The month-long celebration of “the beautiful game” is all but upon us. Predictions of success, glory or indifference, or of a player having a Roy Keane moment, are hostages to fortune, but one thing is certain. Without an extraordinary amount of unsung and, at times, rather abstruse legal work, the Fifa World Cup would not be taking place.
Events of the stature of Germany 2006 are inconceivable in the absence of lawyers. There will be those who object to this statement, people who believe that it is businessmen and marketeers who bring about leading sporting festivals. Others prefer to ignore the lawyers and focus simply on the package of slickly delivered football, as if the players were all playing the game for sheer love, wholly free of the interplay of commerce and the law that is the lifeblood of modern football.
The truth, though, is rather different, and nowhere is this better illustrated than in the delicate matter of sponsorship.