Violence in sport. A research into the topic of its legal ground and the criminal relevance of the acts performed within the sports game

  • Cristian Cupșe Faculty of Law, Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca
Keywords: sports violence, sporting activities, criminal implications of sports, social adequacy, violence as part of the game


Sports games have become significant activities within numerous communities, both from a social and cultural perspective, managing to reach the status of a phenomenon that manifests itself in various areas of the society, such as psychological, financial or even educational sides. Undergoing a continuous growth amongst different social activities, sports have attracted in time a large number of members that found, in consequences, a new manner to express themselves in the middle of their community, including both subjects who engage in the actual practice of the game or those who solely witness from the stands its performance. Thus, sports games have been providing some sort of mutual entertainment that persuaded society to label as “normal”, “specific”, “natural”, “innate” every physical risk that would materialize during the game, regardless of the factual circumstances; for this main reason, criminal law avoided until recently to analyse the topic with its particular tools.

Taking into firm consideration that no activity should totally and discretionarily derogate from the legal provisions, the aim of this article is to issue the correct perspective from which the violence that occurs during sporting activities should be legally considered. The theoretical basis of such violence has been perpetually debated by the criminal legal literature, which provided many options that were focused on substantiating this behaviour in the criminal law spectrum. Moreover, both case law and legal literature were facing a troublesome situation in the attempt to differentiate between violence that should be considered a specific part of the game and violence that can be categorized as potential criminal/antisocial behaviour. These two aforementioned aspects will compose the main chapters of the following study that, as it will become apparent, advocates for the German doctrine proposal known as “social adequacy” as the legal ground of sports violence (included in the larger area of objective imputation theory), respectively for a two-stages examination of the given act of violence in sports that will provide the problem with its more appropriate solutions.