International Sports Law

Course content

The main objective of the course is to provide the students with an understanding of legal relationships in professional sports in the United States and Europe, in particular the Scandinavian countries, with emphasis on comparative analyses of the legal, cultural and social differences
between the American and European sports models.

In the first part of the course the students will be acquainted with the legal framework and organization of the four American major sports leagues (MBL, NBA, NFL and the NHL) and the international sports federations (FIFA, FIBA, etc.). The students will review how the governing bodies of the leagues and federations operate and to what extent their rulings are subjected to judicial
review. In this context the course will focus on selected parts of public regulation of sports activities and the nature of the often-proclaimed “legal autonomy” of sports organizations. Special emphasis will primarily be put on a comparative study of the US and EU legislation regarding employment
relationships in sports. The course will in particular focus on, how sports federations in Europe in recent years have had to change their rules and accept the fact that fundamental EU principles regarding free movement of workers also apply for athletes in sports. In this regard the Bosman
ruling from 1995 and other sports-related decisions from the European Court of Justice within the last couple of years will be examined in order to find out which, if any, exemptions from the principle of free movement of workers could be deemed acceptable for “sports reasons”. In comparison to the EU-related issues, which the sports federations face in Europe, the course will
examine the so-called labour exemption under US law and how this rule is being applied in the sports context. Thus, selected features of US collective bargaining agreements and player contracts in the
US pro leagues will be reviewed and compared to the European contract system in the post-Bosman transfer era.

The course will also in more general terms deal with anti-trust aspects of sports activities in the US and Europe in particular the regulation of exclusive television rights to major sports events. Proprietary and intellectual property rights issues in sports events and sports performances will also be discussed with special emphasis on sponsorships, ambush marketing and merchandising rights in pro sports.
Finally, the course will examine the overall internationalisation of sports and developments, trends and problems in this context for the future of the European sports model in an increasingly commercial sports environment.

Learning outcome
  • Explain the construction of the Danish and International Sports World and their mutual relationship.
  • Give an account of and explain the Danish and International Sports World legislative characteristics (far reaching autonomi, own rules and practise, own courts.
  • Be able to make comprehensive and comparative view of the various selected branches of jurisprudence in the US and Europe, where matters of sportslaw have been tried before court.
  • Identify the legal problems arising when the sports world’s own rules and structure are inconsistent with the law of the civil society.
  • Explain the arguments in favour of a special sports policy due to socio-cultural, educational or economic considerations.
  • Make a critical assessment between sports and economic arguments and put forward a presentation of legal problems in the world of sports in a systematic and convincing way, showing a comprehensive view and understanding of the Sports Law’s many different aspects.
  • Communicate and formulate her/his knowledge and arguments professionally and linguistically correct and in a structured and coherent way

The primary teaching and learning methods will be centered around discussions in class about application of legal principles and analysis of case law, in particular in a comparative legal context between US and European law. Students may also present cases or legal problems to be discussed in class.

Lars Halgreen: “European Sports Law - A Comparative Analyses of the European and American Models of Sport”, 2. ed., 2013 (excerpts).

Total required reading is about 375 pages.


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Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 20 min.
Type of assessment details
Oral exam based on synopsis, 20 minutes
Exam registration requirements

In order to attend the oral examination, it is a prerequisite to hand in the synopsis before the specified deadline.
The deadline is agreed upon with the course lecturer.

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Exam period

Week 43


Week 4 - Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Preparation
  • 178,25
  • Seminar
  • 28
  • English
  • 206,25


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master
Full Degree Master choice

1 semester

  1. Students enrolled at Faculty of Law or holding a pre-approval: No tuition fee
  2. Professionals: Please visit our website  
Please see timetable for teaching hours
Contracting department
  • Law
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Law
Course Coordinator
  • Jens Kristiansen   (16-4d687176314e756c76776c6471766871436d7875316e7831676e)
Saved on the 24-07-2023

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Courseinformation of students