Professional Sports and Contracts Entered into by Minors: A Research Report

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While the realm of professional sports is comprised primarily of adults playing a child's game under the strict oversight of governing bodies, which again are the home of a wholly adult population, the fact remains that most sporting organisations around the world enter into contractual agreements with minors in some facet or another. Often these arrangements are tenuous at best because of the long standing legal precedent which holds that minors, typically those persons under the age of 18, lack the capacity to enter into any legally binding contract and can void the terms of pact at any time until the age of legal majority is attained. Nonetheless, worldwide sporting organisations governing all variety of sports, including tennis (the Association of Tennis Professionals), baseball (Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball), and basketball (Chinese Basketball Association), continue to sign the most promising prospects available ever earlier in their lives. In 2000 international football powerhouse F.C. Barcelona, under the auspices of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), famously signed Argentinean sensation Lionel Messi to a contract when the youth was only 13 years of age. The astounding success enjoyed by both Messi and F.C. Barcelona since his childhood contract demonstrates that sporting organizations with the wherewithal to enter into contracts with minors can do so effectively, provided both parties act in good faith.

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