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 – June - August 2020 by Thomas Terraz

Editor's note: This report compiles the most relevant legal news, events and materials on International and European Sports Law based on the daily coverage provided on our twitter feed @Sportslaw_asser. 

 

 

The Headlines

CAS Decision on Manchester City FC Case

After the UEFA’s Adjudicatory Chamber of the Club Financial Control’s (CFCB) decision earlier this year to ban Manchester City FC for two seasons, observers waited impatiently to see the outcome of this high profile dispute. The CFCB’s decision had found that Manchester City FC overstated sponsorship revenues and in its break-even information given to UEFA. While some feared this showdown could lead to the demise of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations, the now publicized CAS panel’s decision is more nuanced. The panel’s decision turned on (see analysis here and here) (a) whether the ‘Leaked Emails’ were authentic and could be admissible evidence, (b) whether the ‘CFCB breached its obligations of due process’, (c) whether the conclusions of the 2014 Settlement Agreement prevents the CFCB from charging Manchester City FC, (d) whether the charges are time-barred, (e) the applicable standard of proof, (f) whether Manchester City FC masked equity funding as sponsorship contributions, and (g) whether Manchester City FC failed to cooperate with CFCB. In the end, among other findings, the Panel held that some of the alleged breaches were time-barred but maintained that Manchester City FC had failed to cooperate with CFCB’s investigation. In light of this, the Panel significantly reduced the sanction placed on Manchester City FC by removing the two-season suspension and reducing the sanction from 30 million euros to 10 million euros.

 

Qatar Labour Law Reforms Effectively Abolishes the Kafala System

Just a few days after Human Rights Watch released a lengthy report on abusive practices suffered by migrant workers in Qatar, Qatar adopted a series of laws that effectively gets rid of the Kafala system by no longer requiring migrant workers to obtain a ‘No Objection Certificate’ from their employer in order to start another job. The International Labour Organization declared that this development along with the elimination of the ‘exit permit requirements’ from earlier this year means that the kafala system has been effectively abolished. In addition to these changes, Qatar has also adopted a minimum wage that covers all workers and requires that employers who do not provide food or housing at least give a minimum allowance for both of these living costs. Lastly, the new laws better define the procedure for the termination of employment contracts.

In reaction to these changes, Amnesty International welcomed the reforms and called for them to be ‘swiftly and properly implemented’. Indeed, while these amendments to Qatar’s labour laws are a step in the right direction, Amnesty International also cautions that the minimum wage may still be too low, and in order to be effective, these new laws will have to be followed with ‘strong inspection and complaint mechanisms’.

 

CAS Decision Concerning Keramuddin Karim Abuse Case

In June of last year, Keramuddin Karim, former president of Afghanistan’s soccer federation, was banned by FIFA for life (see the decision of the adjudicatory Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee) after reports of sexual and physical abuse that emerged in late 2018. Following a lengthy and tumultuous investigation in Afghanistan, Afghan officials came forward with an arrest warrant for Mr. Karim. Nevertheless, despite attempts to apprehend Mr. Karim, Mr. Karim has still avoided arrest over a year later. Most recently in August, Afghan Special Operation officers attempted to apprehend him but he was not at the residence when they arrived.

Meanwhile, Mr. Karim had appealed FIFA’s lifetime ban to the CAS and the CAS Panel’s decision has recently been released. In its decision, the Panel upheld both the lifetime ban and the 1,000,000 CHF fine, finding that due to the particular egregious nature of Karim’s acts, ‘they warrant the most severe sanction possible available under the FCE’. Since both Karim and his witnesses were unable to be heard, the case raises questions connected to the respect of fundamental procedural rights at the CAS.  More...

International and European Sports Law – Monthly Report – March-May 2020 by Thomas Terraz

Editor's note: This report compiles the most relevant legal news, events and materials on International and European Sports Law based on the daily coverage provided on our twitter feed @Sportslaw_asser. 

 

The Headlines

Coronavirus Pandemic Takes Over Sports

Since the last monthly report, the coronavirus pandemic has completely taken over the headlines and has had enormous impacts on the sports field. The most significant of these impacts so far was the rather slow (see here and here) decision by the IOC to move the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games to 2021 after a widespread push among athlete stakeholders to do so. Concerns were raised that besides the wellbeing of the participants, athletes under lockdowns would not have the access to the training facilities, meaning preparations for the Games would suffer. The IOC has already started its new planning for Tokyo 2021 and sees this new opportunity to be ‘an Olympic flame’ at the end of a ‘dark tunnel’ for the entire world.

Besides the Olympics, football has also experienced colossal effects as this crisis landed right as leagues were approaching the end of their season. In this context, FIFA has released specific guidelines on player contracts and transfer windows, which has included extending player contracts to the new postponed end of season dates. It has also organized a working group on COVID-19, which has already made recommendations to postpone all men and women’s international matches that were to be played during the June 2020 window. Earlier in March, UEFA had already announced that the EURO 2020 was also postponed by 12 months and has also recently approved guidelines on domestic competitions. These guidelines place emphasis on ‘sporting merit’ and urge ‘National Associations and Leagues to explore all possible options to play all top domestic competitions giving access to UEFA club competitions to their natural conclusion’. Nevertheless, UEFA also emphasizes that the health of all stakeholders must remain the top priority.

In the end, numerous sport federations have also had to amend their calendars due to the pandemic (see UCI and FIBA) and a variety of sport stakeholders have been confronted with immense financial strain (e.g. football, tennis and cycling). For example, UEFA has acted preemptively in releasing club benefit payments to try to alleviate the economic pressure faced by clubs. There have also been efforts to support athletes directly (e.g. FIG and ITF). All in all, the social and economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on sport have been unprecedented and will require creative solutions while continuing to place public health as the top priority.

Platini’s ECtHR Appeal Falls Flat

There have also been a few other stories that have (understandably) been overshadowed by the pandemic. One of these include Michel Platini’s unsuccessful appeal to the ECtHR challenging his 2015 football ban. The ECtHR’s decision concerned the admissibility of his appeal and in the end found it to be ‘manifestly ill-founded’. This is because he failed to raise his procedural rights concerns under Article 6 (1) ECHR in his proceedings at the Swiss Federal Tribunal. Besides rejecting his other claims based on Article 7 and 8 ECHR, the ECtHR decision also touched upon the issue of CAS’ procedural and institutional independence. In doing so, it referred to its Pechstein decision and once more affirmed that the CAS is sufficiently independent and impartial (see para 65), further giving credence to this notion from its case law. However, there are still concerns on this matter as was highlighted in the Pechstein dissent. Overall, the decision indicates that the ECtHR is willing to give the CAS the benefit of the doubt so long as it sufficiently takes into account the ECHR in its awards.

Mark Dry – UKAD Dispute

In February, Mark Dry was suspended by UKAD after a decision of the National Anti-Doping Panel (NADP) Appeal Tribunal  for four years after having given a ‘false account’ in order to ‘subvert the Doping Control process’. Specifically, Dry had told anti-doping authorities that he had been out fishing after he had missed a test at his residence. After further investigation, Dry admitted that he had forgotten to update his whereabouts while he was actually visiting his parents in Scotland and in panic, had told anti-doping authorities that he had been out fishing. Following the decision of the NADP Appeal Tribunal, athlete stakeholders have argued the four-year ban was disproportionate in this case. In particular, Global Athlete contended that Whereabouts Anti-Doping Rule Violations only occur in cases where an athlete misses three tests or filing failures within a year. Furthermore, even if Dry had ‘tampered or attempted to tamper’, a four-year sanction is too harsh. Subsequently, UKAD responded with a statement, arguing that ‘deliberately providing false information’ is ‘a serious breach of the rules’ and that the UKAD NADP Appeal Tribunal ‘operates independently’. In light of the mounting pressure, Witold Bańka, WADA President, also responded on Twitter that he is ‘committed to ensuring that athletes’ rights are upheld under the World Anti-Doping Code’. More...

Anti-Doping in Times of COVID-19: A Difficult Balancing Exercise for WADA - By Marjolaine Viret

Editor's note: Marjolaine is a researcher and attorney admitted to the Geneva bar (Switzerland) who specialises in sports and life sciences.


I.               Introduction

The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken the manner in which we approach human interactions that suppose close and prolonged physical contact. Across the world, authorities are having to design ways to resume essential activities without jeopardising participants’ health, all the while guaranteeing that other fundamental rights are paid due respect. The fight against doping is no exception. Anti-doping organizations – whether public or private – have to be held to the same standards, including respect for physical integrity and privacy, and considerate application of the cornerstone principle of proportionality.

Throughout this global crisis, the World Anti-Doping Agency (‘WADA’) has carefully monitored the situation, providing anti-doping organizations and athletes with updates and advice. On 6 May 2020, WADA issued the document called ‘ADO Guidance for Resuming Testing’ (‘COVID Guidance’). A COVID-19 ‘Q&A’ for athletes (‘Athlete Q&A’) is also available on WADA’s website, and has been last updated on 25 May 2020. This article focuses on these two latest documents, and analyses the solutions proposed therein, and their impact on athletes.

Like many public or private recommendations issued for other societal activities, the WADA COVID Guidance is primarily aimed at conducting doping control while limiting the risk of transmission of the virus and ensuing harm to individuals. More specifically, one can identify two situations of interest for athletes that are notified for testing:

  1. The athlete has or suspects that they may have been infected with COVID-19, or has come in close contact with someone having COVID-19;
  2. The athlete fears to be in touch with doping control personnel that may be infected with COVID-19.

Quite obviously, either situation has the potential to create significant challenges when it comes to balancing the interests of anti-doping, with individual rights and data protection concerns. This article summarises how the latest WADA COVID Guidance and Athlete Q&A address both situations. It explores how the solutions suggested fit in with the WADA regulatory framework and how these might be assessed from a legal perspective.

The focus will be on the hypothesis in which international sports federations – i.e. private entities usually organised as associations or similar structures – are asked to implement the COVID Guidance within their sport. National anti-doping organizations are strongly embedded in their national legal system and their status and obligations as public or semi-public organisations are likely to be much more dependent on the legislative landscape put in place to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic in each country. Nevertheless, the general principles described in this article would apply to all anti-doping organizations alike, whether at international or national level. More...



(A)Political Games: A Critical History of Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter - By Thomas Terraz

Editor’s note: Thomas Terraz is a fourth year LL.B. candidate at the International and European Law programme at The Hague University of Applied Sciences with a specialisation in European Law. Currently he is pursuing an internship at the T.M.C. Asser Institute with a focus on International and European Sports Law.

 

Since its inception, the Olympic Movement, and in particular the IOC, has tirelessly endeavored to create a clean bubble around sport events, protecting its hallowed grounds from any perceived impurities. Some of these perceived ‘contaminants’ have eventually been accepted as a necessary part of sport over time (e.g. professionalism in sport),[1] while others are still strictly shunned (e.g. political protest and manifestations) and new ones have gained importance over the years (e.g. protection of intellectual property rights). The IOC has adopted a variety of legal mechanisms and measures to defend this sanitized space.  For instance, the IOC has led massive efforts to protect its and its partners’ intellectual property rights through campaigns against ambush marketing (e.g. ‘clean venues’ and minimizing the athletes’ ability to represent their personal sponsors[2]). Nowadays, the idea of the clean bubble is further reinforced through the colossal security operations created to protect the Olympic sites.

Nevertheless, politics, and in particular political protest, has long been regarded as one of the greatest threats to this sanitized space. More recently, politics has resurfaced in the context of the IOC Athletes’ Commission Rule 50 Guidelines. Although Rule 50 is nothing new, the Guidelines stirred considerable criticism, to which Richard Pound personally responded, arguing that Rule 50 is a rule encouraging ‘mutual respect’ through ‘restraint’ with the aim of using sport ‘to bring people together’.[3] In this regard, the Olympic Charter aims to avoid ‘vengeance, especially misguided vengeance’. These statements seem to endorse a view that one’s expression of their political beliefs at the Games is something that will inherently divide people and damage ‘mutual respect’. Thus, the question naturally arises: can the world only get along if ‘politics, religion, race and sexual orientation are set aside’?[4] Should one’s politics, personal belief and identity be considered so unholy that they must be left at the doorstep of the Games in the name of depoliticization and of the protection of the Games’ sanitized bubble? Moreover, is it even possible to separate politics and sport?  

Even Richard Pound would likely agree that politics and sport are at least to a certain degree bound to be intermingled.[5] However, numerous commentators have gone further and expressed their skepticism to the view that athletes should be limited in their freedom of expression during the Games (see here, here and here). Overall, the arguments made by these commentators have pointed out the hypocrisy that while the Games are bathed in politics, athletes – though without their labor there would be no Games – are severely restrained in expressing their own political beliefs. Additionally, they often bring attention to how some of the most iconic moments in the Games history are those where athletes took a stand on a political issue, often stirring significant controversy at the time. Nevertheless, what has not been fully explored is the relationship between the Olympic Games and politics in terms of the divide between the ideals of international unity enshrined in the Olympic Charter and on the other hand the de facto embrace of country versus country competition in the Olympic Games. While the Olympic Charter frames the Games as ‘competitions between athletes in individual or team events and not between countries’, the reality is far from this ideal.[6] Sport nationalism in this context can be considered as a form of politics because a country’s opportunity to host and perform well at the Games is frequently used to validate its global prowess and stature.

To explore this issue, this first blog will first take a historical approach by investigating the origins of political neutrality in sport followed by an examination of the clash between the ideal of political neutrality and the reality that politics permeate many facets of the Olympic Games. It will be argued that overall there has been a failure to separate politics and the Games but that this failure was inevitable and should not be automatically viewed negatively. The second blog will then dive into the Olympic Charter’s legal mechanisms that attempt to enforce political neutrality and minimize sport nationalism, which also is a form of politics. It will attempt to compare and contrast the IOC’s approach to political expression when exercised by the athletes with its treatment of widespread sport nationalism.More...

International and European Sports Law – Monthly Report – February 2020 - By Thomas Terraz

Editor's note: This report compiles the most relevant legal news, events and materials on International and European Sports Law based on the daily coverage provided on our twitter feed @Sportslaw_asser. 

 

The Headlines

Manchester City sanctioned by UEFA’s Financial Fair Play

Manchester City has been sanctioned under UEFA’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations for two seasons for ‘overstating its sponsorship revenue in its accounts and in the break-even information’ it had provided UEFA. The February 14 decision of the Adjudicatory Chamber of the Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) likely heralds the start of a long and bitter legal war between Manchester City and UEFA, which may end up settling many of the questions surrounding the legality of FFP rules. Since its introduction in 2010, the compatibility of FFP with EU law, especially in terms of free movement and competition law, has been a continued point of contention amongst the parties concerned and commentators (see discussion here, here and here). It was only a matter of time that a case would arise to test this issue and the present circumstances seem to indicate that this may go all the way.                                 

Regardless, the ban will not be enforced this season and in light of the appeal process, it is hard to predict when the CFCB’s decision will have any effect. Indeed, Manchester City has shown an incredible willingness to fighting this out in the courts and shows no signs of backing down. The next stop will be the CAS and perhaps followed by the Swiss Federal Tribunal. It should also be recalled that the CAS has already examined FFP in its Galatasaray award, where it found FFP compatible with EU law (see commentary here). There is even a decent chance that this emerging saga may end up in front of the European Commission and eventually the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Sun Yang CAS award published

After a much-anticipated public hearing, the Panel’s award in the Sun Yang case has finally been published, sanctioning Sun Yang with an eight-year period of ineligibility (see here for a detailed commentary). The decision does not reveal anything groundbreaking in terms of its legal reasoning and in many ways the case will most likely be remembered for its historical significance: the case that jumpstarted a new era of increased public hearings at the CAS.

Perhaps of some interest is the extent to which the panel took into account Sun Yang’s behavior during the proceedings in order to support its assessment of the case. For example, the panel describes how Sun Yang had ignored the procedural rules of the hearing by inviting ‘an unknown and unannounced person from the public gallery to join him at his table and act as an impromptu interpreter’. The Panel interpreted this as Sun Yang attempting ‘to take matters into his own hands’ which it found resembled the athlete’s behavior in the case (see para 358). The Panel also found it ‘striking’ that Sun Yang did not express any remorse concerning his actions during the proceedings. Since the proceedings were held publicly and have been recorded, it is possible to verify the Panel’s assessment in this regard.

In the end, it is possible that Sun Yang may seek to reduce the period of ineligibility once the 2021 WADA Code comes into force (see para 368). For now, Sung Yang may also try to appeal the award to the Swiss Federal Tribunal on procedural grounds, and has already indicated his wish to do so. More...

Mega-sporting events and human rights: What role can EU sports diplomacy play? - Conference Report – By Thomas Terraz

Editor’s note: Thomas Terraz is a fourth year LL.B. candidate at the International and European Law programme at The Hague University of Applied Sciences with a specialisation in European Law. Currently he is pursuing an internship at the T.M.C. Asser Institute with a focus on International and European Sports Law.

 

1.     Introduction

 On March 05, the T.M.C. Asser Institute hosted ‘Mega-sporting events and human rights: What role can EU sports diplomacy play?’ a Multiplier Sporting Event organized in the framework of a European research project on ‘Promoting a Strategic Approach to EU Sports Diplomacy’. This project funded by the European Commission through its Erasmus+ program aims to help the EU adopt a strategic approach to sports diplomacy and to provide evidence of instances where sport can help amplify EU diplomatic messages and forge better relations with third countries. In particular, Antoine Duval from the Asser Institute is focusing on the role of EU sports diplomacy to strengthen human rights in the context of mega sporting events (MSE) both in Europe and abroad. To this end, he organized the two panels of the day focusing, on the one hand, on the ability of sport governing bodies (SGB) to leverage their diplomatic power to promote human rights, particularly in the context of MSEs and, on the other, on the EU’s role and capacity to strengthened human rights around MSEs. The following report summarizes the main points raised during the discussions. More...

Special Issue Call for Papers: Legal Aspects of Fantasy Sports - International Sports Law Journal

The International Sports Law Journal (ISLJ) invites submissions to a special issue focusing on legal aspects of fantasy sports. For some time, fantasy sports has been a major phenomena in North America and this has been reflected in the sports law literature. Fantasy sports have more recently grown in popularity in the rest of world, raising a number of novel legal questions. The ISLJ wants to support fruitful global discussions about these questions through a special issue. We welcome contributions from different jurisdictions analyzing fantasy sports from the perspective of various areas of law including, but not limited to, intellectual property law, gambling law, and competition law.

Please submit proposed papers through the ISLJ submission system (http://islj.edmgr.com/) no later than November 15, 2020. Submissions should have a reccomended length of 8,000–12,000 words and be prepared in accordance with the ISLJ's house style guidelines (https://www.springer.com/journal/40318/submission-guidelines). All submissions will be subject to double-blind peer review.

Question about the special issue can be directed to the Editor–in-Chief, Johan Lindholm (johan.lindholm@umu.se).

Free Event! Mega-sporting events and human rights: What role can EU sports diplomacy play? - 5 March at the Asser Institute in The Hague

The upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar and its links to human rights violations has been the subject of many debates in the media and beyond. In particular, the respect of migrant workers’ labour rights was at the forefront of much public criticisms directed against FIFA. Similarly, past Olympics in Rio, Sochi or Beijing have also been in the limelight for various human rights issues, such as the lack of freedom of the press, systematic discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or forced evictions. These controversies have led sports governing bodies (SGBs) to slowly embrace human rights as an integral part of their core values and policies. Leading to an increased expectation for SGBs to put their (private) diplomatic capital at the service of human rights by using their leverage vis-à-vis host countries of their mega-sporting events (MSEs). In turn, this also raises the question of the need for the EU to accompany this change by putting human rights at the heart of its own sports diplomacy.


Research collective 
This Multiplier Sporting Event, organised in the framework of the transnational project on ‘Promoting a Strategic Approach to EU Sports Diplomacy’ funded by the Erasmus + Programme, aims to trigger discussions on the role of an EU sports diplomacy in strengthening respect for human rights in the context of MSEs both at home and abroad. It will feature two roundtables focused on the one hand on the diplomatic power and capacity of SGBs to fend for human rights during MSEs and on the other on the EU’s integration of human rights considerations linked to MSEs in its own sports diplomacy.


Programme

13:20 – 14:00 – Welcome and opening speech –Antoine Duval (Asser Institute)
14:00 - 15:30 - Panel 1: Leveraging the Diplomatic Power of the Sports Governing Bodies for Human Rights

  • Lucy Amis (Unicef UK/Institute for Human Rights and Business)
  • Guido Battaglia (Centre for Sport and Human Rights)
  • Florian Kirschner (World Players Association/UNI Global Union)
  • Claire Jenkin (University of Hertfordshire)

15:30 – 16:00 - Coffee Break

16:00 - 17:30 - Panel 2: A Human Rights Dimension for the EU’s Sports Diplomacy?

  • Arnout Geeraert (Utrecht University)
  • Agata Dziarnowska (European Commission)
  • Alexandre Mestre (Sport and Citizenship)
  • Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (TBC)

17:30 - Reception

How 2019 Will Shape the International Sports Law of the 2020s - By Thomas Terraz

Editor’s note: Thomas Terraz is a fourth year LL.B. candidate at the International and European Law programme at The Hague University of Applied Sciences with a specialisation in European Law. Currently he is pursuing an internship at the T.M.C. Asser Institute with a focus on International and European Sports Law.

 

1.     Introduction

As we begin plunging into a new decade, it can be helpful to look back and reflect on some of the most influential developments and trends from 2019 that may continue to shape international sports law in 2020 and beyond. Hence, this piece will not attempt to recount every single sports law news item but rather identify a few key sports law stories of 2019 that may have a continued impact in the 2020s. The following sections are not in a particular order.More...

International and European Sports Law – Monthly Report – January 2020 - By Thomas Terraz

Editor's note: This report compiles the most relevant legal news, events and materials on International and European Sports Law based on the daily coverage provided on our twitter feed @Sportslaw_asser. 

 

The Headlines

IOC Athlete Commission releases its Rule 50 Guidelines for Tokyo 2020

The IOC Athlete Commission presented its Rule 50 Guidelines for Tokyo 2020 at its annual joint meeting with the IOC Executive Board. It comes as Thomas Bach had recently underlined the importance of political neutrality for the IOC and the Olympic Games in his New Year’s message. Generally, rule 50 of the Olympic Charter prohibits any political and religious expression by athletes and their team during the Games, subject to certain exceptions. The Guidelines clarify that this includes the ‘field of play’, anywhere inside the Olympic Village, ‘during Olympic medal ceremonies’ and ‘during the Opening, Closing and other official ceremonies’. On the other hand, athletes may express their views ‘during press conferences and interview’, ‘at team meetings’ and ‘on digital or traditional media, or on other platforms. While rule 50 is nothing new, the Guidelines have reignited a debate on whether it could be considered as a justified restriction on one’s freedom of expression.

 

The IOC has made the case that it is defending the neutrality of sport and that the Olympics is an international forum that should help bring people together instead of focusing on divisions. Specifically, Richard Pound has recently made the argument that the Guidelines have been formulated by the athletes themselves and are a justified restriction on free expression with its basis in ‘mutual respect’. However, many commentators have expressed their skepticism to this view (see here, here and here) citing that politics and the Olympics are inherently mixed, that the IOC is heavily involved in politics, and that the Olympics has often served as the grounds for some of history’s most iconic political protests. All in all, the Guidelines have certainly been a catalyst for a discussion on the extent to which the Olympics can be considered neutral. It also further highlights a divide between athlete committees from within the Olympic Movement structures and other independent athlete representation groups (see Global Athlete and FIFPro’s statements on rule 50).

 

Doping and Corruption Allegations in Weightlifting 

The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) has found itself embroiled in a doping and corruption scandal after an ARD documentary was aired early in January which raised a wide array of allegations, including against the President of the IWF, Tamás Aján. The documentary also included hidden camera interviews from a Thai Olympic medalist who admits having taken anabolic steroids before having won a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympic Games and from a team doctor from the Moldovan national team who describes paying for clean doping tests. The IWF’s initial reaction to the documentary was hostile, describing the allegations as ‘insinuations, unfounded accusations and distorted information’ and ‘categorically denies the unsubstantiated’ accusations. It further claims that it has ‘immediately acted’ concerning the situation with the Thai athletes, and WADA has stated that it will follow up with the concerned actors. However, as the matter gained further attention in the main stream media and faced increasing criticism, the IWF moved to try to ‘restore’ its reputation. In practice, this means that Tamás Aján has ‘delegated a range of operation responsibilities’ to Ursual Papandrea, IWF Vice President, while ‘independent experts’ will conduct a review of the allegations made in the ARD documentary. Richard McLaren has been announced to lead the investigation and ‘is empowered to take whatever measures he sees fit to ensure each and every allegation is fully investigated and reported’. The IWF has also stated that it will open a whistleblower line to help aid the investigation.More...


Asser International Sports Law Blog | The Russian Doping Scandal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport: The IPC’s Rio Ineligibility of Russian Paralympic Athletes

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 Russian Doping Scandal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport: The IPC’s Rio Ineligibility of Russian Paralympic Athletes

Editor's note: This blog is part of a special blog series on the Russian doping scandal at the CAS. Last year I analysed the numerous decisions rendered by the CAS ad hoc Division in Rio and earlier this year I reviewed the CAS award in the IAAF case.

Unlike the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) was very much unaffected by the Russian doping scandal until the publication of the first McLaren report in July 2016. The report highlighted that Russia’s doping scheme was way more comprehensive than what was previously thought. It extended beyond athletics to other disciplines, including Paralympic sports. Furthermore, unlike the International Olympic Committee (IOC) the IPC had a bit more time to deal with the matter, as the Rio Paralympic Games were due to start “only” in September.

After the release of the McLaren Report, the IPC president Sir Philip Craven was “truly shocked, appalled and deeply saddened at the extent of the state sponsored doping programme implemented in Russia”. He immediately announced the IPC’s intention to review the report’s findings and to act strongly upon them. Shortly thereafter, on 22 July, the IPC decided to open suspension proceedings against the National Paralympic Committee of Russia (NPC Russia) in light of its apparent inability to fulfil its IPC membership responsibilities and obligations. In particular, due to “the prevailing doping culture endemic within Russian sport, at the very highest levels, NPC Russia appears unable or unwilling to ensure compliance with and the enforcement of the IPC’s Anti-Doping Code within its own national jurisdiction”. A few weeks later, on 7 August, the IPC Governing Board decided to suspend the Russian Paralympic Committee with immediate effect “due to its inability to fulfil its IPC membership responsibilities and obligations, in particular its obligation to comply with the IPC Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Code (to which it is also a signatory)”. Indeed, these “obligations are a fundamental constitutional requirement for all National Paralympic Committees (NPCs), and are vital to the IPC’s ability to ensure fair competition and to provide a level playing field for all Para athletes around the world”. Consequently, the Russian Paralympic Committee lost all rights and privileges of IPC membership. Specifically, it was not entitled to enter athletes in competitions sanctioned by the IPC, and/or to participate in IPC activities. Thus, “the Russian Paralympic Committee will not be able to enter its athletes in the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games”.

This was an obvious blow to Russia’s Paralympic team and, as was to be expected, the RPC decided to challenge the decisions. Thanks to an agreement with the IPC, the case moved directly to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which decided in favour of the IPC on 23 August. Nonetheless, the legal battle did not end there as Russian athletes continued the fight in the German courts. In this blog I will first review the CAS award and then discuss the follow-on disputes in German courts.

 

I.              The IPC’s triumph before the CAS

At play in front of CAS was the use of clauses 9.2.2 and 9.3 of the IPC Constitution to suspend the RPC for failing to fulfil its obligations as a member. Indeed, the member’s obligation provided in clause 2 of the IPC constitution, includes the obligation “to comply with the World Anti-Doping Code”[1] and to “contribute to the creation of a drug-free sport environment for all Paralympic athletes in conjunction with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)”[2]. The RPC challenged the claim that it had failed to comply with these obligations. Furthermore, it considered that in any event the sanction applied was disproportionate.

A.    Did the RPC fail to comply with its membership obligations? 

The RPC contested in full the factual findings of the McLaren Report. Yet, the Panel held that the RPC failed to provide the necessary evidence to rebut McLaren’s factual claims. In particular, the RPC “decided not to cross-examine him although given the opportunity to do so”[3] and “did not call any athlete named by Professor McLaren as having been subject to the system he described”[4]. In other words, “Mc Laren’s evidence stands uncontradicted”[5]. However, in light of the lack of precise information, the Panel refused to conclude, like the IPC requested, that “the RPC and its Board Members were involved in, or complicit in, or knew of the existence of State sponsored doping of athletes and the methodologies as set out in the IP Report”.[6]

Nonetheless, the arbitrators also found that it is “undisputed that the RPC accepted the obligations imposed on it as a member of the IPC”, and amongst those obligations there is “the specific obligation under Article 20.1 of the WADA Code to adopt and implement anti-doping policies and rules for the Paralympic Games which conform with the WADA Code”.[7] Moreover, “the obligation vigorously to pursue all potential anti-doping rule violations within its jurisdiction and to investigate cases of doping (Article 20.4.10), are not passive”.[8] Thus, at a national level “the RPC is the responsible entity having the obligation to the IPC as well as to the IPCs’ members to ensure that no violations of the anti-doping system occur within Russia”.[9] Yet, the mere “existence of the system as described in the IP Report and in the McLaren affidavit means that the RPC breached its obligations and conditions of membership of the IPC”.[10]

Those are extremely important considerations to support the effectiveness of the world anti-doping system. In practice, the CAS is closing the door on national federations hiding behind the failure of other anti-doping bodies to deny their responsibility. If decided inversely, this would have led to a situation of organized irresponsibility, in which the bucket is simply passed over to a public institution (in Russia’s case RUSADA) that cannot be sanctioned under current anti-doping rules. Indeed, WADA declare RUSADA non compliant, but RUSADA is not a member of sporting associations, it does not enter athletes in international sporting competitions, thus SGBs would be hard pressed to find a way to impose any deterrent sanctions against it. If noncompliance is to be met with adequate sanctions, SGBs, which are tasked to supervise specific sports at national level, must bear the indirect responsibility for the systemic failure of the anti-doping system operating in their home country.

B.    Is the sanction imposed by the IPC proportionate?

As the Panel recognized from the outlet: “the more difficult question for consideration is whether the decision to suspend the RPC without reservation, or alleviation of the consequences to Russian Paralympic athletes, was proportionate”.[11] The RPC submited “that the IPC could have adopted a “softer measure” that still permitted clean Russian athletes to compete in the Paralympic Games in Rio”.[12] Furthermore, it argued, “that a blanket prohibition is not justified, as it has not been established that all para-athletes nominated by the RPC have ever been implicated in doping”.[13]

1.     Whose right are disproportionately affected?

The Panel considered first that as para-athletes are not parties to this appeal, “[q]uestions of athletes’ rights that may not derive from the RPC, but of which they themselves are the original holder, such as rights of natural justice, or personality rights, or the right to have the same opportunities to compete as those afforded to Russian Olympic athletes by the IOC in its decision of 24 July 2016 regarding the Olympic Games Rio 2016, are not for this Panel to consider”.[14] Instead, the “matter for review by this Panel is thus not the legitimacy of a “collective sanction” of athletes, but whether or not the IPC was entitled to suspend one of its (direct) members”.[15] Furthermore, “the collective member cannot hide behind those individuals that it represents” .[16]

Here the Panel adopts a relatively formalistic reasoning by denying the RPC the competence to invoke the potential rights of its athletes. This might contradict the idea that athletes bear a responsibility for the noncompliance of their national federation with the rules of an international federation as put forward by the Panel in the IAAF case. The RPC does, at least partly, represent the athletes, and there is a good case that can be made for it to be allowed to raise the potential infringements of the personality rights of its members in this procedure. It does not mean that the rights of the athletes were disproportionately affected, only that they should have been considered and not brushed aside as the Panel did in the present instance. 

2.     The (extraordinary) nature of the RPC’s regulatory failure

Unfortunately, the award’s analytical structure can lead to some confusion when dealing with the proportionality analysis of the IPC’s decision. There are two (implicit) steps that are key in the decision. First, an analysis of the depth (and consequences) of the RPC’s regulatory failure, and second an analysis of the proportionality of the sanction responding to this failure. The former will be dealt with in this section.

The Panel points out that the IPC “was faced with probative evidence of widespread systemic doping under the RPCs “watch””.[17] Moreover, as argued by the IPC, the RPC’s failure to act is even more acute in light of the IPC’s dependence on national members to implement its policies at national level. Thus, in particular, “the IPC relies on the RPC to ensure compliance in Russia with its zero tolerance anti-doping policy”.[18] More generally, “this federal system with complementary international and national obligations is the core back-bone of the fight against doping”.[19] In this context, the fact that the RPC claims that “it did not know what was happening and that it had no control over those involved in the system described by Professor McLaren does not relieve the RPC of its obligations but makes matters worse” [20]. Though it is unclear from the formulation used in this section of the award, the outcome of the case points undoubtedly to the fact that the Panel endorses the IPC’s understanding of the scope of responsibility of the RPC. Furthermore, the arbitrators insist that the “damage caused by the systemic, non-compliance is substantial” [21]. Finally, it finds again that the RPC “had a non-delegable responsibility with respect to implementing an anti-doping policy in conformity with the WADA Code in Russia”.[22] Thus, the RPC could not simply “delegate the consequences [of this responsibility] where other bodies within Russia acting as its agent implement a systemic system of doping and cover-up”.[23]

In this section of the award, the Panel recognizes, rightly in my view, that the effectiveness of the transnational regulation of international sports relies on the compliance of national federations and this is even more so in the case of the anti-doping fight.

3.     The proportionality of the sanction

The key question in the proportionality analysis was whether the sanction inflicted upon the RPC was adequate and necessary to attain its aim. The reasoning of the Panel is piecemeal and spread around a number of paragraphs of the award, which are regrettably not well connected together.

The first question is whether the IPC was pursuing a legitimate objective when imposing that sanction on the RPC. On the IPC’s own account, the sanction was considered “the only way to ensure that the system, and systematised doping, in Russia no longer continued”.[24] It adds “that it was a legitimate aim to send a message that made clear the lack of tolerance on the part of the IPC to such systemic failure in a country”.[25] The Panel recognizes that the “concern that clean athletes, inside and outside of Russia, have confidence in the ability to compete on a level playing field, and the integrity and credibility of the sporting contest, represent powerful countervailing factors to the collateral or reflexive effect on Russian athletes as a result of the suspension”[26], and constitutes “an overriding public interest that the IPC was entitled to take into account in coming to the Decision”.[27]

The second question linked to the proportionality of the sanction relates to its necessity. Was there a less restrictive alternative sanction available to attain the aim pursued? The IPC argued that the suspension of the RPC’s membership was necessary for three reasons:

  • “to provoke behavioural change (for the future) within the sphere of responsibility of the RPC”
  • “the suspension took into account that the failures in the past had resulted in a distorted playing field on an international level, because the IPC anti-doping policy was not being adequately enacted and enforced vis-à-vis para-athletes affiliated to RPC”
  • “a strong message had to be issued to restore public confidence, since the Paralympic movement depends – much more than other sports – on the identification with moral values”[28]

The Panel held that the suspension was “a powerful message to restore public confidence”. It insisted also that there “was no submission to the Panel of an alternative measure that would, comparably and effectively, restore a level playing field for the present and the immediate future, affect future behavioral change and restore public trust”.[29]

Finally, the Panel concluded that “in light of the extent of the application of the system described by Professor McLaren and his findings of the system that prevailed in Russia, made beyond reasonable doubt, the Decision to suspend the national federation was not disproportionate”.[30] Moreover, it insisted that the consequences for the athletes were following logically from the suspension of the RPC and therefore proportionate, as it had decided in the IAAF case. The Panel also brushed aside the RPC’s attempt to portray the IPC’s decision as contrary to the IOC Decision dated 24 July 2016. On the one side, it found the IOC Decision to be irrelevant for the IPC and, on the other, it considered the IPC’s suspension to be in any event compatible with the IOC Decision.


II.            The Russian appeals in the German courts

The RPC’s appeal to the Swiss Federal Tribunal failed on 30 August because it could not demonstrate its ability to fulfil its obligations with regard to the anti-doping rules of the IPC and WADA, not unlike the one of the Russian athletes and RusAF in the IAAF case,. Nor could RusAF demonstrate that its interests would override those of IPC to fight effectively against doping and protect the integrity of sport. 

Yet, interestingly, new challenges against the RPC’s suspension were quickly lodged in German courts. Indeed, as the IPC is seated in Bonn, a number of Russian athletes tried to obtain provisory judgments from the Landgericht (LG) Bonn to participate in the Rio Paralympics. These cases were appealed to the Oberlandesgericht (OLG) Düsseldorf, and even ended up in front of Germany’s constitutional court, the Bundesverfassungsgericht (BVerfG). It would have been ironical if the German courts had quashed the decision of the IPC, bearing in mind that it is the German public broadcaster (ARD) which brought the Russian doping scheme to the fore in the first place.

A.    The decisions of the LG Bonn

On 5 and 6 September the LG (first instance tribunal) Bonn rendered two judgments (available here and here) on the matter. Both rejected the claims of the Russian athletes.

The first judgment found that the athletes could not rely on any contractual claims, as no contract existed between them and the IPC. This is due to the fact that the RPC is supposed to nominate them to participate in the Paralympic Games, for the court there is no contract between the IPC and the athletes.[31] Even where the IPC foresees in its rules that it can directly nominate athletes to participate in the Paralympic Games, one cannot derive that it has a contractual duty to select the claimants. Instead, it enjoys certain discretion in doing so. However, the LG recognized that the Russian athletes’ interests are affected by the IPC’s Decision of 7 August 2016, but it also acknowledged that the IPC justified its decision by the existence of a state-run doping scheme in Russia.[32] Thus, the final decision to enter or not athletes in the Paralympic Games of Rio should be left to the IPC. The fact that the IOC applied a different regime to the Russian athletes willing to participate in the Rio Games is deemed not binding upon the IPC, as it is a separate legal entity.

The second judgment, rendered the day after, follows a very similar line of reasoning. The LG added a pointed rebuttal of the claim that the Russian athletes were discriminated against. It insisted that the other countries are not suspected of running state doping schemes.[33] The court recognized that athletes cannot easily change their nationality, but it insisted that the Olympic Games are more than any other sporting competition characterized by the fact that athletes participating are not primarily representing themselves but their home country.[34] In this context, athletes must accept to face restrictions for which they might not be personally responsible.[35] Furthermore, the ineligibility of the Russian athletes was not deemed a disproportionate restriction on the freedom to work or on the fundamental personality rights of the claimants. The LG considered that authorizing specific athletes to compete under a neutral flag would not have been a milder solution to fight against doping, as the Russian public would still have identified them as Russian.[36] Instead, as members of the RPC, the claimants must accept such a restriction to their individual rights.

The LG Bonn strongly supported the decision adopted by the IPC. The court has, as the CAS did, declined to consider the suspension of the RPC, and the ensuing ineligibility of Russian athletes for the Rio Paralympic Games, as discriminatory or disproportionate.

B.    The Appeal to the Oberlandesgericht Düsseldorf

The appeal decision of the OLG Düsseldorf is probably the most interesting of the German decisions analysed here. In the first part of its judgment, the OLG criticized harshly the Russian athletes for failing to request earlier a provisory order from the German courts. Indeed, at the time of the decision, 13 September 2016, the Paralympic Games were almost one week underway (7 September). Consequently, many (if not all) of the appellants would be unable to compete at the Games anyway, even if the court were to grant the requested order.

Yet, the core of the OLG’s ruling, and its most important contribution to the world anti-doping system, is its assessment of the balance of interests between the Russian athletes and the IPC. In a nutshell, the OLG found that the IPC’s interest in declaring the Russian athletes ineligible prevails because there is a legitimate suspicion that those athletes have been involved in doping in the previous years.[37] To come to this conclusion, the court conducted a fairly comprehensive assessment of the opposing interests. On the one side, the Russian athletes have an interest in participating in the Paralympic Games to secure economic revenues deriving primarily from sponsoring. On the other side, stands the IPC’s “fundamental interest in the organization of a fair sporting competition excluding athletes who have used doping or against which there is a strong suspicion of doping”.[38] In this case, the OLG held that the interest of the IPC for “clean” Paralympic Games prevails and justifies the rejection of the complaint.[39] For the Düsseldorf court, the personal guilt of the athletes is irrelevant, as the fact that they had the possibility to exercise their sport with the support of doping without risking to be discovered justifies in itself a general suspicion of doping against all Russian athletes.[40] Thus, the IPC can, for the preservation of the fairness of its competitions, declare them ineligible for the Paraympic Games. Only the athletes for whom it can be confidently demonstrated that they have not doped can be exempted from this exclusion.

Hence, the OLG considered that the factual constellation of the case justifies that each and every Russian Paralympian can be legitimately suspected of having been involved in doping over the recent years. Furthermore, Paralympic athletes were, as corroborated by the McLaren Report and his affidavit, also a target of the Russian doping system.[41] This suspicion cannot be rebutted by the oath taken by 68 (out of 84) of the appellants that they have not tested positive for doping in the last two years. Indeed, it cannot be demonstrated that the athletes have been subjected to non-manipulated doping tests.[42] In the end, the OLG fully endorsed the IPC’s decision to prioritize its objective of providing “clean Games” to the detriment of the interests of Russian Paralympians in participating.

C.    Final Stop at the Bundesverfassungsgericht

The next, and final stop, for the claimants was the BVerfG in Karlsruhe. The court, which rendered its ruling on 15 September, was faced with the demands of Russian athletes for a provisory order allowing them to participate (at least) to the closing ceremony of the Paralympic Games due to take place on 18 September.

The court’s balancing exercise between the interests of the IPC and those of the Russian athletes is favourable to the former. Thus, the BVerfG found that if it would grant the provisory order and later reject a related constitutional complaint, this would have irreparable consequences for the pending Paralympic competitions and closing ceremony and would send a (negative) signal to sport in general.[43] Even if, to their credit, the individual athletes are not directly involved in the state-run doping scheme unearthed by the McLaren Report, the Court believed that the decision of the IPC and the CAS to declare the whole Russian team ineligible must be respected. The entering of athletes through the national courts would intrude substantially on the autonomy of the IPC and of the CAS[44] and the deterring signal send by the RPC’s exclusion, which aims at scaring off national federations from supporting or tolerating systematic doping schemes, would be substantially weakened.[45]

Furthermore, if instead the provisory order is rejected and the Russian athletes prevail in a later constitutional complaint, the interests of the athletes to participate in the closing ceremony is still of significantly less weight than the IPC’s interest to ensure that the use of doping in sport is fought against effectively.[46] In particular, one cannot ignore that, besides one of the appellants, all the others will in any event not be able to participate to competitions which have already taken place.[47] Even for the only athlete potentially able to participate there are legitimate doubts regarding her material ability to compete in the Rio Paralympic Games. Therefore, the BVerfG rejected the appellants’ plea and definitely put an end to their hope in participating to the Rio Paralympic Games.


Conclusion

At the time of writing, the RPC is still suspended by the IPC and the second McLaren Report has corroborated with more evidence the extensive nature of the Russian doping scheme. The IPC has developed, in collaboration with WADA, a set of tough reinstatement criteria to be met by the RPC in order to be reinstated. The compliance of the RPC with the criteria will be monitored by a special taskforce. Thus, the IPC demonstrated its willingness to tackle head-on the Russian doping scheme. In doing so, it followed a radically different approach than the IOC and declared all Russian Paralympians to be ineligible.  

The CAS and the German courts later fully endorsed this approach. In fact, it seems that the national courts were even going beyond the findings of the CAS by emphasizing that there was a legitimate presumption from the side of IPC that all the Russian Paralympic athletes were doped. The CAS and the German courts also insisted that a balancing exercised between the interests of the athletes to participate in the Paralympic Games and the interests of the IPC to defend clean and doping free competitions, would be decided to the benefit of the latter. Even so athletes might not be directly responsible for the state-run doping scheme, they share the responsibility (as in the IAAF case) for the governance failures of their sports governing bodies. In the eyes of the German courts, this responsibility is reinforced by the fact that they are representing their country at the Paralympic Games.

In the end, the CAS (and the German courts) had to choose between:

  1. Burdening athletes for the systematic failure of the Russian sports governing bodies to comply with their anti-doping commitments and risk to sanction innocent athletes;
  2. or let the athletes compete and risk to jeopardize the already weak effectiveness of the world anti-doping system.

In general, this is the big fork-in-the-road question raised by the Russian scandal. On the one side, we can double down on anti-doping, beef up compliance mechanisms, and endure collateral damages: some innocent athletes. Or, on the other side, we acknowledge the total failure of the world anti-doping system as it is and de facto (or de jure) condone the use of doping in international sporting competitions. The CAS and the German courts clearly decided to follow the regulatory route, but this is only the beginning of a very long anti-doping journey.


[1] Clause 2.1.1.

[2] Clause 2.27.

[3] CAS 2016/A/4745, Russian Paralympic Committee v. International Paralympic Committee, award of 23 August 2016, para.43.

[4] Para.44.

[5] Para.43.

[6] Para. 54 and 55.

[7] Para. 56.

[8] Para. 59.

[9] Para. 60.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Para. 73

[12] Para. 76.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Para.79.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Para. 81.

[18] para. 82.

[19] Ibid.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Para. 86.

[22] Para. 86.

[23] Para. 86.

[24] Para.83.

[25] Para.84.

[26] Para.84.

[27] Para.84.

[28] Para. 88.

[29] Para.89.

[30] Para. 91.

[31] „Anders als die Antragsteller meinen, kommt allein durch die Ausrichtung der Paralympics zwischen den Parteien kein Vertragsverhältnis oder vertragliches Vorverhältnis i.S.v. § 311 Abs. 2 BGB zustande. Da die Nominierung zur Teilnahme an den Paralympics im Regelfall durch das S und nicht durch den Antragsgegner erfolgt, ist nicht ersichtlich, dass die Parteien potentielle Vertragspartner wären.“ Landgericht Bonn, 20 O 323/16, at II.

[32] „Das Gericht verkennt nicht, dass die russischen Para-Athleten durch die Entscheidung des Antragsgegners vom 07.08.2016 nachhaltig in ihren sportlichen und auch wirtschaftlichen Interessen betroffen werden. Jedoch hat der Antragsgegner seine Entscheidung nachvollziehbar mit dem Vorwurf des organisierten Staatsdopings in Russland begründet. Insoweit muss es dem Antragsgegner selbst überlassen bleiben, von seinem Recht zur Zulassung einzelner Athleten Gebrauch zu machen oder aber nicht.“ Ibid.

[33] „Soweit die Antragsteller auf eine Ungleichbehandlung im Vergleich zu den Para-Athleten aus anderen Ländern abstellen, ist dem entgegenzuhalten, dass diese anderen Länder nicht dem Verdacht des organisierten Staatsdopings unterliegen.“ Landgericht Bonn, 20 O 325/16,  at II.

[34] „Zwar haben die Antragsteller keine Möglichkeit, ihr Land oder ihren Verband zu wechseln. Jedoch werden die Olympischen Spiele sowie die Paralympics weit mehr als Weltmeisterschaften oder andere sportliche Wettkämpfe dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die Athleten an ihnen nicht nur auf eigene Rechnung, sondern vor allem für ihr Land teilnehmen.“ Ibid.

[35] „Der Charakter und die Besonderheit der Spiele können so auch dazu führen, dass der einzelne Athlet von ihm selbst nicht verschuldete Einschränkungen hinnehmen muss. Insoweit ist auch kein Verstoß gegen das Diskriminierungsverbot der §§ 19, 20 und 33 GWB zu erkennen.“ Ibid.

[36] „Die Zulassung einzelner Sportler bei Beibehaltung der Suspendierung des S wäre – als die Antragsteller meinen – nicht als milderes Mittel gleichermaßen geeignet zum Kampf gegen das Doping. Zwar liefen die russischen Para-Athleten dann nicht mit ihrer Landesfahne auf und träten dabei nicht offiziell für ihr Land auf. Sie würden aber dennoch von den Zuschauern mit ihrem Land identifiziert.“ Ibid.

[37] „Die Abwägung der widerstreitenden Interessen führt zu dem Ergebnis, dass der Antragsgegner den Antragstellern eine Teilnahme an den Paralympischen Spielen 2016 in Rio de Janeiro verwehren darf, weil der begründete Verdacht gerechtfertigt ist, dass diese Sportler in den vergangenen Jahren Doping betrieben haben.“ Oberlandesgericht Düsseldorf, VI-W (Kart) 13/16, at B.2.a.

[38] „Auf der Seite des Antragsgegners, der die Paralympischen Spiele 2016 veranstaltet, steht demgegenüber das fundamentale Interesse, einen fairen und sportlichen Wettkampf zu gewährleisten und alle diejenigen Sportler von den Spielen fernzuhalten, die entweder des Dopings überführt sind oder gegen die der hinreichend begründete Verdacht des Dopings besteht.“ Ibid., at B.2.a.bb.(2).

[39] „Im Streitfall führt das überragende Interesse des Antragsgegners an „sauberen“ Paralympischen Spielen zu dem Ergebnis, dass die streitbefangenen Zulassungsbegehren abzulehnen waren.“ Ibid., at B.2.a.bb.(3).

[40] „Diese ein Doping begünstigenden Rahmenbedingungen rechtfertigen gegen alle Athleten, die unter dem System trainiert haben, einen Dopingverdacht.“ Ibid.

[41] Ibid., at B.2.a.bb.(3) (3.1)..

[42] Ibid., at B.2.a.bb.(3) (3.3)..

[43] „Würde die beantragte einstweilige Anordnung ergehen, die noch zu erhebende Verfassungsbeschwerde aber später erfolglos bleiben, hätte dies erhebliche Auswirkungen für die noch ausstehenden Wettkämpfe und die Durchführung der Abschlussfeier der Paralympischen Spiele am 18. September 2016 in Rio de Janeiro und eine Signalwirkung nicht nur für paralympischen Sport, sondern für den Sport insgesamt.“BVerfG, Beschluss der 2. Kammer des Ersten Senats vom 15. September 2016, 1 BvQ 38/16, at II.3.a).

[44] „Eine Zulassung einzelner Athletinnen und Athleten durch die staatlichen Gerichte griffe erheblich in die Verbandsautonomie des IPC und der internationalen Sportgerichtsbarkeit ein.“ Ibid.

[45] „Die mit dem Ausschluss des RPC von den Paralympischen Spielen beabsichtigte Signalwirkung, die insbesondere nationale Sportverbände von der Duldung, Unterstützung oder Organisation systematischen Dopings abschrecken soll, würde erheblich beeinträchtigt.“ Ibid.

[46] „Zwar erscheint das Interesse der Antragstellerinnen und des Antragstellers auch dann durchaus gewichtig, wenn ihnen nur die Teilnahme an der Abschlusszeremonie am 18. September 2016 möglich sein sollte. Im Vergleich zu dem Interesse des IPC, den Einsatz von Dopingmitteln im Sport nachhaltig und effektiv zu bekämpfen, hat dies jedoch deutlich weniger Gewicht.“ Ibid., at II.3.b).

[47] „Zudem kann nicht unberücksichtigt bleiben, dass - abgesehen allenfalls von der Antragstellerin zu 5) - die übrigen Antragstellerinnen und der Antragsteller wegen des inzwischen weitgehend durchgeführten Gesamtprogramms der aktuellen Paralympischen Spiele nicht mehr an den sportlichen Wettkämpfen teilnehmen können und ihnen damit insoweit nur noch ein bloßer Zuschauerstatus zukommen könnte, den sie auch ohne Erlass der einstweiligen Anordnung wahrnehmen können.“ Ibid.

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