What measures were adopted by the Portuguese state in the sports area during the state of emergency?

In addition to the general measures that were adopted in such context and which also apply to the sports sector (see, for example, the measures enacted in the labour or corporate sphere, dealt with in the tabs "Impact on the management of employees" and "Impact on corporate governance"), specific measures were also adopted in this respect in accordance with Decree-Law no. 18-A/2020 of 23 April ("DL 18-A/2020"), regarding:

  •  the extension of sports federations’ public utility status and its renewal;
  • amendments to the regulations of sports federations;
  • the duration of the term of office of the members of the bodies of sports federations, as well of professional leagues or territorial associations of clubs affiliated to them;
  • the application, during the year of 2020, of the duodecimal system of sports development programme agreements;
  •  levelling continuous remote training with on-site training;
  • the renewal of registration in the registry of high-performance sports agents;
  •  the renewal of sports medical examinations.

 

Until when was the sports federations' public status utility extended?

Given that the Summer Olympics were to take place in 2020, sports federations would be obliged to apply for renewal of public utility status during 2020.

However, since the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee have announced the postponement of the 2020 Olympic Games and the 2020 Paralympic Games to the year 2021, DL 18-A/2020 extends the sports federations' public utility status in force on 24 April 2020, until 31 December 2021, with the sports federations being able to, until the latter date, request the renewal of the status for effects until the end of the subsequent Olympic cycle (scheduled for 2024).

 

From what point in time do changes to regulations of sports federations take effect?

Whenever the amendments in question aim to respond to constraints caused by the public health emergency prompted by COVID-19, amendments to the regulations of sports federations may be approved, which, by virtue of the provisions of DL 18-A/2020, may be immediately effective and applicable in the current sports seasons, being qualified as amendments imposed by law, instead of only being effective and applicable as of the beginning of the following sports season, as imposed by the Legal Framework of Sports Federations ("RJFD", Decree-Law no. 248-B/2008, of December 31, in its current wording).

Other amendments remain subject to the general rules.

 

What are the effects on the terms of office of members of bodies of sports federations, professional leagues or territorial associations of clubs?

Where the election of members of the bodies of sports’ federations, professional leagues or territorial associations of clubs affiliated to sports federations, were to take place in 2020, it may take place in 2021.

To this effect, it is required that the respective general meeting, expressly convened for this purpose, decides favourably on the terms under which the current terms of office are extended accordingly.

This general meeting is subject to the rules set out in the RJFD, whereby postal voting is not permitted (as it is not an elective general meeting) but the use of videoconferencing systems will be allowed.

Whenever sports federations, as well as professional leagues or territorial associations of clubs affiliated to them, make use of the faculty to postpone the elections of members of bodies until 2021, such term of office beginning therein will elapse at the end of the next Olympic cycle, foreseen for 2024.

 

I am a beneficiary under a programme agreement which terminated at the end of 2019 and I have not yet entered into a new programme agreement. Will I receive any benefits during the year 2020?

According to the general regime, the granting entity may agree with the beneficiaries to an amendment to the programme agreement relating to the previous year, so that the monthly amounts corresponding to one twelfth of the previous year are paid until a new programme agreement is executed.

Typically, the execution of such amendment shall be subject to an authorisation order by the entity responsible for the approval of the respective programme agreement and may not be in force for more than three months. However, during the year 2020 and until the programme agreements come into effect for the same year, the limitations on the application of the duodecimal structure shall not apply; this means that benefits may continue to be paid and there shall be no limitation on the duration of the amendment.

 

I have been taking remote training sessions for the revalidation of the professional title of sports coach / technical director / technical of physical exercise. What relevance is attributed to these remote training sessions?

The remote training sessions carried out since 13 March 2020 shall be equivalent to face-to-face training sessions for the purpose of determining the number of hours required to obtain continuous training credit units.

Each five hours of remote training shall correspond to one credit unit.

 

In the context of COVID-19, were specific measures approved on sports employment agreements?

Employment measures approved for all standard employment agreements shall apply, mutatis mutandis, to sports employment agreements.

On this issues, please revert to the information in the tab "Impact on the management of employees".

 

I am a high-performance athlete and I have not yet renewed my registration in the registry of high-performance sports agents. Will I be penalized? What if I'm a coach or a referee?

The obligation to renew the registration of athletes, coaches and referees in the registry of high-performance sports agents is suspended for as long as there are no international competitions taking place.

This suspension means, among others, that the financial support foreseen (which is usually dependent on the registration and annual renewal, with the penalty being immediate expiration) will not suffer any penalty.

 

I have not renewed my medical sports examination. Now what?

Although the medical sports examinations are valid for one year and must usually be renewed during the birth month of the examination holder, the obligation to renew the medical sports examinations is suspended (indefinitely).

 

From when shall the rules set out in Decree-Law 18-A/2020 apply?

These rules shall apply from 24 April 2020 onwards.

 

Are there measures specific for the online gambling sector?

In addition to the general suspension of sporting competitions at both international and national levels - which has led to the absence of fixed-odds bets during the last weeks -  article 3/1 of Law no. 7/2020, of April 19, 2020 allowed for the imposition of access limitations to online gambling platforms providing games of chance, with the objective to protect consumers, notably minors, young adults and people with addiction problems.

Article 3/2 also set forth that the imposition of access limitations to online gambling platforms ought to be regulated within five days counting from the entering into force of Law no. 7/2020 (it has entered into force on 11 of April). So far, no regulation has been enacted.

 

Until when shall the specific measures applicable to the online gambling sector be enforceable?

Although until now there is no regulation detailing the potential access limitations to online gambling platforms providing games of chance, article 3/1 of Law no. 7/2020 is express in determining that such limitations, when imposed, could only be enforceable until the end of the state of emergency period.

 

What should be done in respect of tickets sold for sporting events which did not take place on the scheduled date?

Following the decisions of the various sports associations and other entities responsible for the organisation of sporting events, the various competitions were suspended, with several sporting events having been cancelled.

As a result, ticket purchasers were unable to attend the events, even though they had paid the respective ticket price. In this context of uncertainty as to the continuation of competitions, it is possible that the return of the price may have to take place, which will still depend on an analysis of each specific case.

 

What should be done about tickets sold for shows, to take place in sports venues, which will not take place or will be postponed?

In this regard, please refer to the exceptional measures analysed in the tab "Impact on the management of agreements in the Arts & Culture sector".

 

Has the epidemiological crisis affected the processing of judicial, administrative and arbitration proceedings and the procedures before administrative bodies?

In this regard, please refer to the exceptional measures analysed in the tab "Impact on litigation matters", applicable, in particular, to proceedings before the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

 

 

 

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This information is being updated on a regular basis.

All information contained herein and all opinions expressed are of a general nature and are not intended to substitute recourse to expert legal advice for the resolution of real cases.