Lisbon to host EPFL General Assembly and High-level Conference on Protection of Sports IPR

Lisbon to host EPFL General Assembly and High-level Conference on Protection of Sports IPR 

Lisbon is about to become the world’s capital of Professional Sport. Under the initiative of the Association of European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL), the forefront of the professional sports industry is heading to Portugal’s capital city where a series of high-level events will take place on 14 and 15 March 2013.

The Chairmen and CEOs of the 29 largest and most influential European Leagues will be gathering in Lisbon, for the first time ever, for the meeting of the EPFL General Assembly, where the most critical challenges facing the game of football and the Leagues’ business models will be under the spotlight. The conclave, which shall be hosted by Liga Portugal, will take place on Friday 15 March 2013 (09:00 – 13:00) at the Sheraton Hotel and will be followed by a Press Conference, in the same venue, at 13:30.

The meeting of the European Leagues’ supreme body will be preceded by a top level International Conference on “Protection of Sports Intellectual Property Rights”, which counts with the institutional support of the Portuguese Government. This premium event will take place on the same venue, the day before, 14 March 2013 (09:00 – 17:00).

Senior representatives from over fifty international sports organisations, including EPFL, UEFA, FIFA, the Sports Rights Owners Coalition (SROC), The European Tour of Golf, the European Rugby League, International and European Olympic Committees and many other sport bodies, as well as senior representatives from the European Union institutions and Members States, World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM), French Online Gambling Regulatory Authority (ARJEL) and several other entities with responsibilities in this field will be sharing their views and expertise on the most critical threats affecting sports economic viability, such as illegal streaming of matches, digital piracy, counterfeiting, ticket touting and other detrimental practices that cannibalise sports organisers’rights and threat sports sustainable development and social function.

Referring to this series of high profile events, the EPFL CEO Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros, highlighted  “It’s the first time that the EPFL General Assembly will meet in Lisbon and a Conference of this this dimension and on this specific problematic will be held in Europe”. With regard to the Conference, he stressed: “Intellectual Property Rights are the main income source, not just of Professional Football, but the whole Sport. While promoting this debate and pushing for long-overdue legislative reforms, what drives us thus is the future of Sport. It’s the safeguard of its legitimate interests and economic viability, in order to be able to continue contributing to the fullest to the social well-being and economic development of countries and Europe itself”

On behalf of the Portuguese League, the President Mário Figueiredo stressed that: “Liga Portugal applauds the organization of this international conference on the protection of Intellectual Property rights. This is an issue of the utmost importance for our League and its clubs. The Intellectual Property rights related to clubs’image, badges, brands and names are not duly upheld in Portugal and the clubs are not receiving the revenue to which they are entitled. I therefore hope that this debate will stress the importance of defending our clubs’rights.”

At the end of the Conference, the EPFL will sign a Cooperation Agreement with Rex Sports. The partnership with this high-level Spanish based Sports Layers Association is aimed to further assist the EPFL Members and Associate Members in the fast changing sports legal framework at international level. Rex Sports is composed by top layers from all over the World as well as well-known sport arbitrators of the Court of Arbitration for Sports in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Rex Sport President José Juan Pintó stated: “It is a great honour for REX SPORT to cooperate with EPFL which is an example of what an Association has to be. First of all taking care of the legitimate interest of its members but at the same time making efforts in educating and providing knowledge to young people. In other words, working not only for today but also for the future.”

“The EPFL is proud to partner with such a prestigious and respected organization in Sports Law. This cooperation will bring added value to our Association supporting the continuous Leagues’ and Clubs’ legal challenges” concluded Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros.

Media wishing to attend the International Conference on Protection of Sports Intellectual Property Rights on 14 March 2013 and the Press Conference on 15 March 2013, at the Sheraton Hotel, in Lisbon, Portugal, are kindly requested to confirm their participation to the EPFL Administration:, by no later than Tuesday, 12 March 2013.

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