation.
  • The delicate international situation with two armed conflicts going on at the same time (Russia with Ukraine and Israel with Palestine) makes the OG a scenario for terrorist attacks, considering that France and Europe are at least indirectly involved in both conflicts. Therefore, ensuring the security of both athletes and all visitors will perhaps be the main challenge.

Conclusion

The various legal challenges that the OG will face are complex and varied to say the least.

However, we are confident that both the IOC and the relevant French authorities have already planned the organisation of the Paris 2024 OG in detail, so that in a few months’ time we will be able to enjoy a historic Olympics.

LEGAL NOTICE: This article has been prepared for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for legal advice directed to particular circumstances. You should not take or refrain from taking any legal action based on the information contained without first seeking professional, individualized advice based on your own circumstances. The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.


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