The Strategic Foul and Contract Law: Efficient Breach in Sports?

Fair Play 12:69-99 (2018)
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The debate about the Strategic Foul has been rumbling on for several decades and it has predominantly been fought on moral grounds. The defenders claim that the rules of a game must be supplemented by the ‘ethos’ of the game, by its conventions or informal rules. Critics of the Strategic Foul argue that to break the rules deliberately, in order to gain an advantage, is morally wrong, spoils the game, or is a form of cheating. Rather than entering the moral maze I will argue that the Strategic Foul rests on a conceptual mistake. I will contrast the Strategic Foul with the idea of Efficient Breach in the economic approach to law in order to bring out some of the salient features. While doing so I will attempt some cross-fertilisation between jurisprudential insights and philosophical reflection on game rules. Finally, I will re-cast Searle’s distinction between constitutive and regulative rules in order to bring out the conceptual mistake more clearly.



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Miroslav Imbrisevic
Open University (UK)

References found in this work

Speech Acts: An Essay in the Philosophy of Language.William P. Alston - 1970 - Philosophical Quarterly 20 (79):172-179.
Speech Acts.J. Searle - 1969 - Foundations of Language 11 (3):433-446.

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