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
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
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
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.
Sports Law Related Decisions
Official Documents and Press Releases
In the news
Asser International Sports Law Blog
Law in Sport
June – Sport & EU 12th Annual Conference, Molde University College, Molde, Norway
August-1 September – EU Sports Law and Policy Summer School, Business and Law Building, Edge Hill University,
Ormskirk, the United Kingdom
October – ISLJ Annual Conference on International Sports Law, T.M.C. Asser Institute, The Hague, the Netherlands (Registration is now open here!)
November – Play the Game 2017: Riding Waves of Change, Eindhoven, the Netherlands
Since yesterday FIFA is back in turmoil (see here
after the FIFA Council decided
to dismiss the heads of the investigatory (Cornel Borbély) and adjudicatory
(Hans-Joachim Eckert) chambers of the Independent
Ethics Committee, as well as the Head (Miguel Maduro) of the Governance
and Review Committee. It is a disturbing twist to a long reform process (on
the early years see our blogs here
that was only starting to produce some tangible results. More...
Editor’s Note: Saverio
Spera is an Italian lawyer and LL.M. graduate in International Business Law from
King’s College London. He is currently an intern at the ASSER International
Sports Law Centre.
is ripe to take a closer look at the CAS and its transparency, as this is one
of the ways to ensure its public accountability and its legitimacy. From 1986
to 2013, the number of arbitrations submitted to the CAS has grown from 2 to more
than 400 a year. More specifically, the number of appeals submitted almost doubled
in less than ten years (from 175 in 2006, to 349 in 2013).
Therefore, the Court can be considered the judicial apex of an emerging transnational
sports law (or lex sportiva).
In turn, the increased authority and power of this institution calls for
increased transparency, in order to ensure its legitimacy.
Editor's note: Marine Montejo is a graduate from the College of Europe in Bruges and
is currently an intern at the ASSER International Sports Law Centre.
On 3 June
2015, Sepp Blatter resigned as President of FIFA after another corruption scandal inside the world’s football
governing body was brought to light by the American authorities supported by
the Swiss prosecutor office. Two months after Michel Platini announced he would be a candidate for
the next FIFA Presidential election, on 25 September 2015, the Swiss prosecutor
opened an investigation against S.
Blatter on an alleged disloyal payment he authorised to M. Platini. On 8
October 2015, the FIFA Ethics Committee announced both of them were provisionally
suspended upon their hearings, a suspension that was later confirmed by CAS. In the end, M.
Platini was sanctioned with an eight years ban from
all football activities, later reduced to a six years ban by FIFA
Appeal Commission on 24 February 2016. In the meantime, he withdrew his candidacy to become the
next FIFA President. On 9 May 2016, after M. Platini appealed this sanction, the CAS confirmed the suspension but reduced it
to four years, leading to his resignation from the UEFA presidency and the
announcement of his intention to challenge the CAS award in front of the Swiss
September, the CAS finally published the full text of the award in the dispute between M.
Platini and FIFA. The award is in French as M. Platini requested that the
procedure be conducted in that language. You will find below a summary of the ‘highlights’
of the 63-page decision. More...
Editor's Note: Ryan is Assistant Professor at Thompson Rivers University, he defended his PhD at Erasmus University Rotterdam in December 2015. His dissertation examined human rights violations caused by international sporting events, and how international sporting organisations may be held accountable for these violations.
On Sunday, August
21, the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro will end. The spotlight
will dim not only on the athletes who return to their home countries to ply their
trade in relative obscurity, but also on the country of Brazil.
Once the Games have ended, life will go ‘back to normal’, although for many
residents of Rio de Janeiro, what is ‘normal’ is anything but. More...
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.
Marine Montejo is a graduate from the College of
Europe in Bruges and is currently an Intern at the ASSER International Sports
The Belgian Court of Appeal released its
judgment this month regarding Doyen’s legal battle against the FIFA TPO ban.
The Appeal Court confirmed the first instance decision and ruled out any provisional
measures to block the ban’s implementation (for an in depth review, see
our blog post). More importantly, the Court
reaffirmed that Swiss based sport federations are liable in front of EU Members’
States courts when EU competition law is involved. That means the next
important step for this legal battle is whether or not the European Commission
is going to open a formal proceeding (Doyen
already lodged a complaint) to assess the compatibility,
and more importantly, the proportionality of the TPO ban with EU law. Only a
preliminary ruling by the CJEU could hasten the decision if one of the European
national courts, hearing a case brought by Doyen (France or Belgium), decided
to refer a preliminary question.More...
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 eagerly awaited FIFA Presidential elections of 26 February provided
for a “new face” at the pinnacle of international football for the first time
since 1998. One could argue whether Infantino is the man capable
of bringing about the reform FIFA so desperately needs or whether he is simply
a younger version of his predecessor Blatter. More...
García joined the School of Sport, Health and Exercise Sciences at Loughbourough University in January
2009 as a Lecturer in Sport Management and Policy. He holds a PhD in Politics,
International Relations and European Studies from Loughborough University
(United Kingdom), where he completed his thesis titled ‘The European Union and
the Governance of Football: A game of levels and agendas’.
this leafy and relatively mild autumn, we are celebrating two important
anniversaries. Recently, we just passed ‘Back to the Future day’, marking the
arrival of Marty McFly to 2015. In a few weeks, we will be commemorating the
20th anniversary of the Bosman ruling. Difficult to decide which
one of the two is more important. As we move well into the 21st century’s
second decade, these two dates should mark a moment to consider innovation.
They are perhaps occasions to take stock and reflect how much sport has evolved
to reach this new future… or not. More...
Gesa Kuebek holds an LLM and graduated from the University of Bologna, Gent and Hamburg as part of the Erasmus Mundus Master Programme in Law and Economics and now work as an intern for the Asser Instituut.
On Monday, 9 November,
the German Football Association (DFB) announced in a Press Release the
resignation of its head, Wolfgang Niersbach, over the 2006 World Cup
Affair. In his statement, Niersbach argued that he had “no
knowledge whatsoever” about any “payments flows” and is now being confronted
with proceedings in which he was “never involved”. However, he is now forced to
draw the “political consequences” from the situation. His resignation occurred
against the backdrop of last week’s raid of the DFB’s Frankfurt headquarters
and the private homes Niersbach, his predecessor Theo Zwanziger and
long-standing DFB general secretary Horst R. Schmidt. The public prosecutor’s
office investigates a particularly
severe act of tax evasion linked to awarding the 2006 World
Cup. The 2006 German “summer fairy-tale” came under pressure in mid-October
2015, after the German magazine “Der Spiegel”
shocked Fußballdeutschland by
claiming that it had seen concrete evidence proving that a €6.7 million loan,
designated by the FIFA for a “cultural programme”, ended up on the account of
Adidas CEO Robert-Louis Dreyfuß. The magazine further argued that the money was
in fact a secret loan that was paid back to Dreyfuß. Allegedly, the loan was
kept off the books intentionally in order to be used as bribes to win the 2006
World Cup bid. The public prosecutor now suspects the DFB of failing to
register the payment in tax returns. German FA officials admit that the DFB
made a “mistake” but deny all allegations of vote buying. However, the current
investigations show that the issues at stakes remain far from clear, leaving
many questions regarding the awarding of the 2006 World Cup unanswered.
The present blog
post aims to shed a light on the matter by synthetizing what we do know about
the 2006 World Cup Affair and by highlighting the legal grounds on which the
German authorities investigate the tax evasion. More...
Day 1: The impact of the revised World Anti-Doping Code on the work of National Anti-Doping Agencies
Day 2: The “Athlete Patient” and the 2015 World Anti-Doping Code: Competing Under Medical Treatment
Day 3: Proof of intent (or lack thereof) under the 2015 World Anti-Doping Code
Day 4: Ensuring proportionate sanctions under the 2015 World Anti-Doping Code
1 January, a new version of the World Anti-Doping Code (WADC or Code) entered
into force. This blog symposium aims at taking stock of this development and at
offering a preliminary analysis of the key legal changes introduced. The
present blog will put the WADC into a more general historical and political
context. It aims to briefly retrace the emergence of the World Anti-Doping
Agency (WADA) and its Code. It will also reconstruct the legislative process
that led to the adoption of the WADC 2015 and introduce the various
contributions to the blog symposium.More...