2,500 expected to sign up to free, global sports law course

The Law Society of Ireland has teamed up with experts from across the sports law field to deliver a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC).

The course taps into the growing understanding of the vital importance of law in all areas of sport, from local GAA clubs to multi-million euro sporting contracts. The course is free of charge, open to all and begins on Tuesday 8 May 2018.

The course will cover highly topical issues such as sports governance, liability, child protection, sponsorship, gambling and much more. It features expert contributions from top sports lawyers, the GAA, World Rugby, the Irish Horse Racing Board, Sport Ireland, and the University of Melbourne.

“This is our fifth MOOC and we have had over 9,000 participants from over 54 countries since 2014,” says Freda Grealy, head of the Law Society of Ireland’s Diploma Centre.

“We already have 1,635 students signed up for this year’s sports law MOOC from as far afield as Australia, Uruguay, Nigeria and Hong Kong – solicitors, sports professionals, police force members and many more.”

Expert contributors

Cliodhna Guy, Head of Legal for the Irish Horseracing Board, is one of the expert contributors to the Law Society’s Sports Law MOOC. Horse-breeding and racing is one of the country’s most successful sporting pursuits; Ireland is the second-largest producer of bloodstock by value in the world.

“Many practical issues affect sports bodies on a day to day basis - insurance, event management, media rights, social media management, data protection to name a few. This has resulted in increased need for those who understand the practical operational aspect of sport and how the law should be applied to it,” says Guy.

“Liability is a huge issue for clubs no matter what level - be they clubs at grass roots level or on the international stage. Concussion, second impact syndrome and HIAs are of particular concern and affect many sports at both amateur and professional level.”

“And all sports have to contend with disciplinary and anti-doping matters and properly drafted rules and policies ensure that all participants understand their obligations and entitlements.” 

With over 190,000 players across the island of Ireland, from tag teams up to senior club ranks, rugby is one of the ‘big four’ of Irish sports.

MOOC contributor Yvonne Nolan, Legal Counsel, World Rugby, says “It is important for sports governing bodies to have adequately drafted rules, regulations and policies in place.  Without them, an organisation faces significantly increased risk.”

“The demand for sports lawyers to advise on these aspects will inevitably increase in line with the trend towards a more heavily regulated landscape.”

Anyone can play

“Public legal education and innovation in education has always been a core value of the Law Society. Anyone with an interest in sports law and an internet connection can be part of the MOOC learning community,” Freda Grealy adds.

“We have really brought together the top seeds in the world of sports law and governance to contribute their expertise, free of charge, to this unique course.”

For more details, and to sign up, visit the 2018 MOOC website.