Legal position of the Montenegrin sport system


Sport as a public service is vital for social and cultural development of a community, at all levels.  For that reason it is related with a wide range of policy-making and planning in the community such as health, social welfare, education, urban planning, conservation, arts and leisure.

As sports play a key role in society by contributing to the social cohesion, overcoming prejudice, its development must be supported and encouraged at all levels of society.[1]

Bearing in mind that sport plays an important role in the overall development of society and that it is therefore of public importance is often the subject of constitutional law.[1]

[1] Tettinger, P. Sport als Verfassungsthema, Juristen Zeitung, br. 22/2000.

The role of public authorities is crucial in facilitating and supporting the social function of sport for the equal benefits and access for all. Enabling both ways cooperation with the sport movement, public authorities should promote values and whole range of benefits from sport.[1] The role of public authorities could be complementary to various NGOs promoting healthy lifestyle and non formal education in so far as its main roles include definition and enforcement of the regulatory framework that guides development of sports and provision of funding for certain aspects of this development.

Responsibility of the public authorities in the field of sport is not, of course, the same at the national (state), regional and local level. This depend on the constitutional and legal system of each country, and in this respect in the world, there are significant differences. The focus of this paper is legal regulations/position of the sports system and will be observed from the highest legal position (Constitution) to Bylaws.

[1] Based on Article 3, The Sport Movement from the European Sport Charter.

[1] Authors agreed especially in economic and social segments for three reasons. First, sport is of strong cultural significance to most developed nations, which is demonstrated by the amount of media attention devoted to national team success and the support for the construction of major stadia and other sporting infrastructure with public funds. Second, sport is considered a resource that can be used to help deliver non-sport objectives, such as demonstrating political power, combating social exclusion, reducing childhood obesity, improving economic development and facilitating urban regeneration. Third, sport is multi-dimensional in that it is not only a public service, but also an important aspect of welfare provision and facet of economic activity. Thus, it can contribute in many ways to the achievement of government objectives outside of sport policy that is focused on instrumental aspects of sport, such as improving the performance of elite athletes and increasing participation in sport. Bergsgard, N. A., Houlihan, B., Mangset, P., N_dland, S. I., & Rommetvedt, H. (2007). Sport Policy: A comparative analysis of stability and change. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann.

Expression “State Law” is first used by Hegel’s approach that state is the only and independent power of the particular society.[1] As the highest regulatory form of any state, the Constitution is the foundation for the development of legal norms that regulate specific areas (i.e. sport). Long disputed Constitution of Former Socialist Yugoslavia from 1974 departed from the principle that citizens must provide the nurturing and development of personalities assuming an increased need for play, recreation, and other similar events. Furthermore, the community, especially the municipalities and labor organizations are required to care for the creation of conditions for the development of physical culture, rest and recreation.[2] Continuity and constitutional position is reflected in the legal regulation of sport from the adoption of the Montenegrin Constitution in 2007. Based on the Article 15, paragraph 1, from the Law on Procedure for the adoption and promulgation of the new Constitution of Montenegro (“SL RCG”, br. 66/06), in October 2007, The Constitution Assembly has decided promulgation of the new Montenegrin Constitution.[3] In the Article 77 of the Montenegrin Constitution, sport and physical culture are recognized as a part of “Science, Culture and Art” section:

”Montenegro is obliged to encourage and support education, science, culture, art, sport, physical and technical culture”

The Ministry of Education and Sports develops and implements sports policy and legislation. Legal framework and related national documents in the sport and sports related fields are based upon Law on Sports, Law on ratification of international convention against doping in sports[4], Law on violence prevention and misbehavior at sporting events[5], Law on public ski slopes[6], sport federation statutes (Montenegrin Olympic Committee,  47 National Sports Federations and all sports organizations).[7]


The Ministry is in charge of creation and development of the system of sports, National Sport Plan[8] and numerous bylaws in the sport related fields. There are no starting point regarding strategic goals of the National Sport Plan, having in mind absence of the relevant inputs, (important for this paper), level of the autonomy of the sport movement in Montenegro, implementation of international documents[9] and depoliticization of sport?[10]  So far, there had not been any academic or policy document that could be seen as a starting point in achieving goals mentioned.

For public interest, based on the Article. 12 of the Law on Sports, state of Montenegro along with city of Podgorica and other municipalities are responsible. Joint implementation of the public interest is conducting under the National Sport Plan and Local plans.[11]

For developing and governing specific sport is under specific national sport federation responsibility. Article. 58 of the Law on Sports stated following:

‘’National Sport Federations (NSF) coordinates the activities of its members; determines and organizes the competition system; register and keep records of members, athletes and other sports professionals; taking care about improving professional work and training of professionals, categorized and professional athletes; cooperate with authorities, organizations and institutions, carries out other tasks stipulated by the law and by-laws national sports federation.’’

NSF is responsible for implementation of competent sports rules adopted in accordance within international documents and the Montenegrin Law on Sports.[12]

Financial aspects are broadly defined through public interest section of the Law on Sports and by ad hoc decision of responsible public authority.[13] So far, there has not been any bylaw to adopt and implement criteria on one side, and VAT policy for sport funding. In practice, public funding of sport is done by Ministry of Education and Sports, Lottery fund and municipalities.[14]

Supervision of the sport movement or implementation of Law on Sports and bylaws is subordinate under Ministry of Education and Sports through the Inspector for sport[15], Arbitration Committee under Montenegrin Olympic Committee[16] and Arbitration Committee under NSF[17].Image

Concluding remarks

Involvement of the public authorities is necessary at the regulatory point of view in order to serve to the public interest by providing equal opportunities for exercising positive benefits from sport. Level of involvement depends of course of legal position of sport system in respective society. Andre-Noel Chaker study showed that there is no unique approach regarding legal position of sports system at the Pan-EU level. The White Paper on Sport acknowledged limits of EU cross national legal limitations and predicted to act where is necessary (sport as economic activity) on one hand and accepting self-regulating principles and own legal system of the global sport movement strengthening autonomy of sports organizations with establishment of the globally harmonized sports law. Foster suggested that global sports law may provisionally be defined as a transnational autonomous legal order created by the private global institutions that govern international sport. Its chief characteristics are first that it is a contractual order, with its binding force coming from agreements to submit to the authority and jurisdiction of international sporting federations, and second that it is not governed by national legal systems.[18]

From the legal point of view, sport movement in Montenegro is exercising a high level of autonomy, theoretically speaking. In practice, NSFs are in charge of specific sport, but NSFs are governmental institutions, not a NGOs or private organizations, which makes hard to exercise autonomous governing of sport from legal point of view. Current Law on Sports doesn’t address this issue. Paradoxically, NSFs are formed as unity of sport clubs, where other stake holders such as athletes, coaches, judges, doctors, etc are not involved in decision-making process (good governance example is Football Association of Montenegro[19]). Supervising bodies under Law on Sports are dealing only with implementation of law related measures, where there are no measures to cover other possible disputes. It is hard to imagine that disputes could be raised between different NSFs, where each NSF is responsible for specific sport.

On another matter, implementation of Law on Sports is incomplete having in mind absence of specific bylaws mentioned: Rule book on detailed conditions for acquiring the status of a top athlete; Regulation on the criteria for determining the amount of benefits for achieved sports scores; Regulation on criteria, methods and procedures of categorizing athletes; Regulation on detailed conditions, manner and procedure for obtaining licenses  for trainers and experts trained to work in the sport; Regulation on the criteria for declaring a meritorious sports workers; Regulation on conditions for fulfilling criteria for the delivery of sports activities; Regulations on keeping the Register, the procedure of the registration and deletion from the Register of sports organizations; Regulation on the mode of work of school sports associations; Regulation on determining medical examination of athletes; Regulation on the content, method and procedure of keeping records in the sport; Regulation on the content, management, preservation, maintenance and use of the data of the Central Registry of Sport;  Regulation on the manner and procedure for adoption of the annual plan, requirements, standards and criteria for the allocation and control of the implementation of the program.

At the financial aspect, absence of categorization of sport and funding criteria, are obstacles for reaching strategic goals from National Sport Plan. Majority of sport movement stakeholders are funded dominantly by state, and there are needs for developing and implementing specific measures of financial control. Secondly, level of support for grassroots activities, sport for all, and whole range of sport for development projects is negligible.[20]

Continuation of the socialist approach when it comes to the financing on the one hand and the high level of autonomy in regulating the specific sport and spending state funds by NSFs on the other hand, inevitable process of modernization of the sport system given the strategic orientation of Montenegro as a future member of the EU.

[1] Translated from: Đorđević, J., (1975). Ustavno Pravo, Savremena Administracija, Beograd, pp.6.

[2] Ibid., pp. 405.

[4] Off.  Gazette, No. 6/08

[5] Off.  Gazette, No. 027/07

[6] Off.  Gazette, No. 13/2007

[7] About Montenegrin Olympic Committee members and their statutes (only Montenegrin version available): (accessed on: 06 May, 2013).

[8] National Sport Plan (Montenegrin version only) from: (accessed on 06 May, 2013).

[9] For international documents is considered: The European Sport Charter, The European Code of Ethics, Olympic Charter, and numeruos convention and resoulution in sport related fields.

[10] Ibid., p. 15.

[11] Local plan need to meet strategic goals of National Sport Plan.

[12] Law on Sports, Off.  Gazette, No. 36/2011. July, 2011.

[13] Ibid., Article. 11 and Article. 87.

[14] Majority of funds (over 90%) is allocated for professional NSF and clubs (only Montenegrin version): (accessed on: 06 May, 2013).

[15] Articles. 91-95 from the Law on Sports, Off.  Gazette, No. 36/2011. July, 2011.

[16] Ibid., 96-97.  MOC Arbitration is in charge in the possible disputes between NSFs.

[17] Ibid., 96, (para. 2).

[18] Foster, K.,  Is There a Global Sports Law?, Entertainment Law, p. 2, Frank Cass, London. 2003

[19] See FA of Montenegro Statute (only Montenegrin version): (asserted on 07 May, 2013).

[20] Formal decision on funding of sport organizations in Montenegro (only Montenegrin version): (accessed on: 07 May, 2013).

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