Lex sportiva as the contractual governing law

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Contracts involving sports matters, such as the participation of an athlete in an international sports competition, would normally have a clause submitting disputes to arbitration under the rules of the Court of Arbitration for Sports. As a result, in international sports disputes, the subject matter of disputes has been predominantly decided by a private tribunal. In making such decisions, the Court of Arbitration of Sports has been interpreting and applying the rules established by sports governing bodies. Consequently, in its 30 years of existence, the Court of Arbitration for Sports has produced a rich jurisprudence regarding sports disputes. Such body of case law, combined with the rules of the sports governing bodies, has created what today is called a lex sportiva. Hence, this paper aims at analysing the concept of the lex sportiva to trace a parallel to its closest source of transnational law, the lex mercatoria. From that, following the principle of party autonomy, it will be argued if lex sportiva is already the governing law in some sports-related contracts or if it is desirable, whether lex sportiva can become the governing law to a contract in the same manner that today lex mercatoria can be the parties’ choice of law in a contract.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-116
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Sports Law Journal
Issue number1-2
Early online date10 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017

Cite this