China Sports Dispute Resolution Annual Review (2020)



PART 1. Overview .. 2


2.1 Law of the People’s Republic of China on Physical Culture and Sports. Fault! Bookmark not defined.

2.2 National sports policies at the level of the Council of State Fault! Bookmark not defined.

2.3 Effect and influence of the Council of State’s sports policies on the legal and regulatory framework for sport Fault! Bookmark not defined.

2.3.1 Streamline government regulations and remove administrative barriers to boost the market Fault! Bookmark not defined.

2.3.2 Review, revise and cancel obsolete regulations to expedite the revision of PRC Sports Law Fault! Bookmark not defined.

2.3.3 Reform national sports associations to ensure secondment from State administrative bodies Fault! Bookmark not defined.

2.3.4 Promote professional sport. Fault! Bookmark not defined.

2.3.5 Recognize the commercial value of intangible sports assets and promote commercialization Fault! Bookmark not defined.

2.4 National implementation of the policies and effects of the Council of State on sport. Fault! Bookmark not defined.

PART 3. Case studies. Fault! Bookmark not defined.

Case 1. Fault! Bookmark not defined.

Case 2. Fault! Bookmark not defined.

Case 3. Fault! Bookmark not defined.

PART 4. PRACTICAL AND ACADEMIC FOCUS. Fault! Bookmark not defined.

4.1 “Sports arbitration institution” under article 32 of the PRC Sports Law.. Fault! Bookmark not defined.

4.2 Mechanisms for the settlement of sporting disputes related to the Beijing Olympic Winter Games. Fault! Bookmark not defined.

4.3 Revision of article 40 of Olympic charter and its impact on the marketing of athletes. Fault! Bookmark not defined.

PART 5. SUMMARY AND PROSPECTS. Fault! Bookmark not defined.

Note: This article appeared in English and Chinese in Commercial Dispute Resolution in China: An Annual Review And Preview, published by Wolters Kluwer in 2020, an initiative of the Beijing Arbitration Commission / Beijing International Arbitration Center, which can be purchased here: https: //

PART 1. Overview

In 2019, we witnessed rapid developments in the sports law sector in China as the government continues to stress the important role that sport must take in the national strategy, stipulated by the State Council in the Plan to Build a Leading Sports Nation (hereinafter referred to as the “Diagram”) on August 10, 2019. The “five strategic missions” identified by the Contour indicate the rationale for promoting sport in China:

  • advance the national fitness campaign,
  • to improve performance during competitive sporting events,
  • boost the sports industry,
  • cultivate a dynamic sports culture and
  • structuring sports diplomacy for a new era.

Led by the government’s strategy, the Chinese sports industry has grown into a business whose estimated value in 2018 reached RMB 2,657.9 billion,[1] more than double the total value of the industry since the issuance of the Several opinions of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China on acceleration the development of the sports industry and the promotion of sports consumption (Guo Fa [2014] n ° 46, hereinafter referred to as “Policy n ° 46”),[2] which was promulgated in 2014 and often hailed as the constitutional policy document laying the foundation for the development of sport in China.

As a growing number of countries are reluctant to host mega sporting events, and with Russia declining due to its doping concerns, China appears to be the only jurisdiction intending to host several major events. international multi-sport athletes in a row, including the first FIFA Club World Cup after the reform in 2021[3], the Olympic Winter Games and Asian Games in 2022, and the AFC Asian Cup in 2023. China’s active sports scene inevitably leads to the development of law, elevating China’s sports law from its previous marginal position in the center of the stage.

PART 2 of this synthesis document sorts the important legal and policy documents of the sports industry. Setting the framework for the rules of the sports industry is key to understanding the disputes that arise within the industry and how they are resolved. Characteristic of a top-down management system, sport in China is highly regulated and run with political planning. In a somewhat contradictory way, the objective of the guidance documents published since Policy # 46 is to relax government regulations in the sports sector and rely on the market economy in this sector. Such an intriguing interplay between government regulation and market power defines China’s sports sector in its transformation, often with its hands tied by political cultures and traditions. Tainted with occasional setbacks, reform is inevitable and continuous.

The threads of the policy papers highlight the theme of sports reform in China and the steps taken to energize the market to realize its potential. To achieve this objective, obstacles, either at the regulatory level or in practice, must be removed; also, measures that contribute to an active market have been put in place, such as the promotion of professional sport and the recognition of the commercial value of intangible assets related to sport, including the commercial rights of individual athletes to their name, image , voice, signature, personal data, and likeness.

PART 3 selects three cases in the Chinese sports sector of representative value, which occurred or ended in 2019. The cases are selected based on the potential precedent value and the level of public attention. The case of World Anti-Doping Agency (“WADA”) v Sun Yang and Fédération Internationale de Natation Association (“FINA”) (CAS 2019 / A / 6148) put the athletic career of Chinese star swimmer Sun Yang to the test, especially in a public hearing, which naturally caught the world’s attention. The public hearing requested by Sun Yang was the second in the history of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (“CAS”) and the first to be broadcast live online. The case offers a great deal to consider in terms of both procedural nuances and substantive issues. It should be noted that just three days after Sun Yang’s public hearing, the Supreme People’s Court issued its Interpretation of various law enforcement issues in criminal cases of smuggling, illegal trade and illegal use of prohibited substances, as of January 1, 2020.[4]

The second case concerns the decision of the Dalian Intermediate People’s Court to recognize and enforce a CAS sentence for the first time in China under the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (hereinafter referred to as the “New York Convention”). However, as the case itself has some distinguishing features, its precedent value may be limited.

The last case analyzes the series of cases filed by football players against the Dalian Transcendence Football Club, with similar fact patterns and almost identical results. This series of cases is representative of the jurisdictional vacuum that has trapped many professional players and coaches who are claiming salary arrears from their former clubs.

PART 4 ​​begins a discussion of the issues that arise from the PART 3 cases, with possible solutions proposed, as well as the dispute resolution aspects of the upcoming Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games. PART 5 concludes this report with an overview and thoughts for the future.

This is the first time in this volume that sport is discussed in a separate chapter separate from the chapter on entertainment. This is an appropriate and important development given the substantial changes taking place in the Chinese regulatory framework for sports and the rapid increase in the value of the Chinese sports sector which will only increase in the years to come. . Moreover, the nature of sport is fundamentally different from the dynamics that go into the structure of entertainment law. Undeniably, in some ways sport is the production of live performances, but the rules governing participation in sports are more complex. We hope that this report will give readers some idea.

To access the full annual report on Sports Dispute Resolution in China (2020), please click here.

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