The International Sports Law Journal

, Volume 14, Issue 1–2, pp 58–71 | Cite as

Major event legislation: lessons from London and looking forward

  • Ryan GauthierEmail author


Prior to hosting an event such as the Olympic Games, the host state passes a variety of legislative and administrative acts in support of the event. However, the efficacy of these acts is rarely remarked upon. This article undertakes a cursory examination of the legislation passed by the United Kingdom in advance of the London 2012 Summer Olympic Games. This article briefly examines the content of the legislation, and some of the problems encountered by the legislation. However, recent events should be re-orienting the discussion on mega-event legislation. Corruption, displacement of persons, and labour and human rights concerns show that the current structure of mega-event legislation is insufficient to address the problems posed by emerging states as hosts of sporting mega-events. Mega-event legislation, as currently constructed using London as an example, does not address any of these concerns. Mega-event legislation is merely sufficient to address the concerns it is currently targeted towards, but is clearly unable to address the concerns facing newer hosts. The failure to address these issues, by governments, or by sporting bodies, will lead to further problems, and could endanger the sport event itself.


Olympic Mega-event London 2012 Legislation 



  1. Bacalo-Fleury C (2011) Brazil’s olympic trials: an overview of the intellectual property challenges posed by the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games. Univ Ill J Law Technol Policy 2011(1):191–213.
  2. Barchfield J (2013) Riot by the Maracana! Brazilian police spark angry protests with clearout of Indian museum as part of World Cup preparations. MailOnline (UK). 22 March 2013.
  3. Boykoff J (2011) The anti-olympics. New Left Rev 67:41–59Google Scholar
  4. Brabazon M (1999) The legal structure of the Sydney olympic games. Univ NSW Law J 22:662–690Google Scholar
  5. Caetano R, Pinsky I, Laranjeira R (2012) Editorial: should soccer and alcohol mix? Alcohol sales during the 2014 World Soccer Cup Games in Brazil. Addiction 107:1722–1723CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Close P (2010) Olympiads as mega-events and the pace of globalization: Beijing 2008 in context. Int J History Sport 27:2976–3007CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cottrell MP, Nelson T (2011) Not just the games? Power, protest and politics at the olympics. Eur J Int Relat 17:729–753CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Donatuti JL (2007) Can China protect the olympics, or should the olympics be protected from China? J Intellect Property Law 15:203–237Google Scholar
  9. Doyle J (2012) Fears over asylum claims as six more Olympic athletes go missing when they are meant to go home, MailOnline (UK), 14 August, 2012.
  10. de Almeida BS, Bolsmann C, Marchi Júnior W, de Souza J (2014) Rationales, Rhetoric and Realities: FIFA’s World Cup in South Africa 2010 and Brazil 2014. International Review for the Sociology of Sport (pre-published April 26, 2013). doi: 10.1177/1012690213481970
  11. Dos Santos Junior OA, Monteiro Dos Santos R (2013) The right to housing, the World Cup and the Olympics: reflections on the case of Rio de Janeiro. Territorio 64:28–33Google Scholar
  12. Ellis D, Scassa T, Séguin B (2011) Framing ambush marketing as a legal issue: an olympic perspective. Sport Manag Rev 14:297–308CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Foley M, McGillivray D, McPherson G (2011) Events policy: the limits of democracy. J Policy Res Tour Leis Events 3(3):313–324Google Scholar
  14. Gaffney C (2013) Between discourse and reality: the un-sustainability of mega-event planning. Sustainability 5:3926–3940CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gauthier R (2011) International sporting event bid processes, and how they can be improved. Int Sports Law J 11:3–14Google Scholar
  16. Geeraert A (2013) The governance agenda and its relevance for sport: introducing the four dimensions of the AGGIS sports governance observer. In: Alm J (ed) Action for good governance in international sports Oganisations. Play the Game/Danish Institute for Sports Studies, Copenhagen, pp 9–21Google Scholar
  17. Gibson O (2013) IOC gives Sochi Seal of approval for Russia’s Winter Olympics. The Guardian (London), 26 Sept. 2013.
  18. Hayes G, Horne J (2011) Sustainable Development, Shock and Awe? London 2012 and Civil Society. Sociology 45(5):749–764CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hiller HH (2000) Toward an urban sociology of mega-events. Urban Sociol 5:181–205CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hopkins MM (2006) Olympic ideal demolished: how forced evictions in China related to the 2008 olympic games are violating international law. Houst J Int Law 29(1):155–189Google Scholar
  21. James M, Osborn G (2011) London 2012 and the impact of the UK’s olympic and paralympic legislation: protecting commerce or preserving culture? Mod Law Rev 74(3):410–429CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. James M, Osborn G (2010) Consuming the olympics: the fan, the rights holder and the law. University of Westminster School of Law Research Paper No. 10-24Google Scholar
  23. Johanson M (2013) Sochi 2014 Olympics Unsafe or LGBT Community Under Russia’s Anti-Gay Law, Activists Warn, International Business Times, 4 July 2013.
  24. Kidd B (2010) Human rights and the olympic movement after Beijing. Sport Soc 13:901–910CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kidd B (1992) The culture wars of the Montreal olympics. Int Rev Sociol Sport 27(2):151–162CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Maennig W, Zimballist A (2012) What is a mega sporting event? In: Maennig W, Zimbalist A (eds) International handbook on the economics of mega sporting events. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, pp 9–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Mehta N, Majumdar B (2012) For a monsoon wedding: Delhi and the Commonwealth Games. In: Maennig W, Zimbalist A (eds) International handbook on the economics of mega sporting events. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, pp 504–526Google Scholar
  28. Mestre AM (2009) The law of the olympic games. T.M.C. Asser Press, the HagueGoogle Scholar
  29. Morgan J (2013) FIFA may suspend anti-gay laws in Russia, Qatar during World Cup. GayStarNews. 14 June 2013.
  30. Opie H, Toomey E (2010) Trans-Tasman sport and law—some observations. Canterb Law Rev 16:155–184Google Scholar
  31. Pattisson P (2013) Revealed: Qatar’s World Cup ‘Slaves’. The Guardian (London). 25 Sept. 2013.
  32. Phillips T (2011) Rio World Cup demolitions leave favela families trapped in ghost town. The Guardian (London). 26 April, 2011.
  33. Preuss, H, Gemeinder K, Séguin B (2008) Ambush marketing in China: counterbalancing olympic sponsorship efforts. Asian Bus Manag 7:243–263Google Scholar
  34. Scassa T (2008) Faster, higher, stronger: the protection of olympic and paralympic marks leading up to Vancouver 2010. Univ British Columbia Law Rev 41(1):31–68Google Scholar
  35. Sato S (2013) Two-Time Evictee Bears Olympic-Sized Grudge, Japan Times, 15 September 2013.
  36. Strawczynski J (2004) Is Canada ready for the Vancouver winter games? An examination of Canada’s olympic intellectual property protection. Univ Toronto Faculty Law Rev 62:2: 231–228Google Scholar
  37. Ungoed-Thomas J (2012) Resale of olympic tickets stopped due to ‘Long Queue Fears’, The Sunday Times (London), 29 July 2012. Available at
  38. Vassallo E, Blemaster K, Werner P (2009) An international look at ambush marketing. Intellect Property J 22:87–102Google Scholar
  39. Wang SH (2005) Great Olympics, New China: intellectual property enforcement steps up to the mark. Loyola Los Angel Int Comp Law Rev 27:291–322Google Scholar
  40. Watt P (2013) ‘It’s not for us’: regeneration, the 2012 Olympics and the Gentrification of East London. City 17(1):99–118CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Walker M, Heere B, Parent MM, Drane D (2010) Social responsibility and the olympic games: the mediating role of consumer attributions. J Bus Ethics 95:659–680CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Whiteside K (2013) IOC: Anti-gay legislation won’t impact Olympics in Sochi. USA Today. 26 July 2013.
  43. William H (2012) Syria Olympics Chief General Mowaffak Joumaa ‘Refused Visa’. The Independent (London), June 22 2012. Available at


  1. 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Special Measures Act, No. 11 of 2006Google Scholar
  2. City of Vancouver British Columbia, 2010 Winter Games By-Law No. 9962Google Scholar
  3. Code of Olympic Games to be Conducted in Istanbul City No. 3796 (Tr.)Google Scholar
  4. Dispõe sobre as medidas relativas à Copa das Confederações FIFA 2013, à Copa do Mundo FIFA 2014 e à Jornada Mundial da Juventude—2013, Lei No. 12.663, de juhno de 2012, D.O.U. de 6.6.2012 (Brazil)Google Scholar
  5. Dispõe sobre o Estatuto de Defesa do Torcedor e dá outras providências, Lei No. 10.671, de 15 de maio de 2003, D.O.U. de 16.5.2003 (Brazil)Google Scholar
  6. Institui o Ato Olímpico, no âmbito da administração pública federal, com a finalidade de assegurar garantias à candidatura da cidade do Rio de Janeiro a sede dos Jogos Olímpicos e Paraolímpicos de 2016 e de estabelecer regras especiais para a sua realização, condicionada a aplicação desta Lei à confirmação da escolha da referida cidade pelo Comitê Olímpico Internacional, Lei No. 12.035, de 1 de outubro de 2009, D.O.U. de 1.10.2009 (Brazil)Google Scholar
  7. Federal Law on Organising the FIFA 2018 Football World Cup and the FIFA 2017 Confederations Cup in the Russian Federation and on Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation 2013, No. 108 (Russia)Google Scholar
  8. London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006, c.12 (U.K.)Google Scholar
  9. London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (Amendment) Act 2011, c.22 (U.K.)Google Scholar
  10. The London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (Advertising and Trading) (England) Regulations 2011, 2011 No. 2898 (U.K.)Google Scholar
  11. Major Events Management Act 2007, 2007 No. 35 (N.Z.)Google Scholar
  12. Major Sporting Events Act, 2009, 30/2009 (Vict., Austlii.)Google Scholar
  13. Olympic Charter, Art. 50(3) (2011)Google Scholar
  14. Rugby World Cup 2011 (Empowering) Act, 2010 No. 123 (N.Z.)Google Scholar
  15. “Specific Procedures and Conditions Facilitating the Issuing of Visas to Members of the Olympic Family Participating in the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.” (Regulation (EC) No 810/2009, OJ L 243, p. 1 of 15.9.2009 (the “Visa Code”, Annex XI)Google Scholar
  16. Sunday Trading (London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games) Act 2012, c. 12 (U.K.)Google Scholar
  17. Sydney 2000 Games (Indicia and Images) Protection Act 1996, 22/1996 (Austlii.)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© T.M.C. Asser Instituut 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Erasmus University RotterdamRotterdamThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations