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

12th round of Caster Semenya’s legal fight: too close to call? - By Jeremy Abel

Editor's note: Jeremy Abel is a recent graduate of the LL.M in International Business Law and Sports of the University of Lausanne.

 

1.     Introduction

The famous South African athlete Caster Semenya is in the last lap of her long legal battle for her right to run without changing the natural testosterone in her body. After losing her cases before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and the Swiss Federal Tribunal, she filed an application before the European Court of Human Rights (Court). In the meantime, the Court has released a summary of her complaint and a series of questions addressed to the parties of the case.

As is well known, she is challenging the World Athletics’ Eligibility Regulations for the Female Classification (Regulations) defining the conditions under which female and intersex athletes with certain types of differences of sex development (DSDs) can compete in international athletics events. Despite the Regulations emanating from World Athletics, the last round of her legal battle is against a new opponent: Switzerland.

The purpose of this article is to revisit the Semenya case from a European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) perspective while considering certain excellent points made by previous contributors (see here, here and here) to this blog. Therefore, the blog will follow the basic structure of an ECHR case. The following issues raised by Semenya shall be analysed: the applicability of the ECHR, Semenya’s right to private life (Article 8 ECHR) and to non discrimination (Article 14 ECHR), as well as the proportionality of the Regulations. More...


[Conference] Towards a European Social Charter for Sport Events - 1 December - 13:00-17:00 - Asser Institute

Sport events, especially when they are of a global scale, have been facing more and more questions about their impact on local communities, the environment, and human rights. 

It has become clear that their social legitimacy is not a given, but must be earned by showing that sport events can positively contribute to society. During this half-day conference, we will debate the proposal of a European Social Charter for Sport Events in order to achieve this goal. 

In January 2021, a consortium of eight partners launched a three-year project, supported by the European Commission under the Erasmus+ scheme, aimed at devising a European Social Charter for Sport Events (ESCSE). The project ambitions to develop a Charter which will contribute to ensuring that sport events taking place in the European Union are socially beneficial to the local communities concerned and, more generally, to those affected by them. The project is directly inspired by the decision of the Paris 2024 bid to commit to a social charter enforced throughout the preparation and the course of the 2024 Olympics.

This first public event in the framework of the ESCSE project, will be introducing the project to a wider public. During the event we will review the current state of the implementation of the Paris 2024 Social Charter, discuss the expectations of stakeholders and academics for a European Social Charter and present for feedback the first draft of the ESCSE (and its implementing guidelines) developed by the project members. It will be a participatory event; we welcome input from the participants.

The Asser International Sports Law Centre, powered by the Asser Institute, is contributing to the project through the drafting of a background study, which we will introduce during the conference.

Please note that we can provide some financial support (up to 100 euros)  towards travel and/or accommodation costs for a limited number of participants coming from other EU Member States or the UK. To apply for this financial support please reach out to ConferenceManager@asser.nl.  `

Register HERE

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New Event! Diversity at the Court of Arbitration for Sport: Time for a Changing of the Guard? - Zoom In Webinar - 14 October - 4pm

On Thursday 14 October 2021 from 16.00-17.30 CET, the Asser International Sports Law Centre, in collaboration with Dr Marjolaine Viret (University of Lausanne), will be launching the second season of the Zoom-In webinar series, with a first episode on Diversity at the Court of Arbitration for Sport: Time for a Changing of the Guard?

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) is a well-known mainstay of global sport. It has the exclusive competence over challenges against decisions taken by most international sports governing bodies and its jurisprudence covers a wide range of issues (doping, corruption, match-fixing, financial fair play, transfer or selection disputes) including disciplinary sanctions and governance disputes. In recent years, the CAS has rendered numerous awards which triggered world-wide public interest, such as in the Semenya v World Athletics case or the case between WADA and RUSADA resulting from the Russian doping scandal (we discussed both cases in previous Zoom-In discussion available here and here). In short, the CAS has tremendous influence on the shape of global sport and its governance.

However, as we will discuss during this webinar, recent work has shown that the arbitrators active at the CAS are hardly reflective of the diversity of people its decisions ultimately affect. This in our view warrants raising the question of the (urgent) need to change the (arbitral) guard at the CAS. To address these issues with us, we have invited two speakers who have played an instrumental role in putting numbers on impressions widely shared by those in contact with the CAS: Prof. Johan Lindholm (Umea University) and attorney-at-law Lisa Lazarus (Morgan Sports Law). Johan recently published a ground-breaking monograph on The Court of Arbitration for Sport and Its Jurisprudence in which he applies empirical and quantitative methods to analyse the work of the CAS. This included studying the sociological characteristics of CAS arbitrators. Lisa and her colleagues at Morgan Sports Law very recently released a blog post on Arbitrator Diversity at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which reveals a stunning lack of diversity (based on their calculations, 4,5% of appointed CAS arbitrators are female and 0,2% are black) at the institution ruling over global sport.


Guest speakers:


Moderators:


Register for free HERE.


Zoom In webinar series

In December 2020, The Asser International Sports Law Centre in collaboration with Dr Marjolaine Viret launched a new series of zoom webinars on transnational sports law: Zoom In. You can watch the video recordings of our past Zoom In webinars on the Asser Institute’s Youtube Channel.

Investment in Football as a Means to a Particular End – Part 2: The Multiple Layers of Multi-Club Ownership Regulation in Football - By Rhys Lenarduzzi

Editor's note: Rhys was an intern at the T.M.C. Asser Institute. He now advises on investments and Notre acquisitions in sport (mainly football) via Lovelle Street Advisory. Following a career as a professional athlete, Rhys has spent much of his professional life as an international sports agent, predominantly operating in football. Rhys has a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) and a Bachelor of Philosophy (B.Phil.) from the University of Dame, Sydney, Australia. He is currently completing an LL.M at the University of Zurich in International Business Law / International Sports Law.


Having looked at the different types of investors in football in part one of this two-part blog series, “A non-exhaustive Typology”, it is fitting to now consider the regulations that apply to investors who seek to build a portfolio of football clubs.

One way to measure the momentum of a particular practice and how serious it ought to be taken, might be when that practice earns its own initialism. Multi-club ownership or MCO as it is increasingly known today, is the name given to those entities that have an ownership stake in multiple clubs. Within the little research and writing that has been undertaken on the topic, some authors submit that investors with minority stakes in multiple clubs ought not to be captured by the MCO definition.  This position appears problematic given some of the regulations draw the line at influence rather than stake.

There are now approximately 50 MCO’s across the football world that own approximately 150 clubs.[1] Given the way MCO is trending, one might consider it important that the regulations keep up with the developing MCO practice, so as to ensure the integrity of football competitions, and to regulate any other potentially questionable benefit an MCO might derive that would be contrary to football’s best interests.

In this blog, I focus on the variety of ways (and levels at which) this practice is being regulated.  I will move through the football pyramid from member associations (MA’s) to FIFA, laying the foundations to support a proposition that FIFA and only FIFA is positioned to regulate MCO. More...


New Event! Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter and the Right to Free Speech of Athletes - Zoom In Webinar - 14 July - 16:00 (CET)

On Wednesday 14 July 2021 from 16.00-17.30 CET, the Asser International Sports Law Centre, in collaboration with Dr Marjolaine Viret, is organizing a Zoom In webinar on Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter and the right to free speech of athletes.

As the Tokyo Olympics are drawing closer, the International Olympic Committee just released new Guidelines on the implementation of Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter. The latter Rule provides that ‘no kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas’. The latest IOC Guidelines did open up some space for athletes to express their political views, but at the same time continue to ban any manifestation from the Olympic Village or the Podium. In effect, Rule 50 imposes private restrictions on the freedom of expression of athletes in the name of the political neutrality of international sport. This limitation on the rights of athletes is far from uncontroversial and raises intricate questions regarding its legitimacy, proportionality and ultimately compatibility with human rights standards (such as with Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights).

This webinar aims at critically engaging with Rule 50 and its compatibility with the fundamental rights of athletes. We will discuss the content of the latest IOC Guidelines regarding Rule 50, the potential justifications for such a Rule, and the alternatives to its restrictions. To do so, we will be joined by three speakers, Professor Mark James from Manchester Metropolitan University, who has widely published on the Olympic Games and transnational law; Chui Ling Goh, a Doctoral Researcher at Melbourne Law School, who has recently released an (open access) draft of an article on Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter; and David Grevemberg, Chief Innovation and Partnerships Officer at the Centre for Sport and Human Rights, and former Chief Executive of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF). 

Guest speakers:

  • Prof. Mark James (Metropolitan Manchester University)
  • Chui Ling Goh (PhD candidate, University of Melbourne)
  • David Grevemberg (Centre for Sport and Human Rights)

Moderators:


Free Registration HERE

Investment in Football as a Means to a Particular End – Part 1: A non-exhaustive Typology - By Rhys Lenarduzzi

Editor's note: Rhys is currently making research and writing contributions under Dr Antoine Duval at the T.M.C. Asser Institute with a focus on Transnational Sports Law. Additionally, Rhys is the ‘Head of Advisory’ of Athlon CIF, a global fund and capital advisory firm specialising in the investment in global sports organisations and sports assets.

Rhys has a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) and Bachelor of Philosophy (B.Phil.) from the University of Notre Dame, Sydney, Australia. Rhys is an LL.M candidate at the University of Zurich, in International Sports Law. Following a career as a professional athlete, Rhys has spent much of his professional life as an international sports agent, predominantly operating in football.

Rhys is also the host of the podcast “Sportonomic”.


Introduction

In the following two-part blog series, I will start by outlining a short typology of investors in football in recent years, in order to show the emergence of different varieties of investors who seek to use football as a means to a particular end. I will then in a second blog, explore the regulatory landscape across different countries, with a particular focus on the regulatory approach to multi-club ownership. Before moving forward, I must offer a disclaimer of sorts.  In addition to my research and writing contributions with the Asser Institute, I am the ‘Head of Advisory’ for Athlon CIF, a global fund and capital advisory firm specialising in the investment in global sports organisations and sports assets. I appreciate and hence must flag that I will possess a bias when it comes to investment in football.

It might also be noteworthy to point out that this new wave of investment in sport, is not exclusive to football. I have recently written elsewhere about CVC Capital Partners’ US$300 million investment in Volleyball, and perhaps the message that lingers behind such a deal.  CVC has also shown an interest in rugby and recently acquired a 14.3 per cent stake in the ‘Six Nations Championship’, to the tune of £365 million.  New Zealand’s 26 provincial rugby unions recently voted unanimously in favour of a proposal to sell 12.5 per cent of NZ Rugby’s commercial rights to Silver Lake Partners for NZ$387.5 million.  Consider also the apparent partnership between star footballer’s investment group, Gerard Pique’s Kosmos, and the International Tennis Federation.  Kosmos is further backed by Hiroshi Mikitani’s ecommerce institution, Rakuten, and all involved claim to desire an overhaul of the Davis Cup that will apparently transform it into the ‘World Cup of Tennis’. Grassroots projects, prizemoney for tennis players and extra funding for member nations are other areas the partnership claims to be concerned with. As is the case with all investment plays of this flavour, one can be certain that a return on the capital injection is also of interest.

So, what are we to conclude from the trends of investment in sport and more specifically for this blog series, in football? A typology elucidates that a multiplicity of investors have in recent years identified football as a means to achieve different ends. This blog considers three particular objectives pursued; direct financial return, branding in the case of company investment, or the branding and soft power strategies of nations.More...



WISLaw Blog Symposium - Rule 40 of the Olympic Charter: the wind of changes or a new commercial race - By Rusa Agafonova

Editor's note: Rusa Agafonova is a PhD Candidate at the University of Zurich, Switzerland   

The Olympic Games are the cornerstone event of the Olympic Movement as a socio-cultural phenomenon as well as the engine of its economic model. Having worldwide exposure,[1] the Olympic Games guarantee the International Olympic Committee (IOC) exclusive nine-digit sponsorship deals. The revenue generated by the Games is later redistributed by the IOC down the sports pyramid to the International Federations (IFs), National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and other participants of the Olympic Movement through a so-called "solidarity mechanism". In other words, the Games constitute a vital source of financing for the Olympic Movement.

Because of the money involved, the IOC is protective when it comes to staging the Olympics. This is notably so with respect to ambush marketing which can have detrimental economic impact for sports governing bodies (SGBs) running mega-events. The IOC's definition of ambush marketing covers any intentional and non-intentional use of intellectual property associated with the Olympic Games as well as the misappropriation of images associated with them without authorisation from the IOC and the organising committee.[2] This definition is broad as are the IOC's anti-ambush rules.More...

WISLaw Blog Symposium - Freedom of Expression in Article 10 of the ECHR and Rule 50 of the IOC Charter: Are these polar opposites? - By Nuray Ekşi

Editor's note: Prof. Dr. Ekşi is a full-time lecturer and chair of Department of Private International Law at Özyeğin University Faculty of Law. Prof. Ekşi is the founder and also editor in chief of the Istanbul Journal of Sports Law which has been in publication since 2019.


While Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (‘ECHR’) secures the right to freedom of expression, Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter of 17 July 2020 (‘Olympic Charter’) restricts this freedom. Following the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights (‘ECtHR’) relating to sports, national and international sports federations have incorporated human rights-related provisions into their statutes and regulations. They also emphasized respect for human rights. For example, Article 3 of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (‘FIFA’) Statutes, September 2020 edition, provides that “FIFA is committed to respecting all internationally recognised human rights and shall strive to promote the protection of these rights”. Likewise, the Fundamental Principles of Olympism which are listed after the Preamble of the of the Olympic Charter 2020 also contains human rights related provisions. Paragraph 4 of Fundamental Principles of Olympism provides that the practice of sport is a human right. Paragraph 6 forbids discrimination of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, sexual orientation, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. In addition, the International Olympic Committee (‘IOC’) inserted human rights obligations in the 2024 and 2028 Host City Contract.[1] The IOC Athletes’ Rights and Responsibilities Declaration even goes further and aspires to promote the ability and opportunity of athletes to practise sport and compete without being subject to discrimination. Fair and equal gender representation, privacy including protection of personal information, freedom of expression, due process including the right to a fair hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial panel, the right to request a public hearing and the right to an effective remedy are the other human rights and principles stated in the IOC Athletes’ Rights and Responsibilities Declaration. Despite sports federations’ clear commitment to the protection of human rights, it is arguable that their statutes and regulations contain restrictions on athletes and sports governing bodies exercising their human rights during competitions or in the field. In this regard, particular attention should be given to the right to freedom of expression on which certain restrictions are imposed by the federations even if it done with good intentions and with the aim of raising awareness. More...


Asser International Sports Law Blog | The CAS jurisprudence on match-fixing in football: What can we learn from the Turkish cases? - Part 1 - By Thalia Diathesopoulou

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

The CAS jurisprudence on match-fixing in football: What can we learn from the Turkish cases? - Part 1 - By Thalia Diathesopoulou

The editor’s note:

Two weeks ago we received the unpublished CAS award rendered in the Eskişehirspor case and decided to comment on it. In this post Thalia Diathesopoulou (Intern at the ASSER International Sports Law Centre) analyses the legal steps followed and interpretations adopted by CAS panels in this case and in a series of other Turkish match-fixing cases. The first part of the post will deal with the question of the legal nature of the ineligibility decision opposed by UEFA to clubs involved in one way or another into match-fixing and with the personal and material scope of UEFA’s rule on which this ineligibility is based. The second part is dedicated to the procedural rules applied in match-fixing cases.


Introduction

The unpredictability of the outcome is a sine qua non feature of sports. It is this inherent uncertainty that draws the line between sports and entertainment and triggers the interest of spectators, broadcasters and sponsors. Thus, match-fixing by jeopardising the integrity and unpredictability of sporting outcomes has been described, along with doping, as one of the major threats to modern sport.[1] 

It does not come as a surprise, therefore, that the fight against match-fixing has been elevated over the past years to a general interest issue, being also included in European Commission’s Agenda on sports as a priority. The urge to protect the integrity of sport, has stimulated the adoption by sports-governing bodies, and especially UEFA and FIFA, of regulations specifically intended to combat match-fixing. The evolution of UEFA Disciplinary Regulations (UEFA DR) in the last 10 years has been remarkable: it follows a path from a broad capture of match-fixing conduct by reference to the general values of loyalty, integrity and sportsmanship[2] in the 2004 version, to the explicit - first ever- reference to the offence of match-fixing in the revised 2013 edition.[3]

In this context, the CAS has been called to implement these rules in a series of match-fixing cases. Especially Turkey’s unprecedented match-fixing scandal in 2011 led to a series of important CAS awards tackling match-fixing. The latest episode of this Turkish series was written on 2 September 2014: following Fenerbahçe and Besiktas, it was Eskişehirspor’s turn to face a CAS ruling on a match-fixing related case.

CAS jurisprudence on match-fixing being in its infancy, the approach of the CAS panels towards procedural, evidentiary and matters of substance in match-fixing disputes is still uncertain. Considering the magnitude of the match-fixing threat and the CAS role as a ‘cartographer’ of the so called lex sportiva, it is worthwhile to monitor the emerging trends of CAS on these integrity-related issues. This blog series will, therefore, use the Turkish cases as a vehicle in order to build a legal roadmap in match-fixing cases and shed light on four issues that have been extensively addressed in recent CAS jurisprudence: the qualification of the legal nature of the measure of ineligibility as a result of a Club’s involvement in match-fixing, the scope of application of this measure, the standard of proof to be applied and, finally, the admissibility of evidence in match-fixing cases

Particularly, two substantial problems that emerged in match-fixing disputes, i.e. the legal qualification of the match-fixing related measure of ineligibility under Article 2.08 of the UEL Regulations as administrative or disciplinary measure (1) and the scope of application of Article 2.08 (2), will constitute the axes of this first blog series. 


The 2011 Turkish match-fixing series in brief

In the summer of 2011, following Turkish’s police investigation into 19 football matches suspected of being fixed, 61 individuals were arrested, including club managers and Turkish national players. Fenerbahçe, Besiktas and Eskişehirspor were connected with match-fixing allegations in domestic tournaments in 2011.

Istanbul giant Fenerbahçe was at the epicentre of this match-fixing scandal, with its Chairman, Aziz Yildirim, being convicted by Istanbul’s 16th High Criminal Court of establishing and leading a criminal organisation, which rigged four games and offered payments to players or rival clubs to fix three others. Particularly, among other matches, it was found that under the leadership of the then President of Fenerbahçe, match-fixing agreements were made for the matches of Eskişehirspor against Fenerbahçe and Eskişehirspor against Trabzonspor dating from 9 April 2011 and 22 April 2011 respectively. The Eskişehirspor head coach and the player were found guilty for match-fixing in the match with Trabzonspor and were sentenced to imprisonment. Furthermore, the High Criminal Court convicted Besiktas’ Officials of match-fixing activities with regard to the Final Cup played between Besiktas and Istanbul BB on 11 May 2011.

As a result of this alleged match-fixing involvement Fenerbahçe was banned by the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) from participating in the 2011-2012 CL. Later on, the 25 July 2013, Fenerbahçe was found ineligible by the UEFA Appeals Body (UAB) to participate in the next two UEFA club competitions including the 2013/14 UEFA CL, since it could not comply with the UEFA Champions League (UEL) admission requirements. Similarly, Besiktas and Eskişehirspor, in 2013 and 2014 respectively, were considered by the UAB ineligible to participate in the next UEL season, on the grounds of a breach of the UEL admission criteria and particularly of Article 2.08.

A next round of proceedings was brought before the CAS. On 28 and 30 August 2013, the CAS rejected Fenerbahçe’s and Besictas’ appeals.[4] One year later, on 2 September 2014, Eskişehirspor faced the same fate. Interestingly enough, the Eskişehirspor panel was the first CAS panel to deal with the sanction of a club victim of a match-fixing arrangement.

The outcome of the Turkish cases is not necessarily surprising. The CAS practice has been consistently embracing the UEFA zero tolerance policy against match-fixing. However, the legal reasoning followed by CAS to reach a similar outcome differs significantly fostering legal uncertainty in the match-fixing context. At this point, therefore, this blog post will attempt to map the reasoning of the CAS over the following thorny issues which were particularly raised in the Turkish cases: the legal nature of the measure of ineligibility under Article 2.08 of the UEL Regulations (1) and the scope of application of Article 2.08 (2).   


Qualifying Article 2.08 UEL Regulations: administrative measure or disciplinary sanction?

At a first glance, the question of the legal nature of the ineligibility measure of Article 2.08 is rather theoretical, but it also bears important practical implications. The identification of the legal nature of Article 2.08 as administrative or disciplinary determines ‘how this measure shall be applied and under which legal principles’.[5] In other words, the characterization of the measure of Article 2.08 as a disciplinary one may trigger the application of UEFA Disciplinary regulations, including the strict liability principle and the possibility of issuance of a probationary period. Before proceeding with our analysis, it should be pointed out that the Fenerbahçe case, deals with the legal nature of Article 2.05 UEFA Champions League Regulations (UCLR). However, since the wording of Article 2.05 UCLR and Article 2.08 UELR is exactly the same, the panel’s findings are transposable.

When qualifying the legal nature of the ineligibility measure in match-fixing disputes, the Fenerbahçe,Besiktas and Eskişehirspor panels used as a landmark the well-established distinction between administrative acts and disciplinary measures.[6] This is the common point of reference for the three cases, which thereafter differentiates in the interpretation of the ineligibility measure.

In the first case, the Fenerbahçe panel introduced the idea of a ‘two stage process’ in match-fixing disputes: the first stage encompasses an administrative measure, akin to a preliminary minimum sanction, while the second stage is a disciplinary measure, imposing an additional sanction. Thereafter, in a surprising twist the CAS declared the inherent disciplinary nature of the administrative measure of ineligibility, since the subject matter of Article 2.08 is ‘the imposition of a sanction’. According to this panel, the minimum sanction serves the legitimate interest of UEFA to exclude a club from European competitions with immediate effect, while additional sanctions can be imposed if the circumstances so justify. However, this interpretation creates a paradox in that it blurs the lines between acts of administrative and disciplinary nature, a distinction well entrenched in CAS case law.

The Besiktas case adds to the legal uncertainty with regard to the legal nature of the ineligibility measure. According to this panel and contrary to the assessment in the Fenerbahçe case, Article 2.08 UELR does not have a sanctioning character, even if it excludes a club from UEFA competition. This argument is based on the wording of Article 50 (3) UEFA Statutes which, by referring to the ineligibility measure as a measure imposed ‘without prejudice to any possible disciplinary measures’, implicitly excludes its sanctioning nature.

This contradictory interpretation of the ineligibility measure by the previous panels triggered the concerns of the Eskişehirspor panel, which aimed to put an end to the legal uncertainty surrounding the definition of the legal nature of Article 2.08. Therefore, the CAS proceeded for the first time with an extensive analysis of the legal nature of Article 2.08. First of all, the CAS recognized the existence of a double regulatory regime in match-fixing cases: an administrative measure aiming at preventing match-fixing, laid down in Articles 2.05 UCL or 2.07, 2.08 of UEL Regulations and Article 50.3 of the UEFA Statutes 2008, and a disciplinary measure enshrined in the Disciplinary Regulations, specifically at Art 5.2j of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations (DR) 2008. While this distinction seems to be inspired by the ‘two stage process’ elaborated in the Fenerbahçe case, this panel went a step further by drawing a clear line between measures of administrative and disciplinary character. After having clarified this distinction between measures of different legal nature and effect, the panel concluded that the measure of ineligibility of Article 2.08 is of a purely administrative nature. This assessment is based on an interpretation of Articles 2.09 UEL Regulations and Article 50.3 of the UEFA Statutes 2008 similar to the one adopted in the Besiktas case: both provisions refer to the automatic administrative application of the measure of ineligibility, leaving the door open for potential additional disciplinary measures ‘if the circumstances so justify’. Furthermore, the CAS noted that the administrative measure of Article 2.08 has a broad scope of application encompassing ‘any activity aimed at arranging or influencing the outcome of the match’, as compared to the disciplinary offence which in line with its sanctioning character is more restrictive.

Thereafter, the panel highlighted the consequences to be drawn from this qualification. As a result of the pure administrative nature of Article 2.08, the legal principles usually applicable to disciplinary measures are considered irrelevant. In practice, this means that the CAS excludes the application of: a) Articles 5.2 .j. and 17.1 of UEFA DR about the evaluation of mitigating circumstances when disciplinary measures are imposed; b) Article 6 of UEFA DR imposing a strict liability system; c) Article 11 of UEFA DR about the elimination of the ineligibility measure or the issuance of a probationary period; and finally, d) the ‘nulla poena sine culpa’ principle recognized in criminal law.

This straightforward position of the CAS in the Eskişehirspor case reflects its intention to put a provisory end to the legal uncertainty with regard to the legal nature of Article 2.08 and the legal consequences it entails. Borrowing elements from the previous Turkish cases, the CAS came up with a more sophisticated and coherent interpretation of the legal nature of the ineligibility measure, an interpretation that may serve as a reliable guideline for subsequent arbitral panels dealing with match-fixing. 


The scope of application of Article 2.08 UEL Regulations

Article 2.08 UEL Regulations does not define precisely the activities of a club that is directly or indirectly involvement in match-fixing. In match-fixing disputes, therefore, the CAS has a decisive role in clarifying the scope of application of the ineligibility measure.

As far as the scope ratione materiae is concerned, the Fenerbahçe and Besiktas panels converged in a broad understanding of the scope of Article 2.08. Indeed, based on the ordinary meaning of Article 2.08 which encompasses ‘any activity aimed at arranging or influencing the outcome of a match at a national or international level’ in conjunction with the ratio legis of this provision, which reflects the zero tolerance policy of UEFA against match-fixing, the CAS considered that Article 2.08 targets not only activities directly intending to fix the outcome of a game, but also activities that may have an unlawful influence on it. In this sense, for instance, the fact that Eskişehirspor accepted a bonus from a third party, i.e. Fenerbahçe, for winning, even though it cannot be qualified as match-fixing, is influencing the outcome of the match and, therefore, falls within the scope of Article 2.08. Furthermore, the Besiktas panel offered a broad interpretation of the wording ‘aimed at’ suggesting that not only the act of match-fixing, but also an attempt falls within the broad scope of Article 2.08. Hence, the Turkish cases establish an important finding with regard to the scope of application of the ineligibility measure in match-fixing disputes: a broad interpretation of Article 2.08 is in line with UEFA’s statutory objectives and, therefore, has to be adopted.

On the other hand, with regard to the scope ratione personae of Article 2.08, the CAS panels have been inconsistent. In order to identify whose actions are attributable to the club, the Besiktas panel applied the strict liability principle enshrined in Article 6 of the 2008 UEFA Disciplinary Regulations (DR). Here, the application of UEFA DR seems to be at odds with the previous characterization of Article 2.08 as an administrative measure. By contrast, in the Eskişehirspor case, where the issue whether the actions of a coach, who is a mere employee, can be attributed to the club is raised. In that case, the panel relying on the pure administrative character of Article 2.08, rejected the application of the strict liability principle. The Eskişehirspor panel, insisting on the qualification of the measure of ineligibility as an administrative measure, suggested an entirely different, but equally broad, interpretation of the ratione personae scope of article 2.08. Indeed, it suggests a broad interpretation of the term ‘official’, an interpretation that would capture ‘every board member ….coach, trainer and any other person responsible for technical, (…) as well as other persons obliged to comply with the UEFA Statutes’. In other words, the coach has to be considered as an official in the sense of Article 2.08 and his actions were, thus, attributable to the club.

To conclude, it seems that whatever the interpretative road chosen, the scope of application rationae personae and materiae of article 2.08 will be understood broadly. Nevertheless, it would be more coherent to have such a broad interpretation rely on a stabilized legal practice and the Eskişehirspor award provides an interesting first step in this direction.


The series of Turkish cases has provided the CAS with the opportunity to frame a consistent approach in substantive matters linked to match-fixing cases. In the Eskişehirspor case, the CAS attempts to clarify its approach to match-fixing in football. Two important conclusions can be drawn: the ineligibility measure imposed by Article 2.08 UELR has a broad scope of application and, secondly, it should be qualified as having an administrative nature. As a result, disciplinary rules do not apply to match-fixing disputes involving the eligibility of a club to European competitions. Regarding certain procedural matters, however, disciplinary standards and rules do apply. This is the real Achilles’ heel of the CAS approach in match-fixing cases: how can the application of rules of different nature to substantial and procedural matters in an identical match-fixing dispute be explained? 

(To be continued)


[1] Match-fixing in sport-A mapping of criminal law provisions in EU 27,  (http://ec.europa.eu/sport/library/studies/study-sports-fraud-final-version_en.pdf), 14.

[2] CAS 2009/A/1920 FK Pobeda, Aleksandar Zabrcanec, Nikolce Zdraveski v/ UEFA, para 78.

[3] UEFA Disciplinary Regulations 2013, Article 12 ‘Integrity of matches and competitions and match-fixing’ (http://www.ecaeurope.com/Legal/UEFA%20Documents/2013_0241_Disciplinary%20Regulations%202013.pdf)

[4] CAS 2013/A/3256 Fenerbahçe Spor Kubülü v UEFA & CAS 2013/A/3258 Besiktas Jimnastik Kulübü v. UEFA

[5] CAS 2014/A/3628 Eskişehirspor Kulübü v UEFA, para 98.

[6] CAS 2007/A/1381 & CAS 2008/A/1583

Comments (1) -

  • Ender Kuyumcu

    9/24/2014 9:43:00 AM |

    If you contact me on my mail, I can suuply you with the CAS verdicts on Besiktas and Fenerbahce cases alongside more info regarding Turkish match fixing scandal.

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