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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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