Court of Arbitration for Sport

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The entrance of the headqarters of the Court of Arbitration for Sport, in Lausanne (Switzerland).
The headquarters of the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS; French: Tribunal arbitral du sport, TAS) is an international quasi-judicial body established to settle disputes related to sport. Its headquarters are in Lausanne (Switzerland) and its courts are located in New York, Sydney and Lausanne. Temporary courts are established in current Olympic host cities.

Jurisdiction and appeals[edit]

Generally speaking, a dispute may be submitted to the CAS only if there is an arbitration agreement between the parties which specifies recourse to the CAS. According to rule 61 of the Olympic Charter, all disputes in connection with the Olympic Games can only be submitted to CAS.[1]

All Olympic International Federations have recognised the jurisdiction of CAS for at least some disputes.[2]

Through compliance with the 2009 World Anti-Doping Code, all signatories, including all Olympic International Federations and National Olympic Committees, have recognised the jurisdiction of CAS for anti-doping rule violations.[1][3][4]

Decisions of CAS can be appealed to the Swiss Federal Tribunal.[5] Appeals of CAS decisions are rarely successful, and generally limited to procedural matters, the sole exceptions being appeals on the grounds that "the award is incompatible with public policy". As of March 2012 there have been seven successful appeals. Six of the upheld appeals were procedural in nature, and only once has the Swiss Federal Tribunal overruled a CAS decision on the merits of the case. This was in the case of Matuzalém, a Brazilian football player.[6]

History[edit]

With the intermixing of sports and politics, the body was originally conceived by International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Juan Antonio Samaranch to deal with disputes arising during the Olympics. It was established as part of the IOC in 1984.

In 1994, a case decided by the CAS was appealed to the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland, challenging CAS impartiality. The Swiss court ruled that the CAS was a true court of arbitration but drew attention to the numerous links between the CAS and the IOC.

In response, the CAS underwent reforms to make itself more independent of the IOC, both organizationally and financially. The biggest change resulting from this reform was the creation of an "International Council of Arbitration for Sport" (ICAS) to look after the running and financing of the CAS, thereby taking the place of the IOC. As of 2004, most recent cases that were considered by the CAS dealt with transfer disputes within professional association football or with doping.

Jurisprudence[edit]

In November 2009 CAS decided its first case on athlete biological passports, when it upheld the two-year suspension of skater Claudia Pechstein. In March 2011 the court suspended two Italian cyclists, Franco Pellizotti and Pietro Caucchioli, for two years based on evidence from their blood profiles.[7]

In October 2011, in a case affecting the 2012 Summer Olympics, the court declared that a part of the Olympic Charter violated the World Anti-doping Code. The Osaka rule prevented athletes suspended for at least six months for anti-doping rule violations from competing at the Olympic Games following the suspension's expiration. The court later re-affirmed this decision, when it struck down a long-standing by-law of the British Olympic Association preventing the selection of athletes sanctioned for doping.[8] Both the IOC and BOA have responded by campaigning for adding a similar rule at the next update of the Code, which will be in effect by the 2016 Summer Olympics.

The court is reluctant to overturn field of play decisions, though it may do so in cases where there is clear evidence that the officials acted in bad faith.[9]

The court ruled in 2006 that Gibraltar had valid grounds for its application to join UEFA, forcing the organisation to hand it provisional membership. At the next UEFA Congress, however, Gibraltar was overwhelmingly rejected in a vote, due to lobbying from Spain, in defiance of the CAS ruling.[10] In 2010 the Irish Football Association (the association of Northern Ireland) took its case to CAS after FIFA failed to prevent the Football Association of Ireland (the association of the Republic of Ireland) from selecting Northern-Irish-born players who had no blood link to the Republic.[11] The CAS ruled in favour of the FAI and FIFA by confirming that they were correctly applying the regulations.[12]

References[edit]

External links[edit]