Joe Bonilla Gálvez, Colombian sports lawyer and senior associate of Bogota law firm Muñoz Tamayo & Asociados, explains incolombian-sports-law  World Sports Law Report the shortfalls of Colombian football in the legal context, specifically the October 2013 withdrawal of a bill designed to protect footballers’ employment rights.

Colombian sports lawyer Joe Bonilla Gálvez writes in his World Sports Law Report article that back in 2005, conflict began in the world of Colombian football as professional players vowed to go on strike to demonstrate outrage against the lack of employment protection offered to them by Colombian legislation. As a result, the Ministry of Employment teamed up with the Colombian Football Federation, the Major Division of Colombian Football, and professional football clubs to introduce a bill that would properly protect and represent footballers. The Football Law Bill was intended to regulate and formalize the working relationships between professional footballers and the clubs employing them.

When footballers began to protest the bill in 2013, Colombian sports lawyers and employment activists alike saw this colombian-sports-lawyeropposition as a contradiction, given that they were to be the beneficiaries of the bill. Clubs typically sign contracts with professional sports players that infringe on the Colombian Constitution, undermining issues of social security payments, pensions, and more that ultimately make the athlete suffer.

Colombian football legislation has a long history of failed attempts at implementation and reform. And though the 2013 bill seemed to have the noblest intentions, issues such as maximum hours of labor and the right to resign employment deemed for footballers that would not ultimately provide them with adequate protection.

As a Colombian sports lawyer and labor specialist, Bonilla Gálvez recognizes employment as a fundamental right and social obligation that merits special protection from the state. He only hopes that the gap between Colombian legislation and the Substantive Labor Code can be filled to shield susceptible players through the creation of special regulations unique to the nature of professional sports.

Download the PDF below to read the full article by our Colombian sports lawyer on the need for a new legal framework in professional Colombian football:

Colombian Sports Lawyer: Football Needs a New Legal Framework