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New phase of sports law development in Georgia

April 18, 2014. Newspaper "GEORGIA TODAY" By Eka Karsaulidze,issue #711
A two-day conference entitled State sports policy of Georgia: challenges and perspectives, held for the first time in Georgia, was dedicated to the state's sports policy development, the legal framework of sport and sports arbitration, the Olympic movement, public financing and investment in sport.

The conference which was organized by the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs of Georgia (MSY), with the support of the National Olympic Committee of Georgia and Physical Education and Sport University of Georgia hosted foreign guests from the US, UK, Slovenia and Ukraine. Presence of international exerts in sport law and sports arbitration was ensured by joined efforts of the MSY and Mgaloblishvili Kipiani Dzidziguri (MKD), one of the leading and best known law firms in Georgia.

Georgia Today talked with Mikheil Kakulia, lawyer at MKD, about the legal innovations being prepared for Georgian sport.

Q: Could you tell us about sports arbitration, is this new for Georgia?

A: In the context of the legal development of sport, one of the most important elements is to create a body which would be focused on the resolution of sports disputes and legal issues. There are special arbitration bodies and tribunals in Europe and the US, which deal with matters that are associated only with sports. At the conference, the idea to create such a system in our country was voiced.
MKD law firm has been cooperating with the MSY in this direction for a long time already. It is our hope that the Georgian arbitration court will be created in the near future with a perspective to cover issues not only for Georgia, but across the Caucasian region.

Q: When will the sports arbitration begin its work?

A: It is too early to talk about it, but the Ministry of Sports has a great desire to create and promote the development of sports arbitration in Georgia. But the government cannot implement this initiative alone; Georgian legal community, as well as all stakeholders who love sport need to cooperate.

Q: Sports arbitration is well devel¬oped in the West. How will this legal equivalent work in Georgia?

A: At first, we should decide on the model of the sports arbitration in our country. There are many different ones and, I think, we will put together the knowledge and experience for Georgia to develop its own scheme. Also, as Georgia does not have much experience in this area, it would be reasonable to involve highly skilled arbiters from western countries.

It is my pleasure to note at the conference all experts consented unanimously to assist Georgia in developing our sports law and sports arbitration court system, as the sector has a great potential.

Q: Public financing and investment were one of the elements of sports development discussed at the conference. In your opinion, how can we make Georgian sport more attractive for investments?

A: We should decide what do we want and how we want to do it. The investor must see a well-designed and commercially viable project in order to invest. After that, we would develop an action plan and then get financial investments either from the state or private sector.

Unfortunately, Georgia has infrastructure problems and firstly the money must be invested in developing this. It must be noted that Slovenia, for example, having a 2 million population, invested about 400 million Euros in the improvement of sports infrastructure from 2002 to 2010, can you imagine that?

Q: How does MKD plan to par¬ticipate in this process?

A: Mgaloblishvili Kipiani Dzidziguri law firm, within its competence, intends to further collaborate with the MSY on legal aspects of development of sport and sports arbitration in Georgia. We believe that the similar high-level meetings will be regularly held in the future, and until we will be exchanging opinions and specific suggestions with our foreign colleagues. 16


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