Regulatory

Governance structure

What is the regulatory governance structure in professional sport in your jurisdiction?

According to article 3 of the Egyptian Sports Law (Law No. 71 of 2017) (the Sports Law), each sports body, under the supervision of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, has the authority to draft and enact its own statutes, by which it is governed and regulated, provided that they are approved by: its general assembly (whose members must not have a criminal record); the international sports body to which it is affiliated; and the Egyptian Olympic Committee (EOC).

Protection from liability

To what extent are participants protected from liability for their on-field actions under civil and criminal law?

Although there are no explicit provisions in Egyptian civil and criminal laws concerning the liability of participants for their on-field actions, the Sports Law stipulates certain sanctions ranging from fines and suspension to imprisonment for, among other things, match-fixing, cursing, defamation, insulting a physical or legal person, inciting hatred or discrimination, using violence, and harassment or intimidation towards participants or referees, regardless of the person’s occupation.

Doping regulation

What is the regulatory framework for doping matters in your jurisdiction? Is there also potential secondary liability for doping offences under civil or criminal law?

The Egyptian National Anti-Doping Organisation (EGY-NADO) is the sole entity in Egypt that is technically and legally responsible for combating doping, raising awareness against it and carrying out the related testing. It is an independent sports entity affiliated to, and a member of, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and is empowered by the International Convention against Doping in Sport, which was signed by Egypt in 2007. Egypt is also one of the signatories to the International Anti-Doping Code, and must abide by the International Code of 2015 and the international standards and best practice issued by WADA.

Doping offences as defined in article 1 and explained in article 2.1 to 2.10 of the WADA Code are not referred to in the Egyptian Civil or Criminal Codes. Thus, there is no secondary liability within the aforementioned laws.

Financial controls

What financial controls exist for participant organisations within professional sport?

The Sports Law does not provide for financial controls for participant organisations within professional sports, though it does regulate investment in sports. Accordingly, the relevant corporate and commercial laws apply. In practice, national federations could suspend renewal of clubs’ professional licences pending the payment of existing debts or financial obligations, but this rarely occurs.

Part of the aim of the Sports Law is to encourage sports investment and to attract investors from abroad. Therefore, it is not anticipated that financial controls will be imposed for participant organisations as a result of the Law, unless these obligations are imposed by a continental or international sports body on its affiliated members, such as the UEFA Financial Fair Play Regulations, or salary cap provisions - none of which are currently applicable in Egypt.

Dispute resolution

Jurisdiction

Who has jurisdiction over the resolution of professional sport disputes in your jurisdiction, and how is this determined?

Two different sources determine who has jurisdiction over the resolution of professional sports disputes: (i) the Sports Law and (ii) the regulations of the international federations governing sports, which are incorporated into the statutes and regulations of the national federations (see ‘Governance structure’). According to the regulations of the international federations, the national federations are required to establish specific systems for the resolution of professional disputes related to the respective federation. Accordingly, national federations have their own dispute resolution systems that have jurisdiction over disputes arising out of or in connection with their respective sport or discipline.

Articles 66 to 70 of the Sports Law regulate the formation of an independent sports dispute resolution centre (the Centre) to be established under the auspices of the EOC. According to article 66, the Centre has jurisdiction on cases relating to sports bodies, legal entities and persons that are regulated under the Sports Law. The dispute resolution mechanisms used by the Centre are mediation, conciliation and arbitration.

The decision to establish the Centre (in accordance with the Sports Law) was taken during an emergency meeting held by the board of directors of the EOC on 26 July 2017. The board for the Centre was appointed for four years.

According to article 67 of the Sports Law, the Centre has jurisdiction if the parties choose to refer their disputes to it by including a clause in their contract or agreeing to its jurisdiction in a submission clause, or if the Centre’s jurisdiction is provided in a sports body’s statutes or sports regulations. The Centre has jurisdiction over disputes relating to the application of the Sports Law, and the statutes and regulations of the EOC, Egyptian Parliament Committee, and sports clubs and federations, as well as the general assemblies related to these federations. The Centre also has jurisdiction over disputes relating to the interpretation and enforcement of sports contracts, such as: broadcasting contracts; sponsorship agreements; intellectual property agreements; advertising agreements; photo licensing agreements; employment contracts involving clubs trainers, athletes, their agents and intermediaries; contracts involving agents organising sports events; and other sports-related disputes. Moreover, article 51-4 of the EOC Statute has explicitly excluded the jurisdiction of the ordinary tribunals while appealing any of its decisions and referred to the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) as the appellant body over the decisions issued from the Centre.

On 16 January 2019, the Parliament Youth and Sports Committee issued recommendations to the Ministry of Sports regarding the issues arising from the enforcement of the Sports Law. Among the proposed amendments is a plan to redraft provisions related to the Centre (mainly articles 66 to 70 of the Sports Law) to ensure the Centre’s independence and impartiality as well as the scope of its jurisdiction. However, a draft of the proposed amendments has not yet been published.

Enforcement

How are decisions of domestic professional sports regulatory bodies enforced?

Decisions of domestic professional sports bodies are enforced through the relevant internal committees and chambers within the same sports bodies, regardless of whether these decisions are administrative or sportive. The decisions may be appealed before the Centre or CAS if either of them has jurisdiction and after an internal appeals process has been attempted. In this event, an arbitral award would be issued and could be enforced through the relevant internal committees, or the local courts in accordance with the Egyptian Arbitration Law. However, this has not yet been tested as the Sports Law was only issued recently and amendments to the articles on dispute resolution in sports law are expected.

Court enforcement

Can the decisions of professional sports regulatory bodies be challenged or enforced in the national courts?

Prior to the issuance of the Sports Law, it was possible to challenge or enforce decisions of professional sports regulatory bodies before the Egyptian administrative courts (eg, decisions relating to elections of board members, discipline, significant suspensions). However, challenging a decision of any sports regulatory body before the national courts has now been expressly forbidden in accordance with the provisions of the Sports Law and the EOC statute. This means that the Centre should replace the local courts, and the intervention of local courts has been limited. However, the Sports law remains silent on the enforcement of the decisions of professional sports regulatory bodies through national courts, which is something that has not yet occurred.

Sponsorship and image rights

Concept of image rights

Is the concept of an individual’s image right legally recognised in your jurisdiction?

The Intellectual Property Law (Law No. 82 of 2002) regulates image rights and stipulates in article 178 that an individual’s image rights cannot be used without his or her permission, unless agreed otherwise.

Commercialisation and protection

What are the key legal considerations for the commercialisation and protection of individuals’ image rights?

The Civil Code’s provisions (article 221) apply if the image is not registered, namely the obligation to compensate lost profits and incurred losses. If the image is registered as intellectual property or a trademark, then the Criminal Code applies as this is considered a form of theft.

How are image rights used commercially by professional organisations within sport?

Generally, professional organisations seek the prior approval of the athlete to use the image rights. This can be fulfilled by virtue of a contract with the professional organisation.

Morality clauses

How can morality clauses be drafted, and are they enforceable?

Morality clauses are usually inserted within the disciplinary code or code of ethics of each sports federation or within the internal regulations of sports clubs. They are generally obligatory for the participants and specifically the athletes. They are usually enforceable internally within the same sports federation or club. However, if morality clauses are to be added in an employment contract or transfer agreements, then they must not impose on the athlete’s personal freedoms or rights, or contradict public order.

Restrictions

Are there any restrictions on sponsorship or marketing in professional sport?

There are no explicit provisions that impose restrictions on sponsorship or marketing in professional sport. However, sponsorship or marketing practices must not be contrary to public order or public morality. In addition, article 26 of the Sports Law provides that each sports body may not gamble with its money. It is also prohibited to introduce, serve or advertise alcohol in the sports body, clubs or the establishments affiliated with it.

Brand management

Protecting brands

How can sports organisations protect their brand value?

Under the Intellectual Property Law, there are options for sports organisations to protect their brand value. The options are: register the brand as a trademark with the Department of Trade Registry; copyright the brand if it contains a design; or apply for a patent.

How can individuals protect their brands?

The protection provided in the Intellectual Property Law does not differentiate between the natural person and the legal entity. Therefore, the above-mentioned rules will apply.

Cybersquatting

How can sports brands and individuals prevent cybersquatting?

Two steps can be taken to prevent cybersquatting: a registration certificate must be obtained for a trademark, copyright or patent; and then a report must be filed with the Computer Crime Department within the Ministry of Interior against the infringer.

Media coverage

How can individuals and organisations protect against adverse media coverage?

To prevent adverse media coverage a registration certificate must be obtained, and then the injured person can choose to file a lawsuit against the infringer to claim for compensation.

Broadcasting

Regulations

Which broadcasting regulations are particularly relevant to professional sports?

There are currently no specific broadcasting regulations concerning professional sports. However, article 30 of the Sports Law provides that sports bodies alone are entitled to all rights relating to the public's access to the sporting event to which they are directly or indirectly connected by means of wire, wireless, radio or television, or through all digital rights and all copyrights, or parts thereof.

Restriction of illegal broadcasting

What means are available to restrict illegal broadcasting of professional sports events?

In principle, the relevant licences providing broadcasting rights must be obtained to broadcast professional sports events. In the event of illegal broadcasting of events, a party may wish to resort to the local courts, by filing a lawsuit or requesting an emergency measure. Given the requirement that immediate action must be taken in the event of illegal broadcasting, in practice, parties prefer to resort only to the relevant regional or international federation, or to do this at the same time as resorting to local courts.

Event organisation

Regulation

What are the key regulatory issues for venue hire and event organisation?

The Sports Law does not regulate venue hire and event organisation. However, it does regulate fan conduct, including during organised events. The Sports Law establishes sanctions and fines relating to fan conduct.

The general legal framework applies to venue hire and event organisation, as well as obtaining the relevant permits from the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Defence, when applicable.

Ambush marketing

What protections exist against ambush marketing for events?

Ambush marketing for events violates consumer rights, which are regulated and protected by the Consumer Protection Law (Law No. 67 of 2006), and violates the intellectual property of the event’s organiser over the trademark, as stipulated in the Intellectual Property Law. Article 113 of the latter states that:

Without prejudice to any more severe punishment under any other law, a person shall be punishable by imprisonment for a period of not less than two months and by a fine of not less than 5,000 Egyptian pounds and not more than 20,000 Egyptian pounds, or by either punishment, who . . . (3) fraudulently affixes to his products a trademark belonging to a third party; (4) knowingly sells, offers for sale or distributes, or acquires for the purpose of sale, products bearing a counterfeit or imitated mark, or on which the mark was unlawfully affixed.

Ticket sale and resale

Can restrictions be imposed on ticket sale and resale?

Yes, according to the Sports Law, the sale of tickets must be in accordance with the rules of the sports body's statute. If not, the person who sells or resells tickets for a sport activity will be liable to imprisonment for no more than three months or a fine of no less than 5,000 Egyptian pounds and no more than 30,000 Egyptian pounds.

Immigration

Work permits and visas

What is the process for clubs to obtain work permits or visas for foreign professional athletes, and coaching and administrative staff?

Clubs must sign employment contracts with professional athletes and obtain approvals from the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the relevant sports association, in addition to security clearance for the individual, and submit these approvals to the Ministry of Manpower.

What is the position regarding work permits or visas for foreign professional athletes, and coaching and administrative staff, temporarily competing in your jurisdiction?

The regular entry visa regulations apply to foreign athletes, coaches and administrative staff who are temporarily competing in Egypt. Visas are provided on arrival for some nationalities or are obtained via the relevant Egyptian embassy. Currently, there is no requirement to obtain extra work permits to temporarily compete at events in Egypt.

Residency requirements

What residency requirements must foreign professional athletes, and coaching and administrative staff, satisfy to remain in your jurisdiction long term or permanently?

Foreign professional athletes, coaches and administrative staff who wish to reside in Egypt must hold, inter alia, a valid employment agreement, a work permit and a residency visa issued by the relevant administrative authority.

Do the family members of foreign professional athletes, and coaching and administrative staff, legally resident in your jurisdiction have the same residency rights?

The residency visas of the family members of foreign professional athletes, and coaching and administrative staff are tied to the athlete’s, coach’s or administrative staff’s residency visa. They fall under the spouse or guardian sponsored residency visa category and are subject to termination upon the expiration of visa of the primary visa holder. Therefore, if the individual is no longer working with the club or relevant entity, he or she must leave with his or her family upon the expiry of his or her residency visa.

Sports unions

Incorporation and regulation

How are professional sporting unions incorporated and regulated?

Professional sports unions are incorporated in accordance with the Sports Law. Each sports union that organises professional contests shall establish a regulation governing its work, in line with the regulations of the relevant local laws, including the Sports Law.

Membership

Can professional sports bodies and clubs restrict union membership?

Sports bodies and clubs may not restrict union membership as that would be a direct violation of the freedom of association granted by articles 75 to 77 of the 2014 Egyptian Constitution.

However, a new member should fulfil the conditions and criteria requested by the union to become a member.

Strike action

Are there any restrictions on professional sports unions taking strike action?

According to articles 192 to 194 of the Labour Law (Law No. 12 of 2003), all employees have the right to strike.

Moreover, article 15 of the 2014 Egyptian Constitution states that peacefully striking is a right regulated by law. Workers shall have the right to strike peacefully and shall be declared and organised through their trade union organisations in defence of their professional, economic and social interests within the limits prescribed in this law.

If the workers of the establishment of the trade union committee intend to strike, the committee, after approval by a two-thirds majority, shall notify both the employer and the competent administrative authority at least 10 days before the date of the strike with a registered letter and acknowledgment of receipt. The notification shall include the reasons for the strike and the time limit.

If the establishment does not have a trade union committee, the intention of the workers to strike shall be notified to the general union, and the latter shall, after the approval of its board of directors by the aforementioned majority, make the notifications.

Workers shall not strike with a view to amending the Collective Labour Convention during the period of its validity, as well as during all stages and procedures of mediation and arbitration.

Employment

Transfers

What is the legal framework for individual transfers? What restrictions can be placed on individuals moving between clubs?

There is no specific legal framework for individual transfers. Every sports association has its own regulations that set the conditions and restrictions for the transfer of individuals or simple moves between clubs.

Ending contractual obligations

Can individuals buy their way out of their contractual obligations to professional sports clubs?

A buyout clause may be negotiated and included in the athlete’s contract. A buyout clause has to specify the possible timing for termination and the financial consequences for the athlete to buy his or her way out. The inclusion of a buyout clause in the athlete’s contract is not a mandatory obligation under the law and is subject to the discretion of the parties and the principle of freedom of contract.

Welfare obligations

What are the key athlete welfare obligations for employers?

Every sport has its own rules and regulations. For example, the contract made under the rules of the Egyptian Football Association impose certain obligations on the player and the employer. For example, the club:

  • must honour the terms of the contract with the player;
  • is obliged to make an insurance policy for accidents, sickness and death;
  • should allow the player to continue with his or her studies; and
  • is obliged to conduct a periodic examination of the player and to prevent the use of stimulants.

In addition, if a player becomes fully disabled, and this is confirmed by a medical committee, he or she will be entitled to his or her financial benefits.

Other obligations can be imposed with the parties’ agreement.

Young athletes

Are there restrictions on the employment and transfer of young athletes?

The employment and transfer of young athletes are not regulated under the Sports Law. However, the general restrictions under the Labour Law relating to the employment of minors are applicable. In practice, very little attention is given to these restrictions and they are not yet regulated.

Articles 64 to 69 of the Child Law (Law No. 12 of 1996) state that children cannot be employed before the age of 15. However, employers may seek authorisation from the competent minister to employ children from the age of 13 to 15 years in seasonal work that does not harm their health or growth, and does not prejudice their education.

It is prohibited to employ a child in any kind of work that, by its nature or circumstances, may jeopardise his or her health, safety or morals, and the employer is required to insure him or her against any harm during his or her period of employment. The employer must provide at the workplace all occupational health and safety precautions and train the children to use them.

What are the key child protection rules and safeguarding considerations?

Articles 64 to 69 of the Child Law state that a child’s annual leave shall be increased by seven working days to 28 days and shall not be postponed or denied for any reason. A child cannot be employed to work for more than six hours a day and to work for more than four consecutive hours, and cannot work between 7pm and 7am. Working overtime is also prohibited.

The employer must inform the competent administrative authority of the names of the children and the persons assigned to monitor their work. The employer must provide separate accommodation for children if their working conditions require their stay, and must give their remuneration directly to them or to their parents.

Club and country representation

What employment relationship issues arise when athletes represent both club and country?

As a general rule, a club is obliged to release their registered players to representative teams of the country for which the player is eligible to play or has been called up by the relevant national association. Players and clubs cannot enter into an agreement to the contrary. A mandatory release is applicable for matches set out in the coordinated International Match Calendar and covers the specified training period. A release for a match that is not on the International Match Calendar is discretionary. Employment relationship issues that may arise when athletes represent both a club and a country include when:

  • an athlete refuses to play a match (mainly for fear of injury or if it conflicts with another match with the club or important training);
  • an athlete gets injured while training or playing with the national team;
  • an athlete announces retirement from the national team yet continues to play with the club; and
  • there are problems related to insurance against illness and accidents during the period of release.
Selection and eligibility

How are selection and eligibility disputes dealt with by national bodies?

In general, selection and eligibility are regulated by the relevant national sports federations and the disputes in connection thereto are governed by the internal dispute resolution bodies of the relevant federation or sports body. In practice, very few, if any, disputes are officially filed by players collectively or individual players with regard to selection and eligibility. This could be attributed to the uncertainty of the legal system in this area, which can hinder access to justice.

What are the key taxation issues for foreign athletes competing in your jurisdiction to be aware of?

Foreign athletes in Egypt are subject to Egyptian tax laws. Taxes are deducted from their remuneration directly by their employers. Egypt is party to several double tax treaties, which should be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and depending on the nationality of the athlete.

Update and trends

Key developments of the past year

Are there any emerging trends or hot topics in your jurisdiction?

Hot topics37 Are there any emerging trends or hot topics in your jurisdiction?

The sports sector in Egypt is constantly maturing. With the issuance of the Sports Law, unregulated issues are now regulated, but the Law must be thoroughly tested. There are currently several hot topics including (i) issues arising from the broadcasting and television rights of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt and (ii) establishment of the Centre and the Parliament suggestions on amendments to the Sports Law with regard to the functioning of the Centre.