How are sporting disputes settled in the United Kingdom?

Disputes can arise throughout the operation of sport and can take the form of disputes between a National Governing Body and a Member Club, disputes between a club and an individual player and even disputes in between a National Governing Body and an individual player.

Often the dispute will relate to certain sanctions that have been handed down in most cases to punish an individual or their clubs for certain conduct or will relate to payment issues between a club and an individual or an individual and the national governing body.

Independent arbitration

When disputes arise in particular sports it is often necessary that a settlement be reached through independent arbitration. This means that a final decision will be made in the case by a body which is independent from the sport which is binding on both parties.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport makes these decisions in relation to international sport but there is also an independent body which can make decisions in relation to issues which simply concern sport within the United Kingdom.

This body is called the Sports Dispute Resolution Panel.

Sports Dispute Resolution Panel  

The Sports Dispute Resolution Panel is an independent dispute resolution service available for sport in the United Kingdom. The Sports Dispute Resolution Panel is also referred to as Sport Resolutions.

What kind of services does Sport Resolutions offer?

Sports Resolutions offers the following services:

  • Arbitration

  • Mediation

  • Tribunal appointment

  • Administration services

National Anti-Doping Panel

Sport Resolutions is also the independent provider of the National Anti-Doping Panel (NADP) and Tribunal Service for sport in the United Kingdom.

Developing and Planning

Sports Resolutions continually develops and plans dispute resolution services in order for UK sport to continually attain high levels of conduct and fair play on and off the sports field.

Who brings disputes before Sport Resolutions?

Most of the enquiries and referrals made to Sport Resolutions are concerned with the high performance professional and Olympic and Paralympic sports in the UK.

Is access to Sport Resolutionssimply reserved for professional sport in the UK?

Access to Sports Resolutions is not simply reserved for professional sport in the UK with at least one quarter of the referrals before them coming from Community Sport in the UK. Often issues faced by and dealt with in the sphere of Community Sport do not require independent arbitration and are often settled before it needs to get to that stage.

How does Sport Resolution come to its decisions?

Sport Resolutions has an expert panel of mediators and arbitrators who are all leaders in the field of sports and who have a unique understanding of the UK sporting system and the variety of issues that it continues to face.

How does Sport Resolution step in to resolve a dispute or provide mediation?

In order for Sport Resolution to resolve a dispute, provide an opinion and get involved in any way into a particular case a referral must be made directly. For Sport Resolutions to accept a referral it must have legal jurisdiction in the form of consent to resolve the dispute. Accordingly this consent can be given in one of the following ways:

The rules of the sporting organisation involved in the dispute must allow for recourse to independent arbitration – in the form of Sport Resources or the Sports Dispute Resolution Panel

If the dispute is in relation to a contract or agreement, that contract or agreement must contain a clause referring disputes should they arise to the Sport Resolutions or the Sports Dispute Resolution Panel

The parties to the dispute agree in writing to submit the dispute to Sport Resolutions or the Sports Resolution Dispute Panel for arbitration / mediation


What is meant by Arbitration?

Arbitration is the procedure whereby the dispute is submitted by agreement of both parties to one or more arbitrators who will then make a binding decision on the dispute.

Private dispute resolution

In choosing arbitration both parties choose a private dispute resolution procedure instead of going to court.


Both parties must consent for arbitration to take place.

What are the main advantages of Arbitration?

The main advantages of Arbitration are as follows:

  • The composition of the tribunal

  • Privacy

  • Flexibility

  • Finality

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For more information on:

  • Composition of the Tribunal
  • Privacy
  • Flexibility
  • Finality
  • Mediation
  • What is meant by Mediation?
  • Is mediation binding on the parties involved?
  • What are the advantages of mediation?
  • Duration
  • Control
  • Settlement options
  • Without prejudice
  • National Anti-Doping Panel
  • What is the National Ant-Doping Panel?
  • What are the purposes of the National Ant-Doping Panel?
  • Are decisions of the National Anti-Doping Panel published?