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Sport, Law and International Diplomacy - JURD7652
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Faculty: Faculty of Law
School:  School of Law
Course Outline: See below
Campus: Kensington Campus
Career: Postgraduate
Units of Credit: 6
EFTSL: 0.12500 (more info)
Indicative Contact Hours per Week: 3
Excluded: LAWS0252
Fee Band:   (more info)
Further Information: See Class Timetable


In the twentieth century sport was transformed from an amateur pastime to a global business and became an important tool for nations in international diplomacy. This course will introduce students to the development of the international sports system and its modes of governance. It will explore the use of sport in diplomacy, especially in key events such as boycott movements that had legal repercussions in various nations. Using a series of case studies the course will consider themes such as international treaties related to sport; human rights; discrimination; violence; women in sport; sport and the European Union among others. It will also examine international organisations such as the IOC, FIFA, the World Anti-Doping Agency and the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Recommended Prior Knowledge


Course Objectives

The overall aim is to open up to students an understanding of the importance of (and role of over time) sport and law (and sport law as an independent entity) in the process of international diplomacy. More specifically the course aims at facilitating the student's ability to:
  • Understand the political nature of sport
  • Develop an understanding of international systems of sports governance
  • Develop a basic understanding of international law
  • Understand the historical development of sport as a tool in international diplomacy
  • Appreciate and understand the importance of international law in the context of global sport
  • Understand the role of sport and sport law in various international movements such as the battle against Apartheid in South Africa; the debate in the USA whether to boycott the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games; the almost global boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics and more recently the international battle over doping in sport - among many others.
  • Appreciate the role of sport more generally in international diplomacy and the various laws and treaties that come into play.

Main Topics

  • The geneses of international sporting organisations and the development of the governance of international sport
  • Sport and law in the inter-war years (1918-1939) and during the era of appeasement with special consideration of moves in the USA to boycott the 1936 Berlin Olympics
  • The boycott era. Law, sport and diplomacy during the Cold War Era (includes dealing with the problem of the Two Chinas, Two Germanies, Two Koreas and others)
  • The Gleneagles Agreement and the battle against Apartheid in South Africa
  • Human rights and anti-discrimination provisions in international treaties and how sporting organisations deal with them
  • International treaties and the protection of sporting intellectual property
  • International law and the politics of doping in sport
  • The Court of Arbitration for Sport
  • The European Union Constitution, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) and Sport
  • International environmental law and sport
  • The Beijing Olympic Games, Law and International Diplomacy


(Attendance) and participation 10%
Debates 20%
First Assignment (An analytical review of films shown during the course) 10%
Tutorial paper (oral presentation) 20%
Research Essay 40%

Course Texts


A study kit of essential readings will be available from the UNSW bookshop.


J. Nafzigar, International Sports Law (2nd edition), Ardsley, New York, 2004
Recommended reading (this book is recommended to students for purchase but it is prohibitively expensive. Available in the Law Library)

Other Recommended:
D. Healey, Sport and the Law (third edition), UNSW Press, Sydney, 2004

G.M. Kelly, Sport and the Law, Law Book Company, Sydney 1987 (L/KN186.6/k1/1)
Available in the Law Reserve, UNSW Library. Although aged and out of print it is highly recommended.


There is a vast range of resources available for study in this course. These will be unveiled progressively during the early weeks of the course.

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© The University of New South Wales (CRICOS Provider No.: 00098G), 2004-2011. The information contained in this Handbook is indicative only. While every effort is made to keep this information up-to-date, the University reserves the right to discontinue or vary arrangements, programs and courses at any time without notice and at its discretion. While the University will try to avoid or minimise any inconvenience, changes may also be made to programs, courses and staff after enrolment. The University may also set limits on the number of students in a course.