An extract from The Sports Law Review, 5th Edition

Organisation of sports events

i Relationship between organiser and spectator

Article 79 of the Sports Law Act states a list of violations of the law, in which No. 12 explicitly talks about the obligation of a sports event organiser to provide all security measures to grant safety and prevent any type of violence within the sports facilities. The most common example, unfortunately, is how the violence in south American football has obligated organisers to develop programmes to prevent encounters between opposite teams' fans; the lack of these types of measures is considered a direct violation of this law.

ii Relationship between organiser and athletes or clubs

The same article mentioned in subsection i, but under item No. 13, establish how organisers must provide all security measures for the practise of the physical activity. More specifically, a literal interpretation of this Article could exempt event organisers as it talks about employers and workers of a sports organisation; however, a broader interpretation could arise when a club host a sports event such as a football game, where it is fully responsible for its own workers, from players to technical staff, and also is responsible for the visiting team; notwithstanding, this Article clearly states the obligation to an organiser of grating safety to any athlete or club involved in the event.

iii Liability of the organiser

In Venezuela, there are no regulations that refer especially to the organisation of sporting events. However, the infractions and sanctions referred to in the Sports Law Act are applicable. Organisers also have civil and criminal responsibility.

Article 1.185 of the Civil Code states as follows:

The one who intentionally, or through negligence or recklessness, has caused harm to another, is obliged to repair it. Reparation must also be made by those who have caused harm to another, exceeding, in the exercise of their right, the limits set by good faith or by the object in view of which this right has been conferred.

Likewise, any subject that has a right that links it to the event organiser, whether legal or contractual, may require it.

In criminal law, the exercise of criminal action will depend on the nature of the crime. In general, it will be exerted ex officio by the Public Ministry, unless it is a crime of private instance.

Article 24 of the Penal Act states that: 'the criminal action must be exerted ex officio by the Public Ministry, unless it can only be exercised by the victim or at his request.' Also, it is stated in the Penal Act that any crime of private instance can only be exercised by the victim, the actions that arise from the crimes that the law establishes as a private instance and their prosecution will be done according to the special procedure regulated in the referred act.

iv Liability of the athletes

In this case, when talking about liability of an individual athlete, a distinction must be made between a situation that arises from normal sports activity, versus a situation that derives from an action that clearly does not come out of what you can consider normal playing action. Think of a foul committed during a football game. According to its level of severity, the action could finish in a disciplinary sanction executed by the team or the sports governing body. If, instead, the action committed is not a severe foul but an actual physical attack towards another player, outside of game action, or a punch against a spectator, the athlete will be liable for criminal or civil actions as the case may be.

v Liability of the spectators

There are no specific laws that regulate the liability of a spectator; thus, civil and criminal liability will rely on any persons that commit a fault during the realisation of any sports events as it would be if the action were committed elsewhere.

vi Riot prevention

As there is no specific law to prevent riots during sports events, cases must be analysed exactly as detailed in Section III.i. Article 79 of the Sports Law Act, under item No. 12, explicitly talks about the obligation of a sports event organiser to provide all security measures to grant safety and prevent any type of violence within the sports facilities.

Among these measures, the hosting club will have to sustain a cooperative relationship with the local police to act in case of a possible riot. Depending on the level of risk, determined by the nature of the match itself, a club will always evaluate the possibility of increasing the actions to be taken to grant the security of all actors involved in the event.

Commercialisation of sports events

i Types of and ownership in rights

Among the definitions contained in the Sports Law Act, there is one called 'economic management sports organisations'. These organisations are defined as public or private entities created under private law dedicated to the production and commercialisation of goods and services associated with sports.

In Article 61 of the Act, it clearly specifies what sports-related rights can be exploited in Venezuela, as follows:

  1. the provision of the public service for the promotion, development, training and administration of sports, physical activity and physical education;
  2. the organisation of professional sports practice, including professional clubs and leagues;
  3. the production and commercialisation of goods and services associated with sport, physical activity and physical education; and
  4. the intermediation of professional contracts, sponsorship or representation of athletes, professional or not.
ii Rights protection

Venezuela does not have a specific law to protect sports-related rights; all rights established by law are those listed in the Sports Law Act, specifically in the article explained in Section IV.i of this chapter.

The principal issue for a right holder to seek protection of its right is to fully comply with the requirements listed by the law, mainly the registration in the National Sports Registry to be recognised as a sports entity.

Article 9 of the Sports Law Act establishes that all actors involved in the sports business must file for registration before the National Sports Registry to gain legal recognition and to eventually be a legal right holder. The business can therefore seek its protection from:

  1. any social organisation that promotes sports;
  2. professional sports entities, agents and scouts working within Venezuela;
  3. companies directly or indirectly managing any sports facility;
  4. companies dedicated to the direct or indirect managing of a social or recreation club;
  5. companies that manufacture, import, store, distribute or commercialise sports equipment; and
  6. any other entity indicated by the Directory of the National Sports Institute.
iii Contractual provisions for exploitation of rights

Venezuela does not have any mandatory provisions to be included in a licence agreement or in a right purchase contract. While the object of the contract is lawful, as would be the case with sports rights, there are no restrictions established by law for the conclusion of contracts of this kind. Regarding licence agreements, the main topics to address within the contract are territoriality, duration and limitations to the exploitation for the rights.