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.
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.
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
- Prof. Mark James (Metropolitan Manchester University)
- Chui Ling Goh (PhD candidate, University of Melbourne)
- David Grevemberg (Centre for Sport and Human Rights)
Free Registration HERE
On Wednesday 26 May 2021 from 16.00-17.00 CET, the Asser International Sports Law Centre, in collaboration with Dr Marjolaine Viret (University of Lausanne), is organising its fifth Zoom In webinar on the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) from the perspective of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR).
We have the pleasure to be joined by Prof. Helen Keller, former Judge at the ECtHR and a prominent dissenter to the majority’s ruling in the Mutu and Pechstein case.
The ECtHR decision
in the Mutu and Pechstein case rendered on 2 October 2018 is widely
seen as one of the most important European sports law rulings. It was
also the first decision of the Strasbourg court dealing with a case in
which the CAS had issued an award. The applicants, Adrian Mutu and
Claudia Pechstein, were both challenging the compatibility of CAS
proceedings with the procedural rights enshrined in Article 6(1) of the
European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The court famously declined
to conclude that the CAS lacked independence or impartiality, but did
find that, insofar as Claudia Pechstein was concerned, she was forced to
undergo CAS arbitration and, therefore, that CAS proceedings had to
fully comply with the procedural rights guaranteed in the ECHR. In
particular, the court held that the refusal by CAS to hold a public
hearing, in spite of Claudia Pechstein’s express request, was contrary
to Article 6(1) ECHR. Beyond this case, as highlighted by the recent
decision of Caster Semenya to submit an application
to the ECtHR, the decision opens the way for a more systematic
intervention of the Strasbourg court in assessing the human rights
compatibility of CAS awards and more broadly of the transnational sports
regulations imposed by international sports governing bodies.
Prof. Helen Keller will discuss with us the
implications of the ECtHR’s Mutu and Pechstein decision and the
potential for future interventions by the court in the realm of the lex sportiva.
The webinar will take the form of an interview followed by a short Q&A open to the digital public.
Please note the discussion will NOT be recorded and posted on our Youtube channel.
The mercato, or transfer window, is for some the most
exciting time in the life of a football fan. During this narrow period
each summer and winter (for the Europeans), fantastic football teams are
made or taken apart. What is less often known, or grasped is that
behind the breaking news of the latest move to or from your favourite
club lies a complex web of transnational rules, institutions and
Our new intensive two-day Masterclass aims to provide a comprehensive
understanding of the FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of
Players (RSTP) to a small group of dedicated legal
professionals who have the ambition to advise football clubs, represent
players or join football governing bodies. The course combines theoretical
insights on FIFA’s regulation of the transfer market with practical
know-how of the actual operation of the RSTP distilled by hands-on practitioners.
Download the full Programme and register HERE.
- Dr Antoine Duval is a senior researcher at the Asser Institute and the head of the Asser International Sports Law Centre. He has widely published and lectured on transnational sports law, sports arbitration and the interaction between EU law and sport. He is an avid football fan and football player and looks forward to walking you through the intricacies of the FIFA transfer system.
- Carol Couse is a Partner in the sports team at Mills & Reeve LLP , with extensive in-house and in private practice experience of dealing with sports regulatory matters, whether contentious or non-contentious. She has advised on many multi million pound international football transfer agreements, playing contracts and image rights agreements on behalf clubs, players and agents.
- Jacques Blondin is an Italian lawyer, who joined FIFA inundefined 2015, working for the Disciplinary Department. In 2019, he was appointed Head of FIFA TMS (now called FIFA Regulatory Enforcement) where he is responsible, among other things, for ensuring compliance in international transfers within the FIFA Transfer Matching System.
- Oskar van Maren joined FIFA as a Legal Counsel in December 2017, forming part of the Knowledge Management Hub, a department created in September 2020. Previously, he worked for FIFA’s Players' Status Department. Between April 2014 and March 2017, he worked as a Junior Researcher at the T.M.C. Asser Instituut. He holds an LL.M in European law from Leiden University (The Netherlands).
- Rhys Lenarduzzi is currently a research intern at the Asser International Sports Law Centre, where he focuses in particular on the transnational regulation of football. Prior to this, he acquired over 5 years of experience as a sports agent and consultant, at times representing over 50 professional athletes around the world from various sports, though predominantly football.
On Wednesday 31 March 2021 from 16.00-17.30 CET, the Asser International Sports Law Centre, in collaboration with Dr Marjolaine Viret (University of Lausanne), is organising its fourth Zoom In webinar
on the recent developments arising from the decision of the Swiss
Federal Tribunal (SFT) in the case Caster Semenya v. International
Association of Athletics Federations (now World Athletics), delivered on
25 August 2020.
The participation of athletes with
biological sex differences to international competitions is one of the
most controversial issues in transnational sports law. In particular,
since 2019, Caster Semenya, an Olympic champion from South-Africa has
been challenging the World Athletics eligibility rules for Athletes with Differences of Sex Development
(DSD Regulation), which would currently bar her from accessing international competitions (such as the Tokyo Olympics) unless she accepts to undergo medical treatment aimed at
reducing her testosterone levels. In April 2019, the Court of
Arbitration for Sport rejected her challenge against the DSD Regulation
in a lengthy award.
In response, Caster Semenya and the South African Athletics Federation filed
an application to set aside the award before the Swiss Federal Tribunal.
In August 2020, the SFT released its decision rejecting Semenya’s challenge of the award (for an extensive commentary of the ruling see Marjolaine Viret’s article on the Asser International Sports Law Blog).
Recently, on 25 February 2021, Caster Semenya announced her decision to lodge an application
at the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) against Switzerland on
the basis of this judgment. In this context, we thought it important to
organise a Zoom In webinar around the decision of the SFT and
the pending case before the ECtHR. Indeed, should the ECtHR accept the
case, it will be in a position to provide a definitive assessment of the
human rights compatibility of the DSD Regulation. Moreover, this
decision could have important consequences on the role played by human
rights in the review of the private regulations and decisions of
international sports governing bodies.
Participation is free, register HERE.
On Thursday 25 February 2021 from 16.00-17.30 CET, the Asser International Sports Law Centre, in collaboration with Dr Marjolaine Viret (University of Lausanne), organizes a Zoom In webinar
on the recent award of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in the
case World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) v. Russian Anti-Doping Agency
(RUSADA), delivered on 17 December 2020.
In its 186 pages decision
the CAS concluded that RUSADA was non-compliant with the World
Anti-Doping Code (WADC) in connection with its failure to procure the
delivery of the authentic LIMS data (Laboratory Information Management
System) and underlying analytical data of the former Moscow Laboratory
to WADA. However, the CAS panel did not endorse the entire range of
measures sought by WADA to sanction this non-compliance. It also reduced
the time frame of their application from four to two years. The award
has been subjected to a lot of public attention and criticisms, and some
have expressed the view that Russia benefited from a lenient
This edition of our Zoom in webinars will focus on assessing the
impact of the award on the world anti-doping system. More specifically,
we will touch upon the decision’s effect on the capacity of WADA to
police institutionalized doping systems put in place by certain states,
the ruling’s regard for the rights of athletes (Russian or not), and its
effect on the credibility of the world anti-doping system in the eyes
of the general public.
To discuss the case with us, we are very happy to welcome the following speakers:
Participation is free, register HERE.
On Wednesday 20 January 2021 from 16.00-17.30 CET, the Asser International Sports Law Centre, in collaboration with Dr Marjolaine Viret, is organising a Zoom In webinar
on the recent judgment of the General Court in the case International
Skating Union (ISU) v European Commission, delivered on 16 December
2016. The Court ruled on an appeal against the first-ever antitrust
prohibition decision on sporting rules adopted by the European
Commission. More specifically, the case concerned the ISU’s eligibility
rules, which were prohibiting speed skaters from competing in
non-recognised events and threatened them with lifelong bans if they did
(for more details on the origin of the case see this blog).
The ruling of the General Court, which endorsed the majority of the
European Commission’s findings, could have transformative implications
for the structure of sports governance in the EU (and beyond).
We have the pleasure to welcome three renowned experts in EU
competition law and sport to analyse with us the wider consequences of
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 recording of our first discussion on the arbitral award
delivered by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in the Blake
Leeper v. International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) case
on the Asser Institute’s Youtube Channel. Click here to learn more about the Zoom In webinar series.
Our Slovenian friends (and former colleague) Tine Misic and Blaž Bolcar are organising the second edition of the Sports Law Arbitration Moot (SLAM).
The best four teams of the SLAM competition will compete in the finals, which will be held in Ljubljana, Slovenia, on 30th and 31st March, 2021.
This is a great opportunity for students to familiarise themselves with the world of sports arbitration, to meet top lawyers and arbitrators in the field, and to visit beautiful Ljubljana.
Go for it!
You'll find more information and can register at https://sportlex.si/slam/en
Human rights and
Human rights issues are taking the
headlines in the sporting world at present. A short time ago, Caster Semenya’s appeal
at the Swiss Federal Tribunal against the CAS decision was dismissed, perhaps
raising more questions than answering them. Within the last few days however, the
message from the Semenya camp has been that this is not over (see
here). See the contributions from a range of authors
International Sports Law Blog for a comprehensive analysis of the Semenya case(s) to date.
As the sporting world heard of the
execution of Iranian Wrestler Navid Afkari, a multitude of legal and ethical questions
bubbled to the surface. Not least of all and not a new question: what is the
responsibility of sport and the governing bodies therein, in the space of human
rights? And, if an athlete is to acquire
a high profile through sporting excellence, does that render athletes
vulnerable to be made an example of and therefore in need of greater protection
than is currently afforded to them? There are differing views on how to
proceed. Consider the following from the World Players Association (Navid
Afkari: How sport must respond) and that from the IOC (IOC
Statement on the execution of wrestler Navid Afkari) which shows no indication through this press
releases and other commentary, of undertaking the measures demanded by World
Players Association and other socially active organisations. (See also, Benjamin
Weinthal - Olympics
refuses to discuss Iranian regime’s murder of wrestler).
As this is written and relevant to
the above, Yelena Leuchanka is behind bars for her participation in protests, resulting
in several sporting bodies calling for her immediate release and for reform in
the sporting world around how it ought to deal with these issues. As a member
of the “Belarus women's national basketball team, a former player at several
WNBA clubs in the United States and a two-time Olympian”, Leuchanka has quite
the profile and it is alleged that she is being made an example of. (see
Uighur Muslims and Beijing Winter
British Foreign Secretary, Dominic
Raab does not rule out Winter Olympics boycott over Uighur Muslims. ‘The
foreign secretary said it was his "instinct to separate sport from
diplomacy and politics" but that there "comes a point where that
might not be possible".’ Though Raab’s comments are fresh, this issue is
shaping as a “watch this space” scenario, as other governments might echo a
similar sentiment as a result of mounting pressure from human rights activist
groups and similar, in lead up to the Winter Games. More...