Asser International Sports Law Blog

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The Asser International Sports Law Centre is part of the T.M.C. Asser Instituut

International and European Sports Law – Monthly Report – May 2017. By Tomáš Grell

Editor's note: This report compiles all relevant news, events and materials on International and European Sports Law based on the daily coverage provided on our twitter feed @Sportslaw_asser. You are invited to complete this survey via the comments section below, feel free to add links to important cases, documents and articles we might have overlooked.

The Headlines

The end of governance reforms at FIFA?

The main sports governance story that surfaced in the press (see here and here) during the last month is related to significant personal changes made by the FIFA Council within the organization’s institutional structure. In particular, the FIFA Council dismissed the heads of the investigatory (Mr Cornel Borbély) and adjudicatory (Mr Hans-Joachim Eckert) chambers of the Independent Ethics Committee, as well as the Head (Mr Miguel Maduro) of the Governance and Review Committee. The decision to remove Mr Maduro was taken arguably in response to his active role in barring Mr Vitaly Mutko, a Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, from sitting on the FIFA Council due to an imminent conflict of interests. These events constitute a major setback to governance reforms initiated by the football’s world governing body in 2015. For a more detailed insight into the governance reforms at FIFA, we invite you to read the recent blog written by our senior researcher Mr Antoine Duval.

The CAS award in Real Madrid CF v. FIFA

At the end of the month, the CAS finally published its award delivered in the arbitration procedure between the Spanish club Real Madrid CF and FIFA regarding the transfer of minor football players. Mr Michele Bernasconi, sitting as a Sole Arbitrator, partially upheld the appeal filed by Real Madrid CF against the decision rendered by the FIFA Appeal Committee on 8 April 2016. The Sole Arbitrator reduced the ban (registering new players both on a national and international level) imposed on the Spanish club by the FIFA Appeal Committee from two to one entire transfer period. Moreover, Real Madrid CF is now obliged to pay CHF 240,000 instead of the original fine amounting to CHF 360,000. 

UEFA incorporates human rights and anti-corruption criteria into bidding requirements

UEFA has recently made available the Bid Dossier Template for the 2024 European Championship that will be held either in Germany or Turkey. Amongst other things, the two remaining candidates shall describe in their bid dossiers a global strategy for integrating the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in order to protect, respect and fulfil universal human rights, including child rights and the rights of workers. On this occasion, UEFA President Mr Aleksander Čeferin stated that ‘it was imperative […] to introduce specific articles on the respect and protection of human rights in the bidding requirements for all our competitions.’ By incorporating human rights criteria into bidding requirements, UEFA joins the International Olympic Committee and FIFA in their efforts to tackle human rights abuses associated with mega sporting events.

The return of Claudia Pechstein: Bundesverfassungsgericht edition

Claudia Pechstein is back! For those who have already forgotten the case, this is a dispute involving a German Speed Skater and Olympic gold medallist challenging the validity of a CAS award imposing a doping ban (for greater detail see our previous blogs here and here, and the article by Antoine Duval and Ben van Rompuy). Nothing less than the survival of the CAS, at least as we know it, is at stake. While Claudia Pechstein lost in front of the Bundesgerichtshof, the decision was harshly criticized (here and here) and she decided to challenge the ruling in front of the German Bundesverfassungsgericht (constitutional court). Since last month, we know that the Bundesverfassungsgericht will hear and decide the claim, this as such is already a sign that the judges deem the case worthy of consideration and should be cause for concern for those wishing to keep the CAS as it currently is. The silver lining for CAS might be in the Bundesverfassungsgericht’s Solange jurisprudence, which could find a new expression in this peculiar context (as suggested here), it would preserve the CAS’s existence while forcing it to change.

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The Olympic Games and Human Rights – Part II: Human Rights Obligations Added to the Host City Contract: Turning Point or Empty Promise? – By Tomáš Grell


This is a follow-up contribution to my previous blog on human rights implications of the Olympic Games published last week. Together with highlighting some of the most serious Olympic Games-related human rights abuses, the first part has outlined the key elements of the Host City Contract ('HCC') as one of the main legal instruments regulating the execution of the Olympic Games. It has also indicated that, in February 2017, the International Olympic Committee ('IOC') revised the 2024 HCC to include, inter alia, explicit human rights obligations. Without questioning the potential significance of inserting human rights obligations to the 2024 HCC, this second part will refer to a number of outstanding issues requiring clarification in order to ensure that these newly-added human rights obligations are translated from paper to actual practice. More...


The Olympic Games and Human Rights – Part I: Introduction to the Host City Contract – By Tomáš Grell

Editor’s note: Tomáš Grell is currently an LL.M. student in Public International Law at Leiden University. He contributes to the work of the ASSER International Sports Law Centre as a part-time intern.


In its press release of 28 February 2017, the International Olympic Committee ('IOC') communicated that, as part of the implementation of Olympic Agenda 2020 ('Agenda 2020'), it is making specific changes to the 2024 Host City Contract with regard to human rights, anti-corruption and sustainable development. On this occasion, IOC President Thomas Bach stated that ''this latest step is another reflection of the IOC's commitment to embedding the fundamental values of Olympism in all aspects of the Olympic Games''. Although the Host City of the 2024 Summer Olympic Games is scheduled to be announced only in September this year, it is now clear that, be it either Los Angeles or Paris (as Budapest has recently withdrawn its bid), it will have to abide by an additional set of human rights obligations.

This two-part blog will take a closer look at the execution of the Olympic Games from a human rights perspective. The first part will address the most serious human rights abuses that reportedly took place in connection with some of the previous editions of the Olympic Games. It will also outline the key characteristics of the Host City Contract ('HCC') as one of the main legal instruments relating to the execution of the Olympic Games. The second part will shed light on the human rights provisions that have been recently added to the 2024 HCC and it will seek to examine how, if at all, these newly-added human rights obligations could be reflected in practice. For the sake of clarity, it should be noted that the present blog will not focus on the provisions concerning anti-corruption that have been introduced to the 2024 HCC together with the abovementioned human rights provisions. More...