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Law and Sports

/ 03:57 PM September 25, 2013

A thing which rarely happens is for a sport being played in another court- the court of law.

The relationship seems incongruous. The judicial system is meant to serve the more serious part of life. Sports is for fun, entertainment and is not supposed to be taken seriously, to the extent that resort to the courts is necessary.


It does not mean though that when a dispute arises and is not sufficiently resolved, that a court may not step in to serve as arbiter. Even a seemingly mundane activity as a basketball tournament gives rise to rights, prerogatives, discretion and yes, rules.

When a conflict ensues due to the violation of rights, the exercise of prerogatives and discretion in the implementation and interpretation of the rules, the oft repeated maxim “el fallo de juez es inappelable” will not apply.


It will take the expertise of the courts to resolve who is in the right.

There is no argument that the CESAFI has every right to set the rules of the game in the conduct of a tournament. So whether the rule is fair, reasonable and just, is beyond question.

All those who participate in the tournament are aware of the rules.

However, as to whether the rules or a particular rule has been correctly applied, is an entirely different matter. Even the maker of the rules does not have the discretion to interpret and apply as they wish.

That would be transgressing the law, and is clearly a grave abuse of discretion, which can be questioned by anybody whose rights have been affected.

There can also be a differing interpretation as to what the rule is, assuming that its import is not clear and is subject to several interpretations.

It is for the courts now to determine if there is a real dispute that would justify the exercise of the judicial function.


In issuing the temporary restraining order, the court has not exactly made such determination. It is merely making it certain that if the court will have to interfere, that the matter has not become moot and academic, because one of the parties has already proceeded on its own estimation of the dispute.

There are so many things at stake here.

The future of the athlete, although being young enough, he should be able to make-up for lost time. The indubitable authority of the CESAFI management. The loyalty of the basketball public in Cebu.

There is therefore a need to resolve this matter with finality, so that the kids can continue to play, the CESAFI will have basis for its application of its rules, and the basketball crazy Cebuanos can continue to have the great games that are being dished out by the participating teams.

As a last note, maybe to restore purity to sports, it is necessary to go back to the old maxim that “winning is not everything.”

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TAGS: CESAFI, column, Judicial System, opinion, temporary restraining order
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