Author: Akanksha, A Student at Amity University Jharkhand


Sports, physical education, and allied fields all make use of sports law. In terms of its social, cultural, and sporting legacy, India has led the world. India’s prominence in the world of sports has eclipsed its proximity. It produced notable athletes who made significant contributions to sports and set an example for the rest of the globe with its diverse sports history. In India, one such area of law that is still up for debate and disagreement is sports. The Government of India oversees and controls sports in the country through independent sports federations, which in fact have a monopolistic character and nature in their particular sports. However, these sports federations are impervious to criticism when it comes to openness and responsibility. The judiciary has been forced to intervene and serve as the field umpire due to the ongoing legal disputes and litigation in this diverse realm of sports. However, why is the Ministry of Sports Affairs the only relevant sports authority? What is the specific sports authority’s methodical purpose in overseeing various sports? Is the Indian judiciary’s contribution to the growth of sports jurisprudence minimal or significant? Is the Alternative Dispute Mechanism the best way to settle conflicts in sports?


 It is believed that sports are essential to the human experience. It has been an important component of living a happy and healthy existence that develops a spirit of healthy rivalry as people grow. Sports have been viewed as a part of the entertainment business from the beginning of time. India’s prominence in the world of sports has eclipsed its proximity. It produced notable athletes who made significant contributions to sports and set an example for the rest of the globe with its diverse sports history.

In India, one such area of law that is still up for debate and disagreement is sports. Legislators and policy makers have never found it to be a resolving issue. In Indian society, it is mostly regarded as a source of amusement. The State has the authority to enact legislation on any subject related to sports, according to Entry 33 of the State List, which is part of the Seventh Schedule of the Indian Constitution. Even though it is under state control, it is played both nationally and internationally. For this reason, national sports organisations such as the Athletic Federation of India (AFI) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) are self-governing. In their rulings, the Supreme Court of India and several High Courts have declared that, despite performing state-like functions such as choosing national teams and representing the nation in international sporting events and forums, national sports bodies in India are not covered by the definition of a state under Article 12 of the Indian Constitution. Instead, they fall under the writ jurisdiction of High Courts under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution. Therefore, the goal of this study is to investigate and evaluate the many sports-related concerns in India in light of pertinent court rulings. It is crucial to ascertain whether India’s sports laws serve the intended purpose for which they were passed.


The ability of the State Legislature and the Parliament to enact laws pertaining to sports is mirrored in Entry 33 of the State List and the Indian Constitution.

theatres and dramatic performances; movie theatres that abide by the rules of List 1 article 60; sports; amusements and entertainments.

International sports organisations, which are composed of national organisations from several nations, are at the top of the hierarchy for each sport. The state or provincial organisations of many nations make up the national sports body once more. The several districts or clubs make up the provincial state bodies. Sports in India are governed by national and provincial sports bodies, clubs, groups, or societies that are typically established under the laws of societies rather than by federal or state legislation. These are independent, private, non-profit organizations5. Despite the fact that there are a number of independent entities, it appears appropriate that their autonomy isn’t absolute. This is because sports participation is particularly covered under the Seventh Schedule of the Indian Constitution. These sports organisations also come under state jurisdiction because they are registered in several Indian states as associations or societies.

Presuming that sporting events or sports regulating agencies are above the law is incorrect, especially when those events violate the Fundamental Rights outlined in Part III of the Indian Constitution. Even while these sports governing bodies have a lot of autonomy, they are nevertheless bound by the Constitution’s fundamental rights.

In terms of the Indian context, such very independent sports regulatory organisations are the Indian Olympic Association and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). The Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports was established by the Indian government to plan facilities, attain excellence in a range of competitive events, and encourage the development of capability for broadening the scope of sports both domestically and globally. Originally, the promotion of sports is the responsibility of several National Sports Federations (NSFs). The Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs periodically issues notices and recommendations to these self-governing entities, or NSFs, with the aim of regulating them.

The Sports Authority of India, the highest authority, is in charge of organising a number of sporting events. The Government of India has developed and implemented a number of projects pertaining to awards, sporting events, etc. The primary goal of India’s 2001 National Sports Policy is to attain sporting excellence on both the national and international stages.


In response to allegations that several players in the Indian Premier League (IPL) of 2012 had accepted payments for betting and spot-fixing, the BCCI established a disciplinary committee. BCCI banned those for varying periods of time following an investigation. This ruling was contested before the Bombay High Court. The Bombay High Court denied the petition against the BCCI’s ruling. Subsequently, an appeal was brought before the Indian Supreme Court, requesting the decision of the BCCI’s disciplinary body to be overturned and the creation of an independent committee to handle the issue. The Supreme Court established the Mukul Mudgal Committee, a multi-member group. After looking into the matter, the said Committee submitted its recommendations along with inquiry report and other inferences recorded by the Committee to the Supreme Court by concluding that the measures so taken by the BCCI were insufficient and unproductive, also employment of players in franchise group companies should be avoided in future. The Committee expressed its concern for the need of more effective and strict control on Players’ agents, investigating agency, match-fixing events and the laws must be made stringent.

The Justice R.M. Lodha Committee was established in January 2015 following the release of the Mukul Mudgal Panel Report. The creation of separate regulatory bodies for the BCCI and IPL, as well as the formation of a Player’s Association to protect the interests and business of cricket players, were two of the Lodha Committee’s most significant recommendations. The Committee also recommended lowering the membership of the Working Committee and the IPL Governing Council.


National sports organisations in India choose a national team to compete in international events; the team’s success is a source of pride for the entire country. These organisations also make money from advertising during sporting events and grant telecasting and broadcasting rights to the winning bidder for substantial sums of money. They also ban the guilty players from the game as part of their disciplinary measures. Even national games or matches are governed by these organisations.

Ajay Jadeja v. Union of India marked the start of a new chapter in sports law reform. The difficulties surrounding it include improper coordination of the inquiry, issues with integrity related to sports, the procedure for handling the complainant, and several others. In this instance, it was decided that the sporting organisations were under the High Court’s writ jurisdiction since they carry out public functions.

The supreme court upheld the aforementioned premise in the Zed Telefilms and Others v. Union of India & Others15 decision. In India, this case is known as the “Magna Carta of Sports Law.” The arbitrarily terminated broadcasting rights agreement by BCCI was the question that arose in this case. Here, Zed Telefilms, the party that felt wronged, petitioned the Supreme Court under Article 32 of the Indian Constitution. However, pursuant to Article 12 of the Indian Constitution, a writ under this article may only be brought against entities recognised as “States.” The Supreme Court ruled that, in accordance with Article 12 of the Constitution, BCCI did not form a “State.”

Numerous rulings, excluding the Zed Telefilms case, have added to India’s body of knowledge about sports law. The Supreme Court deliberated on the importance of sports in India, as it did in the case of K. Murugan v. Fencing Association of India, Jabalpur16. The election of Indian Olympic Association (IOA) executive council members was the matter at hand in this case. The Supreme Court made the following observations on it:

“In our opinion, this is not a situation where we should focus on individual rights in relation to societal norms and legislation. In the present era, sports are thought to be extremely important to the community. For several decades now, international sports have gained prominence and have been the centre of attention. Small states have performed admirably in some of the most recent Olympic Games, while a large nation like India, which has the second-highest population in the world, has performed appallingly.

India’s sports specialists are still uncontrolled due to the states’ lack of interest. As a result, the sporting organisations step in to carry out their mandated duties. A number of sporting organisations and federations exist, including the Indian Olympic Association at the top, the sporting Authority of India, the Board of Cricket Control India (BCCI) for cricket, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) for football, and the Indian Hockey Federation for hockey. This demonstrates that the Ministry of Sports Affairs, which also works externally to administrate these sports associations, is the only central sports authority responsible for overseeing all sports. Financially stable sports organisations, like the BCCI, have occasionally refused to join the Ministry and have only done so in order to benefit financially.

Since sports are considered to be a part of the State List of the Seventh Schedule of the Indian Constitution, a specific enactment is necessary for the entire country, though there are some enactments that govern the National Sports Federation of India, such as the National Sports Development Code, 2011, whose validity was upheld by the Delhi High Court in the case of Indian Olympic Association v. Union of India. The National Sports Development Bill, 2013 and the Prevention of Sporting Fraud Bill, 2013 are two draft Central Bills that need to be enacted. If they were, it would increase support for and belief in the existence of sports laws in India.


In India, sports law must flourish in order for sports and sportsmen to succeed; legislative action is essential. India must realise that “sports” is more than just a group of athletes vying for the top spot; it also involves complex legal issues and puts the players’ entire careers on the line. This field is giving rise to a unique legal system that should be adequately taken into account.

Undoubtedly, practicing sports law is a fulfilling job. With the help of the law, an effort should be made to enhance the sporting environment. Sport is a subject of national pride and is not just for entertainment. In recent times, the growth of the Indian Premier League and Indian Cricket League has raised important questions about competition law. This clearly shows that India’s sports laws need to be improved.

The Indian Sports industry has advanced significantly. Sports have assumed a corporate structure with the number of commercial interests included. With expanding market development and the requirement for clear and comprehensive legal documentation, sport issues are gradually turning into a significant concentration as agreements should have the option to explain parties’ expectations and responsibilities, should ensure the competitor’s and the brand’s big-picture interests and should factor in regulatory, legal and various risks inherent in the industry. The nation has arrived at a phase where we need an enactment that manages sports law. To fulfill the expanding needs of the evolving situation, national as well as international, it is significant that a uniform code for sports be promoted.

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