The employment status of (Olympic) athletes will be a topic in 2018 - especially the desirability of collective agreements with regard to athletes and coaches. The possible introduction of quality marks for intermediaries in football could also be a new topic, as the Dutch Football Association recently proposed an initiative thereto.
Another topic will be the effects of the report of the Dutch investigation commission into sexual intimidation and abuse in sports, published in 2017. The report concluded that sexual intimidation and abuse occurs frequently; 12% of Dutch adults have had at least one sexual negative experience in their childhood.
Finally, the Dutch tax climate is under close scrutiny of the EU. Will the Netherlands still be attractive as tax haven for Intellectual Property rights and Royalty earnings by the end of 2018?
The gender pay gap, under intense worldwide scrutiny, is an issue in New Zealand professional sport and will likely remain in the spotlight. The issue gained significant traction late last year when the Black Ferns (New Zealand's women's rugby team) won the 2017 Rugby World Cup, despite most players having full time work commitments outside the sport, and other talented players unable to participate due to work and monetary pressures.
The lead up to the 2018 Commonwealth Games will revive the tension between professional contractual obligations and representing New Zealand for some of our top athletes. Key examples arise in cycling and sailing, with a number of New Zealand's top athletes already confirming professional commitments that conflict with the timing of the Games.
Cheating remains an ugly and unfortunate reality in New Zealand like elsewhere, with violations striking a blow to New Zealand's culture of fair play and integrity. In December 2017, up to 80 athletes, including school age athletes, from a range of sports were caught up in a doping investigation. Drug Free Sport NZ is under pressure to take a hard line and in 2018 both the New Zealand Sports Tribunal and the Rugby Judiciary are likely to hear cases involving a large number of recreational athletes. Technology is also evolving to investigate and resolve other cheating claims, such as course cutting issues.
Another potential issue to watch is World Rugby's recently implemented ban on players writing messages on their strapping tape. A number of New Zealand's leading players have taken exception to the ban which they see as a breach of their freedom of expression. It will be interesting to see the player response to the ban when the rugby season kicks off later this year.
The main sporting event for 2018 will be the final four tournament of the Euroleague basketball competition which will bring with it a range of contractual issues in sports marketing and brand protection.
We also expect breaches of financial fair play rules by clubs and behaviour of their supporters at home and away matches to remain a hot topic this year.
Finally, due to the outdated infrastructure we expecta growth in projects driven by the compliance rules of UEFA and other international associations to enable the country to meet the criteria required for the organisation of the international matches.
Karanovic & Nikolic