The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) is an institution
independent of any sports organization which provides for
services in order to facilitate the settlement of
sports-related disputes through arbitration or mediation by
means of procedural rules adapted to the specific needs of
the sports world.
The CAS was created in 1984 and is placed under the
administrative and financial authority of the International
Council of Arbitration for Sport (ICAS).
The CAS has nearly 300 arbitrators from 87 countries,
chosen for their specialist knowledge of arbitration and
sports law. Around 300 cases are registered by the CAS every
The CAS has the task of resolving legal disputes in the
field of sport through arbitration. It does this pronouncing
arbitral awards that have the same enforceability as
judgments of ordinary courts.
It can also help parties solve their disputes on an amicable
basis through mediation, when this procedure is allowed. In
addition, the CAS gives advisory opinions concerning legal
questions related to sport.
Lastly, the CAS sets up non-permanent tribunals, which it
does for the Olympic Games, the Commonwealth Games or other
similar major events. To take into account the circumstances
of such events, special procedural rules are established on
Kinds of disputes:
Any disputes directly or indirectly linked to sport may be
submitted to the CAS. These may be disputes of a commercial
Any individual or legal entity with capacity to act may have
recourse to the services of the CAS. These include athletes,
clubs, and sports federations, organizers of sports events,
sponsors or television companies.
For a dispute to be submitted to arbitration by the CAS, the
parties must agree to this in writing. Such agreement may be
on a one-off basis or appear in a contract or the statutes
or regulations of a sports organization. Parties may agree
in advance to submit any future dispute to arbitration by
the CAS, or they can agree to have recourse to the CAS after
a dispute has arisen.
For disputes resulting from contractual relations or torts,
the ordinary arbitration procedure or the mediation
procedure is applicable.
For disputes resulting from decisions taken by the internal
bodies of sports organizations, the appeals arbitration
procedure is applicable.
Lastly, there is a consultation procedure which allows
certain organizations to request an advisory opinion from
the CAS, in the absence of any dispute, on any legal issue
concerning the practice or development of sport or any
activity relating to sport. The advisory opinion does not
constitute an award and is not binding.
How to set an arbitration dispute in CAS:
The party wishing to submit a dispute to the CAS must send
the CAS Court Office a request for arbitration (ordinary
procedure) or a statement of appeal (appeals procedure), the
contents of which are specified by the Code of
In the case of the appeals procedure, a party may lodge an
appeal only if it has exhausted all the internal remedies of
the sports organization concerned.
Chosen of the arbitrators:
Generally speaking, the arbitration is submitted to a panel
of three arbitrators.
Under the ordinary procedure, each party chooses one
arbitrator from the CAS list, then the two designated
arbitrators agree on who will be the president of the panel.
Failing such agreement, the President of the Ordinary
Arbitration Division makes this selection instead of the two
Under the appeals procedure, each party chooses an
arbitrator, and the president of the panel is selected by
the President of the Appeals Arbitration Division.
If the parties agree, or if the CAS deems this appropriate,
a sole arbitrator may be appointed, depending on the nature
and importance of the case.
The arbitrators must be independent, that is to say have no
particular connection with any of the parties, and must not
have played any role in the case in question.
Once the arbitration request or statement of appeal is
filed, the respondent submits a reply to the CAS.
After any additional exchange of statements of case, the
parties are summoned to a hearing to be heard, produce
evidence and argue their case.
The final award is communicated to the parties some weeks
later, unless it is pronounced the same day (under the
In the context of ordinary arbitration, the parties are
free to agree on the law applicable to the merits of the
dispute. Failing such agreement, Swiss law applies.
In the context of the appeals procedure, the arbitrators
rule on the basis of the regulations of the body concerned
by the appeal and, subsidiary, the law of the country in
which the body is domiciled. The procedure itself is
governed by the Code of Sports-related Arbitration.
The duration of arbitration:
The ordinary procedure lasts between 6 and 12 months.
For the appeals procedure, an award must be pronounced
within three months after the transfer of the file to the
In urgent cases and upon request, the CAS may, within a very
short time, order interim measures or suspend the execution
of a decision appealed against.