Sports or just games? And why does it matter?Nick Poggenklaas, Van Diepen Van Der KroefThis is the second article in a series of guest posts by Nick Poggenklaas, who is a sports lawyer at Van Diepen Van Der Kroef Law Firm Are esports ‘just games’? Or are esports real sports, just like football and tennis?Many people have argued the former. One of the oft repeated arguments to support this view is that esports players are often not physically participating. The action is mostly happening in a virtual world.I disagree with the people who claim esports is just a game and you do too, don’t you?In my opinion sport is not by definition an activity which necessarily involves physical action. I think sports such as chess prove this point. Moreover, esports do have all the other ingredients which see traditional sports qualify as sports. Such an ingredient is, for example, that there are organised competitions for esports too. I don’t want to elaborate too much on the answer to the first question, because there are already a lot of articles on this matter.“Esports are more than a game, they are sports!”I want to focus on the question of why it’s important that esports are – also in the eyes of the courts – sports and not just games. In order to answer this question I would like to return to the so called ‘Bosman- case’.Bosman was a professional football player who wanted to transfer from a Belgium club to a French one in 1990. Due to the transfer system which was enforced by FIFA at the time Bosman wasn’t allowed to make this transfer. After five (!) years of lawsuits the European Court of Justice ruled that FIFA’s transfer system was an illegal restraint on the right of free movement of workers, which is laid down in the EU Treaty of Rome. Bosman won the case. FIFA almost immediately changed the transfer system after the European Courts’ ruling, and this re-worked system remains in place today. “A restraint on right of free movement of workers remains.”It’s still questionable if FIFA’s current transfer system is in line with EU law. FIFA however states that the transfer system is a just and much needed instrument in order to keep (international) football competitions fair. Most legal professionals are of the opinion that FIFA’s view is correct and more recent cases more or less also confirm this.But what do we learn of the Bosman case and the cases that followed? The law is not made for sports. Judges thus sometimes have to make exceptions to the laws which apply to a specific case, because this might be beneficial to a sport.“At some point a judge shall have to make such an exception for an esports related case. But in order for that judge to make this much needed exception, he or she first has to realise esports are sports and not just games.”Having mentioned why it’s important that the community and judges agree that esports are sports, I would like to make one final plea. This plea is in favour of Arbitration Courts which focus on esports, such as WESA’s Arbitration Court. A specific esports related appeal court is, in my opinion, not needed. It is my view that the Court of Arbitration of Sports (CAS) is a great legal institute which could handle esports related cases after a party appeals to the Arbitration Court’s ruling.This is the second article in a series of guest posts on the legal challenges and issues currently at play in the esports industry. You can read the first, on sponsorship agreements, here. Any questions about esports related contracts or disputes? Feel free to reach out to Nick at [email protected]
Shamsi in, Dale Steyn left out JOHANNESBURG (AP): South Africa called up uncapped left-arm wrist spinner Tabraiz Shamsi for next month’s triangular limited-overs series in the Caribbean and rested fast bowler Dale Steyn amid concerns over his workload. Shamsi was the only new player in the one-day international squad announced yesterday, although pace-bowling all-rounder Wayne Parnell was recalled for the first time in more than a year. Head selector Linda Zondi said Steyn was rested for the triangular series against West Indies and Australia to keep him fresh for the test season. South Africa, who lost their No. 1 ranking in Tests with a home loss to England in January, have series against New Zealand, Australia and Sri Lanka this year. Batsman Faf du Plessis was in the ODI squad for the Caribbean despite sustaining a broken finger in the IPL. Du Plessis had surgery on the broken left ring finger this week and should be ready for South Africa’s second game of the triangular series against Australia on June 7, team manager Mohammed Moosajee said. Pakistan pick Arthur ISLAMABAD (AP): Mickey Arthur replaced Waqar Younis as head coach of the Pakistan cricket team yesterday. The Pakistan Cricket Board said the 47-year-old Arthur, a South African who has previously coached his country’s national team and Australia, will take up his new assignment at the end of the month. Younis stepped down last month after Pakistan won only one of its four group matches at the World Twenty20 in India. Arthur was among four foreign coaches shortlisted by a panel including former captains Wasim Akram and Ramiz Raja. He will be the fourth foreigner to coach Pakistan after Richard Pybus, Goeff Lawson and the late Bob Woolmer. Arthur played 110 first-class matches for South Africa before coaching his national team in between 2005-10. Footballer dies after collapse at match BUCHAREST, Romania (AP): Dinamo Bucharest player Patrick Ekeng died after he collapsed during a match in the Romanian capital yesterday, doctors said. He was 26. Cristian Pandrea, a spokesman for the Floreasca Emeregency Hospital, said doctors tried for an hour to resuscitate the Cameroon midfielder but failed. He said the cause of death was not known. The home match between Dinamo and Viitorul Constanta was at 3-3 and being broadcast live when midfielder Ekeng fell to the ground in the 69th minute, seven minutes after he went on as a substitute. Local media said he had a heart attack. Ekeng was immediately taken to the hospital, where dozens of fans gathered outside. Players and staff could be seen crying as events unfolded. Some went with him to the hospital. He has played for Spanish club Cordoba CF, Swiss club Lausanne, and French club Le Mans. He moved to Dinamo in 2015. Ekeng is survived by a wife and daughter who are in Paris. Prosport.ro, an online sports publication reported he was due to fly to Paris after the Romanian Cup final on Tuesday between Dinamo and CFR Cluj.