Tilburg Law and Economics Center

TILEC supports and stimulates academic research on the governance of economic activity. It fosters academically path breaking and practically relevant research and aims to be a leading center worldwide.

Suren Gomtsian and Branislav Hock on "The Private Legal Order of FIFA"

FIFA, football's world governing body, has long been associated with the World Cup and, lately, the corruption scandal. Less known is FIFA's success in building a legal order that competes with public orders. In TILEC Discussion Paper No. 2017-003 TILEC junior member Branislav Hock and TILEC extramural fellow Suren Gomtsian and their co-authors explain how and why this private legal order has succeeded in governing the behavior of the involved actors by keeping them away from regular courts.

FA offers harmonized institutions that apply across national borders and in many cases are better accustomed to the needs of the involved parties than their state-made alternatives. FIFA's rules increase the gains of clubs and prominent footballers. And while the interests of some other involved parties, less known players in particular, might have been better served by the application of formal state laws, the established equilibrium discourages deviation.

The results contribute to the better understanding of alternative modes of supplying institutional design, particularly by illustrating how private orders function in the environment where reputation plays a limited role. The paper is forthcoming in the Yale Journal of International Law.