After a delay of several years, the Serbian Parliament adopted a new Sports Act ("Act") on 31 March 2011.

The Act introduces a completely new legal framework relating to the organisation of sports in Serbia and regulates other sports-related fields/activities (institutional framework, education in sports, medical protection, awards for sporting achievements, the fight against doping and violence in sports, sports arbitration, etc).

Privatisation of sports organisations

As one of the most important (and controversial) items, the Act enables the transformation of socially-owned or state-owned capital in sports organisations into private capital, which was practically impossible under the previous legal framework. This essentially means that sports organisations (such as sports clubs) may be privatised. However, an investor (purchaser of capital in a sports organisation) cannot initiate the privatisation of a sports organisation.

The purpose of sports facilities owned by sports organisation can be changed only under strictly regulated conditions. The same applies to the demolition or closing of sports facilities.

Specific competition rules will apply to the privatisation of existing sports organisations (for instance, an investor in a sport organisation will not be allowed to own shares in other sport organisations in the same sport if this is likely to have an impact on competition).

Classification of professional athletes

Under the new Act, professional sportsmen/women will be classed as employees of a sports organisation and his/her rights regulated by the labour law, collective bargaining agreements, work regulations and employment agreements (such term cannot exceed 5 years). Professional sportsmen/women may also be classed as entrepreneurs.

Regulation and financing of sports associations

The Act extensively regulates the organisation of sports associations as the prevailing form of sports organisations (namely their registration, internal acts, membership and liability of their members, status of property, statutory changes, liquidation, bookkeeping standards, etc.).

A sports association may incorporate a company to raise funds to finance sporting activities by engaging in commercial activities. The best comparative example is in Germany, where the sports association FC Bayern Munich founded the joint stock company Bayern Munich AG.