Call for Abstracts | “How does Sport Repair Injustice (or not)?”, Special Issue of Sport, Ethics and Philosophy | Call ends February 1, 2024


Guest Editors:
    • Leslie A. Howe
    • Miroslav Imbrišević
(Shutterstock/Review News)

Fairness and justice are not the same, but there is some overlap between them. And the distinction between fairness and justice is useful to diagnose certain problems in sport. A game and its rules may be fair – in the sense that they apply equally to all competitors – but, nevertheless, there is sometimes a residue of injustice (or even a travesty of justice). And we also encounter this in the law: that’s why Aristotle wants equity to make up for the deficiencies in the law.

Aristotle points out that the rules are general, but each case before the law is particular. This may also apply in sport – but there is another problem: the remedial rules – i.e., the penalty rules – often, are not perfect. Papers dealing with such theoretical issues are welcome.

Another aspect of this special issue would be to look at rule violations – and assess how good the internal remedies – aiming at justice – of sport are (e.g., a re-start or re-run of a race, disqualification, etc.). Sometimes justice comes much later: the IOC adjusts the results and awards medals to victims of doping, sometimes it doesn’t come at all (all those female swimmers in the 70/80 who lost out to East German competitors are still waiting for justice). Sometimes the sports-internal remedies restore the victim fully, sometimes they make things better, and sometimes they may not restore the victim/athlete at all.

If the sports-internal procedures fail, sportsmanship, a sense of fair play, or what is considered the spirit of the game might provide redress (e.g. after a wrong refereeing decision the coach orders the team to let the other side score). We can view this as equity in action.

Some contributions might focus on a particular sport, a particular remedy within or across sports (e.g. disqualification), others will take a more general approach. Contributions from legal scholars or related fields are welcome.

Any other (sensible) aspects on this theme will be considered.


Please send an extended abstract of 1000-1500 words (with indicative bibliography) to Guest Editor Miroslav Imbrišević.

The deadline for abstracts is 1st February 2024.

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