The protection of athletes’ rights in our country  has been in the spotlight in recent years. In light of anti-doping scandals, a number of specialised organisations has been created. Sports law has become the topic of discussion in the legal forum for the first time.

This poses additional tasks for higher education. So, in a new academic year St Petersburg University is launching an additional educational programme "Issues in sports law in Russia".

Today, when conflicts accompany almost all major competitions, not only athletes but also officials and lawyers working with them should know athletes’ rights and be able to protect them. 

As an academic supervisor of the programme, Ilya Vasilyev, Сandidate of Juridical Sciences and Associate Professor at St Petersburg University, noted that specialised knowledge is important not only when the rights of athletes or coaches are being violated, but also in the day-to-day professional activity. Therefore, managers of sports clubs and leagues, as well as their legal support employees, are interested in enhancing professional skills through this programme.

"Previously, one could hardly hear about resolving disputes or figuring out specific legal issues in professional sports in the media. But the latest developments involving the Sports Arbitration Court (SAC) showed the importance of having competencies in such a specific area as sports law," said Ilya Vasilyev.

"It is enough to recall the February 2018 decisions by SAC that restored the rights of Russian athletes. The [Sports] Arbitration Court revoked the lifetime disqualification imposed on them by the International Olympic Committee earlier on charges of alleged violations of the anti-doping regulations, " continued Ilya Vasilyev.

The additional professional education programme "Problems of sports law of Russia" is implemented though both in-person and distance education format in Russian and English. Detailed information about the programme can be found on St Petersburg University’s website.

The programme, designed for people with a higher education degree, is aimed at obtaining new knowledge and skills necessary for the work of a sports lawyer and a head of a physical education and sports organisation. It is also aimed at success in preventing anti-doping violations.

It is noteworthy that, in the course of training, the programme will also address the legal aspect of computer sports (e-sports). In particular, the current state of legal regulations in e-sports will be addressed. This includes the legality of applying current sports legislation to this area, features of legal relations among professional market participants and other issues.

In addition, programme participants will study the system of regulating labor  relations, legal responsibility and dispute resolution; they will further determine problems in labor regulation of athletes and coaches; finally, they will investigate subjects that include disciplinary responsibility among players and clubs, administrative and criminal responsibility in sports, as well as various ways of resolving disputes.