Matthew D. Kaiser is an emerging force in the sports law world. He first joined the Global Sports Advocates legal team in 2016 as an intern while a student in the International Sports Law Master’s program at the Instituto Superior de Derecho y Economía (ISDE) based in Madrid, Spain. Matt has been a full-time International sports attorney since 2017 and in that time has become an invaluable member of the Global Sports Advocates team.
A Few Examples of Matt's Success as an International Sports Attorney at GSA
International sports attorney Matt Kaiser finds his work protecting athletes’ rights to be truly rewarding and has been involved in a number of important victories on behalf of athletes:
- As lead counsel before the Lausanne, Switzerland-based Court of Arbitration for Sport, Matt successfully represented cyclist Aleksei Medvedev in his appeal against the Russian Anti-Doping Agency’s decision to ban him for two years. The sanction was reduced to six months, which saved Mr. Medvedev’s career.
- Matt achieved another major victory on behalf of tennis player Maksim Tikhomirov by convincing the International Tennis Federation to withdraw its case. Matt provided overwhelming evidence demonstrating that Mr. Tikhomirov did not commit an anti-doping rule violation as alleged. Mr. Tikhomirov faced a career-ending four-year ban from competition.
- Matt has had particular success in anti-doping cases involving retroactive Therapeutic Use Exemptions where he has enabled clients to avoid potential anti-doping rule violations by getting approval for the use of medically necessary substances.
- Matt traveled to the Republic of Moldova where he successfully provided counsel to the National Olympic and Sports Committee of Moldova in a governance dispute involving a member federation that sought to unfairly penalize several of the country’s top athletes.
- Matt successfully enabled an athlete to transfer from one federation to another, which allowed him to compete and medal at the Pan American Games.
Matt is a member of the Sports Resolutions and International Ice Hockey Federation pro bono panels. A leading voice on sports law issues, he frequently speaks at conferences around the world and has authored numerous articles.
Before becoming a sports attorney, Matt attended the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law and Villanova School of Business where he received a dual JD-MBA degree. He graduated magna cum laude and was a Student-Works Editor for the Villanova Law Review as well as a member of the Sports Law Club. Matt graduated summa cum laude from The College of William and Mary where he was the starting outfielder for the school’s club baseball team. He is admitted to practice in the State of New York.
Matt stays active by running, hiking, participating in various local sports leagues, and volunteering at the local animal shelter. He is conversationally fluent in Spanish and is currently learning French, as well as American Sign Language.
Areas of Practice
- Anti-doping violations
- Breach of contract
- Code of conduct violations
- Governance and sports regulation
- Right of publicity
- Team selection
Learn More About Our Experienced Sports Lawyer Matt Kaiser
When did you realize you wanted to get into sports law? Was it something you kind of always knew you wanted to do or something you didn’t discover until later in life?
I always knew I wanted to be in the sports world, but I really didn’t know in what capacity. Like all kids, you first think you can make it as a professional athlete, but as you get older, you realize just how hard it is to achieve that goal. I was always very dedicated to school and did well, so my focus quickly shifted to figuring out how I could work in the sports industry. I went to William & Mary to do marketing and hoped I could get a job in the marketing department for a team somewhere. Then my parents threw out the idea of working at the Commissioner’s office and I immediately clung onto that. We did research about what educational backgrounds the Commissioners and other C-suite individuals had, and many had gotten JDs, so my parents encouraged me to go to law school, which I did. While in law school at Villanova University, I took a public international law class, which I really liked. One thing led to another, and a professor reached out to me and told me about a Master’s program in Madrid that taught international sports law. I jumped on that opportunity and studied in Madrid my last semester as a 3L, which is where I met my current boss, Paul Greene, who offered me an internship. I’ve been working with him ever since.
Is there a particular area of sports law that you find most interesting?
I think it is all interesting because it is a self-contained and self-regulated area of law. The primary laws you are looking at were created by federations and organizations, which athletes have to adhere to, and you have to, as an athlete’s lawyer, come up with creative interpretations of the regulations in order to help your clients. This is all exciting to me.
What do you want people to know about sports law that may be misunderstood or that many people don’t know?
I always get asked the question if I am barred in other countries in order to do my job. The answer is no. As long as you are a lawyer in your own country, you can assist clients from all over the world in this area of law.
Did you grow up playing sports? Are you still able to get out and participate in any athletics at this stage in your life, and if so, which sports?
The real question is, what sports don’t I play. I grew up playing soccer and baseball, which I still play recreationally today, but I’ve branched out being in Maine where the weather is much cooler than I’ve grown up with for a much longer period of time. I’ve gotten into winter sports such as downhill skiing, snowshoe racing, curling, and then have still played the more “mainstream sports” like volleyball, softball, bowling, soccer and baseball. Some other sports I do are swim-run and trail races.
Do you have a favorite sport you like to watch / sports team(s)?
I grew up in northern New Jersey, so I have a lot of allegiance to New York teams: the New York Mets are probably my favorite team, followed by the New York Jets (though it is tough being such a fan in New England). Baseball is definitely my favorite sport to watch.
Where is your favorite place to Travel / where is the coolest place you’ve traveled to for work?
I’ve been lucky. My work has allowed me to see over 25 countries both for pleasure and business. The most exotic place I’ve traveled for work would undoubtedly be Azerbaijan. My favorite place to travel to when I can is Madrid. I love Spain. It’s culture, food, and sights are second-to-none.
Aside from sports, what are some of your hobbies?
I am not an artist by any means, but I do like to do glass blowing and make other hands-on art with various classes.
If you had the ability to time travel, what time period would you go back to and why?
1969 would be a great year to visit because both the Mets and Jets won their respective championships (they haven’t won any since I’ve been alive). But I think seeing the world back in the Jurassic period, so that I could see dinosaurs, would be really cool.
- 4th session of the AIAC’s International Sports Law Conference 2019, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
- ISLJ Annual International Sports Law Conference 2018, The Hague
- The Women’s National Soccer Team Loses Momentum in their Lawsuit with the United States Soccer Federation Experiences a Massive Overhaul (Football Legal, Issue #13 June 2020).
- How athletes’ rights can be better protected when it comes to retroactive Therapeutic Use Exemptions (The International Sports Law Journal, 2019)
- Coronavirus: The Impact of the Pandemic on Women’s Sports in the USA (Sports and Taxation, April 2020).
- Recent IOC Changes Should Guide the NCAA (ABA Young Lawyers Editorial, 2020)
- Gender discrimination impact on US sports – Parts One & Two (Global Sports Law & Taxation Report, December 2019, March 2020)
- Cuban Athletes in America: The Defection Dilemma (Football Legal, 2019)
- Finally Operating Within the Lines: The MLS Agrees to Enforce Training Compensation and Solidarity Payments (Football Legal, Issue #11 June 2019)
- S. Women’s National Soccer Team Strikes Again: WNT Sues USSF for Gender Discrimination Ahead of World Cup (Football Legal, Issue #11 June 2019)
- World Players Association’s Universal Declaration of Player Rights, LawInSport (2018)
- The current state of the U.S. when it comes to FIFA’s training compensation and solidarity mechanism fees (Football Legal, Issue #7 June 2017)
- Minors in Football in the U.S. (Football Legal, Issue #7 June 2017)
- Two US soccer teams file a claim before the CAS over MLS closed league system (World Sports Advocate, Issue #9, September 2017)
- Proposed anti-doping reforms in the wake of the Russia scandal (World Sports Advocate, 2016)
- Is Ryan Lochte’s Punishment Fair? (Sports Litigation Alert 2016)
He also published a case note in law school while on the Villanova Law Review: Sit…Stay…Now Beg for Me: A Look at the Courthouse Dogs Program and the Legal Standard Pennsylvania Should Use to Determine Whether a Dog Can Accompany a Child on the Witness Stand (60 Vill. L. Rev. 343).