How to handle disputes in Professional Sports



By Lucas Bouquerel

SKEMA Business School

Paris, France




Nowadays sports took a very important part in our life. Every day we are confront of sports and sport is more and more mediatized. During the 20th century ADR was brought into sports field, but it is still not known by all the actors of this world. It gave us more choice to resolve disputes in sports area. But, with the lack of understanding it can be difficult to choose the best one.

I will use the method of Multi-attribute Decision Making (MADA), to found out that prevention is the more suitable resolution to sports disputes.

Keywords: Contracts, payment, free-time, athletes, sponsoring, sports club, prevention, control, influence, social media.


Nowadays sports could be considered as a real industry, but why? In the United States already Sports is a money machine. For example, “the National Football Association earned in 2015 13 billion dollars.”[1] This phenomenon went overseas in Europe with football. Another example “leads us to the new negotiation around television transmission right of the English Premier League which was earned for 7 billion euros.”[2] More recently the French “Ligue 1” sell her transmission right to a Spanish company for 1 billion euros. Sports clubs are running like companies and the players as investments. It is a bet. Some clubs are in the stock exchange and they are very volatile in case of failure or big scandal. These huge amounts of money allow the clubs to pay more their players and also bring to the sport planet many problems which are black hole and for what we do not have any black and white written solution. Contracts are here to help and to avoid this kind of problems. Let’s go deeper to this problem.

With these quantities of money available in sport an athlete is more than just a player. Also, with the new technology a player is real person of influence around the world. For example, “Cristiano RONALDO has 144 million followers in Instagram.”[3] We can also talk about the “scandal of Serge AURIER in periscope in 2016, which lead to a huge problem for his club Paris Saint Germain in the management of his case because of contracts failure. Sports club has to protect themselves from any derives on the new technology and this could be a problem in contracts. The sports club are faced to many problems nowadays and contract could be a solution to theses, but is it possible to create a perfect contract to handle all the disputes possible?

The disputes between a sports club and an athlete could take three major forms. The first one is the commercial disputes. Sometimes the players have other contracts with other brands, which are different from the brand in contracts with their employers. The second one is directly between the sports club and the athlete. It could be a basket-ball franchise which refuses to make a player available for national teams’ competition. And, the last one is a suspension of license or a bankrupt like we can see sometimes in football. These three issues in the sport planet are very frequent and sometimes go into court or just to huge issues between players and sports clubs with million dollars in stake.


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Editor’s note: Student papers are authored by graduate or undergraduate students based on coursework at accredited universities or training programs.  This paper was prepared as a deliverable for the course “International Contract Management” facilitated by Dr Paul D. Giammalvo of PT Mitratata Citragraha, Jakarta, Indonesia as an Adjunct Professor under contract to SKEMA Business School for the program Master of Science in Project and Programme Management and Business Development.  http://www.skema.edu/programmes/masters-of-science. For more information on this global program (Lille and Paris in France; Belo Horizonte in Brazil), contact Dr Paul Gardiner, Global Programme Director paul.gardiner@skema.edu.

How to cite this paper: Bouquerel, L. (2019). How to handle disputes in Professional Sports, PM World Journal, Vol. VIII, Issue III (April).  Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/pmwj80-Apr2019-Bouquerel-disputes-in-professional-sports.pdf



About the Author

Lucas Bouquerel

Paris, France




Lucas Bouquerel is a SKEMA student in Project Management and Business Development. Born in Paris in 1995, he already done two internships in project management. One was in digital (complete refund of a website in a French new company) and the other one was in an American company, specialized in business travel for pharmaceutics group. He always worked in France but traveled a lot (Asia, Africa, South America, Europe) and wants to work worldwide. He did two semesters abroad, one in Belo, Horizonte, Brazil and one in Ljubljana, Slovenia each time for six months. Before the business school he studies economics in “La Sorbonne”, in Paris for two years. He is now in his last years of his Master 2 degree in SKEMA Business School and seeking for opportunities worldwide.

He just completed this paper under the tutoring of Dr. Paul D GIAMMALVO to complete International Contracts class and also have his first paper published in a professional project management website.

Lucas lives in Paris, France and can be contacted at lucas.bouquerel@skema.edu


[1] NORMANDIN, F. (2018, March 6). La NFL, un modèle d’affaires gagnant ? Les revenus (1) – Échec et Strat. Retrieved from https://echecetstrat.com/2018/02/06/la-nfl-un-modele-daffaires-gagnant-les-revenus-1/

[2] BUXEDA, Y. (2015, February 11). Droits TV : un pactole de 6,9 milliards d’euros pour la Premier League – France 24. Retrieved from https://www.france24.com/fr/20150211-droits-tv-football-premier-league-angleterre-7-milliards-euros-pl-manchester-liverpool

[3] INSTAGRAM. (2018). Cristiano Ronaldo (@cristiano)? Instagram photos and videos. Retrieved from https://www.instagram.com/cristiano/