About the Centre for International Sports Law

The world of sport is one that evokes strong emotions. Spectators fanatically follow their teams, athletes get caught up in the passion of the game and administrators argue that sport is special and shouldn’t be bound by national laws. Indeed, George Orwell famously described as sport as “nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence: in other words, it is war minus the shooting”.

However while sport can represent the purest form of competition, it can also embody the basest form of behaviour. From thuggery to corruption, doping scandals to contractual disputes, sporting controversies regularly grace both the front and back pages of newspapers. Sadly a number of problems prevent traditional authorities for managing this area effectively.

International sports like football (whether soccer or American), cricket and motor racing are billion pound industries, spanning multiple jurisdictions. What is therefore needed is a truly international solution. In 2010, the Centre for International Sports Law (CISL) was formally conceived to provide this international analysis, research and education. 

CISL represents a unique and exciting international collaboration between Staffordshire University, UK and Thompson Rivers University, Canada to create a multi-disciplinary group of leading teaching and research faculty, students, practitioners, athletes, sports administrators and visiting scholars. However what makes CISL unique is that it does not just provide a credible and intellectually rigorous legal analysis of the issues, but rather blends academic commentary with the views of the leading practitioners and sporting representatives who deal with these issues on a practical level. There are also areas on this site where you can engage with these issues and help inform our analysis.

From the tennis court to the Supreme Court, CISL is not just an ivory tower detached from its subjects; it is a think tank devoted to exploring, educating and shaping the international sports law agenda


CISL has four main aims:

  1. Research: to conduct leading-edge national and international research
  2. Teach: to educate the next generation of sports lawyers and to upgrade the skills of existing athletes, practitioners and administrators
  3. Disseminate: to create a community of practice in sports law and to disseminate this knowledge over a variety of platforms, publications and at conferences and events
  4. Engage: to engage with the public and wider community on the sports issues that affect them most