To Govern or to Dispute? Remarks on the Social Nature of Dispute Resolutions in Czech and Danish Sports Associations

Dino Numerato, H. Thomas R. Persson
2009 Entertainment and Sports Law Journal  
This paper focuses on the dispute resolution mechanisms in sport, with particular attention paid to non-professional sport and its governance. Providing a brief summary of the literature on the topic, we argue that mainly two aspects of dispute resolution mechanisms have been highlighted in academic discussion: their ethical and moral character and their legal nature. Yet, except for these two relevant approaches, a more sociological approach of understanding the nature of these processes in
more » ... ese processes in the context of informal networks, unwritten rules and struggles over power is largely missing. To grasp this missing piece, we identify the mechanisms used by sport associations and their members to anticipate the disputes and we distinguish between three different types of dispute resolution mechanisms: proto-disputes, formal disputes, and meta-disputes. The paper draws on rich empirical evidence gathered during a multi-sited ethnographic study focused on both sport practice an d governance, carried out in the Czech Republic and Denmark. KEYWORDS This question was often raised by the Č MFS membership base, local officials, and clubs representatives, and reflected the constant ‗struggle over positions' tha t was the common denominator behind the majority of many similar disputes. These disputes undermined effective functioning of the federation by consuming energy, which force d them away from governing for ‗the good of the game'. This is well demonstrated in an open letter written by a local club representative Both examples, the withdrawal of the Head of the Appeal and Revision Committee and the extract from the open letter, foreshadow the main focus of this paper: the increasing volume of disputes and the mechanisms of their resolution, which have always been an inherent part of sport governance. Despite the long history of dispute resolutions in the sport field and their recent increase, little systematic reflection in the academic literature anchored in social theory has accompanied these trends. 3 This paper intends to answer the following questions: Which mechanisms and measures taken by the sport associations and their members contribute to the anticipation of disputes? What is the role of organisational arrangements while coping with the disputes? Und erstanding dispute resolution mechanisms as a communicative action and as a negotiation process, which approaches towards disputes might we identify? In order to answer these questions the paper draws on a multi-faceted ethnographic study which was carried out in 2007 in Denmark and the C zech Republic and was part of a multi-sited ethnographic study entitled ‗Sport and Social C apital in the European Union.' The study focused on sport governance and its social impact in Denmark, France, Italy and the Czech Re public; the empirical evidence was collected by means of three different techniques: semi-structured interviews, observations and secondary analysis of documents.
doi:10.16997/eslj.48 fatcat:dkud5adhqjhlxarhcy4hoo3ixu