The Court of Arbitration for Sport

The Court of Arbitration for Sport is seemingly mentioned increasingly in relation to high profile sporting cases and is something which seems to get a lot of journalistic print when discussing punishments and penalties handed down right across the worldwide sporting world.

This article provides the basics of what needs to be known about the Court of Arbitration for Sport or the CAS as it is more often known.

What is the Court of Arbitration for Sport?

The Court of Arbitration for Sport is a body or institution which is independent of any sporting body or organisation meaning that it has no connection to any of the large sporting governing bodies such as FIFA or the Rugby Football Union (RFU).

It was first created in 1984 and in relation to the administrative and financial side it is placed under the authority of the International Council of Arbitration for Sport (ICAS).

What is the primary function of the Court of Arbitration for Sport?

The primary function of the CAS is to provide services in order to facilitate the settlement of sports related disputes either through arbitration or through mediation.

The case undertakes this function trough the establishment of procedural rules which have been adapted to fit in with the specific needs of the sports world.

Advisory Opinions

In addition to this the CAS often gives advisory opinions concerning various legal questions which are of particular relevance to sport.

Non-Permanent Tribunals

The CAS also sets up non-permanent tribunals at major sporting events such as the Olympic Games and the Commonwealth Games. The purpose of these non-permanent tribunals is to initiate proceedings concerned specifically with those events and also taking into account the circumstances of each of those particular events establishing special procedural rules specific to that event.

Where is the Court of Arbitration for Sport based?

The CAS has its headquarters in Geneva (Switzerland) and also has courts in both Denver (USA) and Sydney (Australia).

What kinds of dispute does the Court of Arbitration for Sport preside over?

The CAS deals with any sports related disputes which are submitted to it. Thus the scope of the cases presented in front of the CAS can be extremely wide ranging and being anything from commercial disputes in relation to sponsorship agreements or contractual provisions in a sporting persons contract to such issues as doping faced by individual athletes and sportsmen.

Sanctions handed down by worldwide governing bodies to their members are often also challenged in front of the CAS, such as a football club being handed a transfer ban by the worldwide governing body of football – FIFA.

In order for a body to be able to bring a dispute in front of the CAS that body must be an individual or a legal entity with capacity to act and which is involved in the sporting context. This is a wide ranging definition meaning that the following body’s and individuals may apply to the CAS to settle a sporting dispute:

  • Individual athletes

  • Clubs

  • Sports Federations

  • The organising committee’s behind sporting events

  • Sponsors of sporting events and sporting federations

  • Television companies who own or who wish to own the rights to certain sporting contexts

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For more information on:

  • Agreement in Writing
  • Does this agreement have to be prior to a dispute arising?
  • What procedures does the Court of Arbitration for Sport have in place to settle disputes?
  • What Law is applied by the Court of Arbitration for Sport?
  • Can either of the parties involved appeal a decision which has been handed down by the Court of Arbitration for Sport?