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 – May 2016. By Marine Montejo

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

Challenged membership put a lot of emphasis on football federations in May. The Court of Arbitration for Sport (“CAS”) has rendered an award, on 27 April 2016, ordering the FIFA Council to submit the application of the Gibraltar Football Association (GFA) for FIFA membership to the FIFA Congress (the body authorised to admit new members to FIFA). The GFA has sought since 1999 to become a member of UEFA and FIFA. In May 2013, it became a member of the UEFA and went on to seek membership of FIFA. The latter refused to submit the application to its Congress as the conditions for it were (allegedly) not met. The GFA filed an appeal to this decision to CAS which also ordered that the FIFA Congress take all necessary measures to admit the GFA as a full member of FIFA as soon as possible and within the limits of the FIFA Statutes, as it does not have the power to directly award it with FIFA membership. FIFA discussed the matter during its 66th Congress on 12&13 May and finally granted it with  membership, along with Kosovo. Gibraltar had to face an opposition from Spain due to its long-standing dispute over the status of its territory. On another front, following the decision of the UEFA Congress on May 3 to integrate the football federation of Kosovo, the Football Association of Serbia (FSS) has filed an appeal with CAS against the Kosovar membership. UEFA is already looking to integrate Gibraltar and Kosovo to its 2018 World Cup qualification tournament. Kosovo is a self-proclaimed state and not a member of the United Nations. Its national Olympic committee became a full member of the International Olympic Committee in 2014 and is recognized by a number of international sports federations.

The ongoing legal battle between FIBA/FIBA Europe and Euroleague Commercial Assets (“ECA”) is firing around Europe. This time, the Spanish Higher Council for Sports (“Consejo Superior de Deportes” – “CSD”) annulled the agreement between the Spanish basketball league (“ACB”) and the Euroleague because it breaches the rules of the Spanish national basketball federation (“FEB”). Such an agreement is an infringement of the federation jurisdiction to decide on the participation of Spanish basketball clubs to international competitions. The Spanish national team was under the threat of being withdrawing of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and the 2017 EuroBasket by the international federation (“FIBA”) and the European federation (“FIBA Europe”) because of the participation of Spanish professional basketball clubs to the Euroleague. FIBA is battling with Euroleague to impose its own European competition, the Basketball Champions League (recent update on the ongoing disagreements between the two can be found here).

The Spanish competition authority (“CNMC”) published its report on the audiovisual rights’ selling conditions for the Spanish football first and second leagues (“La Liga” and “Segunda División”) and national cup (“Copa del Rey”) until 2019. In April 2015, joint selling of the national football media rights has been imposed in Spain. The Spanish National League has to seek the advice of the competition authority previous to its tender. The main observations of the CNMC is that the penultimate and ultimate La Liga matches day should be broadcast on free-to-air TV. Also, the possibility for pay-TV broadcasters to buy more Copa del Rey matches could be anti-competitive.

Case law

Michel Platini’s suspension from all football-related activities at both national and international level was lowered by the CAS  from six to four years. The former UEFA President was first sentenced with an eight years ban by the Adjudicatory Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee for several breaches of the FIFA Ethics Code. This sanction was later reduced to a six years suspension by the FIFA Appeal Committee. Michel Platini filed his appeal at CAS which rendered its decision on May, 9. CAS concluded that the employment contract between FIFA and Michel Platini was valid, however, the alleged unpaid part of his salary (CHF 2 millions) was not legitimate and, as such, was an undue advantage in breach of Article 20 of the FIFA Code of Ethics. The arbitral panel also concluded on a conflict of interest in breach of article 19 of the same code. However, CAS only retained these two breaches and did not found him guilty of the others, as a consequence, its six-year suspension was reduced to four years. In particular, CAS highlighted the fact that FIFA knew about this payment in 2011 and only started its investigations in 2015. Michel Platini resigned from the UEFA presidency and announced his intention to appeal the award in front of the Swiss Federal Tribunal. 

CAS released its award on the appeal brought by the Croatian international water polo player Niksa Dobud against FINA Doping panel decision which sanctioned him for failure to submit to a doping test. He was previously sanctioned with a four-year period of ineligibility, the disqualification of the results obtained after 21 March 2015, the date of the attempt to test him and the forfeit of any medals, points and prizes achieved from that date. The panel found him guilty of evading a doping test and confirmed FINA decision.

Official Documents and Press Releases 

In the news



Academic materials


Upcoming Events 

27 & 28 June - Sport & EU 11th annual conference, Institute for European Studies, CEU-San Pablo University, Madrid, Spain 

28 June – LawInSport Networking Drinks, London, UK

6 July - Asser International Sports Law Lecture and Book Launch: Antidoping in the wake of the meldonium cases: How to balance scientific complexity and legal fairness. By Marjolaine Viret, Asser Institute, The Hague, The Netherlands

19 – 21 July - Executive Programme in International Sports Law, Sports Law and Policy Centre, Ravello, Italy

2 & 3 September - International Sport Arbitration 6th Conference CAS & SAV, The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the Swiss Bar Association (SAV / FSA) and the Swiss Arbitration Association (ASA), Lausanne Switzerland

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

Comments are closed