SportWorks ANSWERS: bringing your sports business to Switzerland – A review

The legal landscape is never an easy one to navigate. Especially in a foreign country when you’re not aware of the laws, the special conditions, and everything else associated with it. For this reason, we tapped on the expertise of lawyers Hugh Reeves (from Walder Wyss) and Nicolas Krauer (from Nexus Avocats) to bring to you all the things you need to know before setting up your sports business in Switzerland.

With the participants picking the minds of the two lawyers, our SportWorks ANSWERS: bringing your sports business to Switzerland witnessed discussions around four primary topics: the Swiss legal framework and culture; financing a business in Switzerland; work permits; and doing business on the internet (in Switzerland).

These four topics cover key bases of running a business, given the varying conditions that the country can offer. For example, the International Olympic Committee and other Federations have been successful in negotiating separate conditions for themselves, while the same might not apply to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The “legal framework”, began Hugh, is “based on a civil code, which means that the laws are well codified and are available for everyone to see.” This makes Switzerland an interesting case, where the legal landscape is extremely accessible. But despite the accessibility, complications can arise. As Hugh stated, “interactions can be smooth in some cantons, but can be really heavy as well in the others”, related to things ranging from taxes to work permits.

Before opening a business, one needs to account for these varying interactions, and get proper legal advice on the same. And when compared to the EU, contract laws and regulation are different as well, which makes it even more important to compare those differences.

Keeping this in mind, Nicolas advises asking a few questions to yourself if you’re planning to set up a sports business here. Questions such as “what kind of a business do you want to set up here?” and “what is the main purpose?” These questions can help you define the structure and modalities – offering a great range of possibilities and flexibility. For example, “some early-stage companies can get financial help from the government” but that depends on the kind of profit and structure your business has, Nicolas continued.

The two ideas presented by Nicolas – a specialist in corporate and commercial law – and Hugh – a specialist in new technology and intellectual property – were followed by interesting questions from the audience.

The audience questions revolved around three topics: self-employment; intellectual property and broadcasting; and hiring employees from abroad. The audience went into depth with the content of the presentation and were able to dissect the two legal brains for all their knowledge. The questions, spread throughout the presentation were followed by private online sessions, with Nicolas and Hugh addressing individual queries. Those queries have been kept confidential for legal reasons.

The SportWorks ANSWERS was an opportunity for the industry and our community to not only further their understanding of the legal landscape in Switzerland, but also get help with the challenges they have faced and been facing with bringing their business here. If you wish to watch the great discussions of these SportWorks ANSWERS, we invite you to watch the event recording – you only need to register for a video replay, in case you did not register for the event. You can also participate in our discussion forum to keep the conversation going and connect with other attendees of the event. 

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