Asser International Sports Law Blog

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

International and European Sports Law – Monthly Report – August 2016. By Kester Mekenkamp.

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

For the world of Sport, the elsewhere known “sleepy month” of August turned out to be the total opposite. Having only just recuperated from this year’s Tour de France, including a spectacular uphill sprint on bicycle shoes by later ‘Yellow Jersey’ winner Chris Froome, August brought another feast of marvellous sport (and subsequent legal drama): The 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

The Olympic Games

Amongst those athletes that stood out in Rio were, of course, the “most decorated Olympian of all time” Michael Phelps and the “fastest man on earth” Usain Bolt. However, standing out can also happen for the wrong reasons. One sad example of this is the downfall of former “Lord of the Rings”, gymnast Yuri van Gelder. The Dutchman reached the Olympic finals for the rings, but was sent home by the Dutch National Olympic Committee after a night out in Rio de Janeiro. He subsequently unsuccessfully launched legal proceedings before a Dutch court in an attempt to reclaim his place in the finals. For an in depth legal analysis of the case see the blog by Guido Hahn.

Yet, the Van Gelder case is certainly not THE legal highlight of the Rio Games. In this regard, the CAS ad hoc Division (for a good overview of the procedure at the division, click here) was the court to watch in Rio. The CAS Ad Hoc Division was installed to resolve legal disputes arising during the Olympic Games. These disputes can relate to, for instance, matters of qualification, disciplinary sanctions or doping (on appeal). During the three weeks of the Games, it dealt with a caseload of 26 cases, 16 of which were linked with the Russian doping scandal. For the first time, a CAS anti-doping division was also active in Rio (with a caseload of 8 cases). The CAS Anti-doping Division, was aimed specifically at resolving doping cases. Through this office, the CAS handles (potential) doping cases in first instance. It can organize hearings of the parties concerned and impose provisional suspensions pending the conclusion of the procedure. The final decisions could be appealed before the CAS ad hoc Division or the CAS in Lausanne after the Olympic Games have ended. The links to all the published Rio awards can be found below under case law. 

Much controversy arose during the Games regarding the debate over the divide between male and female athletes. In the centre of attention stood South African runner Caster Semenya and Indian track-and-field athlete Dutee Chand. Both are at the centre of an on-going medical, ethical and legal discussion about the policies regulating hyperandrogenism in sport. Our blog hosted two posts on the matter one by Marjolaine Viret and Emily Wisnosky on “Regulating the human body in sports: Lessons learned from the Dutee Chand case” and a more personal point of view by Marjolaine Viret, “Why we should stop focusing on Caster Semenya”.

Finally, this Olympic summer of legal disputes would not be complete without a brief discussion of the Paralympics ban of the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC). Indeed, this week marked the kick-off of the Paralympic Games, which will take place from 7 to 18 September. Exactly a month before the start of the games, on 7 August, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Governing Board decided unanimously to suspend the RPC with immediate effect. In a statement on its website the IPC explained that it regarded the RPC unable to “fulfil its IPC membership responsibilities and obligations”, in particular those under the IPC and WADA doping rules. On 30 August the CAS delivered a much-expected award in which it dismissed the appeal by the RPC and confirmed the decision rendered by the Governing Board of the IPC. In particular, the CAS Panel found that the ban did not violate procedural rules and amounted to a proportionate measures considering the circumstances.

Case law


Dutch court

Rechtbank Gelderland, Van Gelder, 12 August 2016, C/05/306681 / KG ZA 16-347  

CAS awards of the CAS ad hoc Division

CAS awards of the CAS anti-doping Division

Swiss Federal Tribunal

IOC sanctions for doping violations at 2008-2012 Games


 Official documents and Press releases

 In the news




Olympic and Paralympic Games


Academic materials



Upcoming events

16 September - The future of the ‘legal autonomy’ of sport, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK

26 September - Soccerex - Global Convention 2016, Manchester, UK

4 October – Demi-Journee Cedidac 2016 en Droit du Sport, Lausanne, Switzerland


Save the Date!

28 October – ‘The Wilhelmshaven case: Challenging FIFA and the CAS’, FBO, Zeist, the Netherlands


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