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 Pechstein ruling of the OLG München - A Rough Translation

The Pechstein decision of the Oberlandesgericht of Munich is “ground-breaking”, “earth-shaking”, “revolutionary”, name it. It was the outmost duty of a “German-reading” sports lawyer to translate it as fast as possible in order to make it available for the sports law community at large (Disclaimer: This is not an official translation and I am no certified legal translator). Below you will find the rough translation of the ruling (the full German text is available here), it is omitting solely the parts, which are of no direct interest to international sports law.

The future of CAS is in the balance and this ruling should trigger some serious rethinking of the institutional set-up that underpins it. As you will see, the ruling is not destructive, the Court is rather favourable to the function of CAS in the sporting context, but it requires a fundamental institutional reshuffling. It also offers a fruitful legal strategy to challenge CAS awards that could be used in front of any national court of the EU as it is based on reasoning analogically applicable to article 102 TFEU (on abuse of a dominant position), which is valid across the EU’s territory.

Enjoy the read! 

Antoine

PS: The translation can also be downloaded at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2561297

 More...




From Veerpalu to Lalluka: ‘one step forward, two steps back’ for CAS in dealing with Human Growth Hormone tests (by Thalia Diathesopoulou)

In autumn 2011, the Finnish cross-country skier Juha Lalluka, known as a “lone-wolf” because of his training habit, showed an adverse analytical finding with regard to human growth hormone (hGH). The timing was ideal. As the FINADA Supervisory Body in view of the A and B positive samples initiated disciplinary proceedings against Lalluka for violation of anti-doping rules, the Veerpalu case was pending before the CAS. At the athlete’s request, the Supervisory Board postponed the proceedings until the CAS rendered the award in the Veerpalu case. Indeed, on 25 March 2013, the CAS shook the anti-doping order: it cleared Andrus Veerpalu of an anti-doping rule violation for recombinant hGH (rhGH) on the grounds that the decision limits set by WADA to define the ratio beyond which the laboratories should report the presence of rhGH had not proven scientifically reliable.

The Veerpalu precedent has become a rallying flag for athletes suspected of use of hGH and confirmed some concerns raised about the application of the hGH test. Not surprisingly, Sinkewitz and Lallukka followed the road that Veerpalu paved and sought to overturn their doping ban by alleging the scientific unreliability of the hGH decisions limits. Without success, however. With the full text of the CAS award on the Lallukka case released a few weeks ago[1] and the new rules of the 2015 WADA Code coming into force, we grasp the opportunity to outline the ambiguous approach of CAS on the validity of the hGH test. In short: Should the Veerpalu case and its claim that doping sanctions should rely on scientifically well founded assessments be considered as a fundamental precedent or as a mere exception? More...

State Aid and Sport: does anyone really care about rugby? By Beverley Williamson

There has been a lot of Commission interest in potential state aid to professional football clubs in various Member States.  The huge sums of money involved are arguably an important factor in this interest and conversely, is perhaps the reason why state aid in rugby union is not such a concern. But whilst the sums of money may pale into comparison to those of professional football, the implications for the sport are potentially no less serious.

At the end of the 2012/2013 season, Biarritz Olympique (Biarritz) were relegated from the elite of French Rugby Union, the Top 14 to the Pro D2.  By the skin of their teeth, and as a result of an injection of cash from the local council (which amounted to 400,000€), they were spared administrative relegation to the amateur league below, the Fédérale 1, which would have occurred as a result of the financial state of the club.More...

State aid in Croatia and the Dinamo Zagreb case

Introduction

The year 2015 promises to be crucial, and possibly revolutionary, for State aid in football. The European Commission is taking its time in concluding its formal investigations into alleged State aid granted to five Dutch clubs and several Spanish clubs, including Valencia CF and Real Madrid, but the final decisions are due for 2015.

A few months ago, the Commission also received a set of fresh State aid complaints originating from the EU’s newest Member State Croatia. The complaints were launched by a group of minority shareholders of the Croatian football club Hajduk Split, who call themselves Naš Hajduk. According to Naš Hajduk, Hajduk Split’s eternal rival, GNK Dinamo Zagreb, has received more than 30 million Euros in unlawful aid by the city of Zagreb since 2006.More...

“The Odds of Match Fixing – Facts & Figures on the integrity risk of certain sports bets”. By Ben Van Rompuy

Media reports and interested stakeholders often suggest that certain types of sports bets would significantly increase the risks of match fixing occurring. These concerns also surface in policy discussions at both the national and European level. Frequently calls are made to prohibit the supply of “risky” sports bets as a means to preserve the integrity of sports competitions.

Questions about the appropriateness of imposing such limitations on the regulated sports betting, however, still linger. The lack of access to systematic empirical evidence on betting-related match fixing has so far limited the capacity of academic research to make a proper risk assessment of certain types of sports bets. 

The ASSER International Sports Law Centre has conducted the first-ever study that assesses the integrity risks of certain sports bets on the basis of quantitative empirical evidence. 

We uniquely obtained access to key statistics from Sportradar’s Fraud Detection System (FDS). A five-year dataset of football matches worldwide, which the FDS identified as likely to have been targeted by match fixers, enabled us to observe patterns and correlations with certain types of sports bets. In addition, representative samples of football bets placed with sports betting operator Betfair were collected and analysed. 

The results presented in this report, which challenge several claims about the alleged risks generated by certain types of sports bets, hope to inform policy makers about the cost-effectiveness of imposing limits on the regulated sports betting offer.More...

The Pechstein ruling of the Oberlandesgericht München - Time for a new reform of CAS?

Editor's note (13 July 2015): We (Ben Van Rompuy and I) have just published on SSRN an article on the Pechstein ruling of the OLG. It is available at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2621983. Feel free to download it and to share any feedback with us!


On 15 January 2015, the earth must have been shaking under the offices of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne when the Oberlandesgericht München announced its decision in the Pechstein case. If not entirely unpredictable, the decision went very far (further than the first instance) in eroding the legal foundations on which sports arbitration rests. It is improbable (though not impossible) that the highest German civil court, the Bundesgerichtshof (BGH), which will most likely be called to pronounce itself in the matter, will entirely dismiss the reasoning of the Oberlandesgericht. This blogpost is a first examination of the legal arguments used (Disclaimer: it is based only on the official press release, the full text of the ruling will be published in the coming months).More...



In blood we trust? The Kreuziger Biological Passport Case. By Thalia Diathesopoulou

Over the last twenty years, professional cycling has developed the reputation of one of the “most drug soaked sports in the world”.[1] This should not come as a surprise. The sport’s integrity has plummeted down due to an unprecedented succession of doping scandals. La crème de la crème of professional cyclists has been involved in doping incidents including Tyler Hamilton, Floyd Landis, Alejandro Valverde and Lance Armstrong. The once prestigious Tour de France has been stigmatized as a race of “pharmacological feat, not a physical one”.[2]

In view of these overwhelming shadows, in 2008, the International Cycling Union (UCI), in cooperation with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) took a leap in the fight against doping. It became the first International Sports Federation to implement a radical new anti-doping program known as the Athlete Biological Passport (ABP).[3] More...

A Question of (dis)Proportion: The CAS Award in the Luis Suarez Biting Saga

The summer saga surrounding Luis Suarez’s vampire instincts is long forgotten, even though it might still play a role in his surprisingly muted football debut in FC Barcelona’s magic triangle. However, the full text of the CAS award in the Suarez case has recently be made available on CAS’s website and we want to grasp this opportunity to offer a close reading of its holdings. In this regard, one has to keep in mind that “the object of the appeal is not to request the complete annulment of the sanction imposed on the Player” (par.33). Instead, Suarez and Barcelona were seeking to reduce the sanction imposed by FIFA. In their eyes, the four-month ban handed out by FIFA extending to all football-related activities and to the access to football stadiums was excessive and disproportionate. Accordingly, the case offered a great opportunity for CAS to discuss and analyse the proportionality of disciplinary sanctions based on the FIFA Disciplinary Code (FIFA DC).  More...

The International Sports Law Digest – Issue II – July-December 2014

I. Literature


1. Antitrust/Competition Law and Sport

G Basnier, ‘Sports and competition law: the case of the salary cap in New Zealand rugby union’, (2014) 14 The International Sports Law Journal 3-4, p.155

R Craven, ‘Football and State aid: too important to fail?’ (2014) 14 The International Sports Law Journal 3-4, p.205

R Craven, ‘State Aid and Sports Stadiums: EU Sports Policy or Deference to Professional Football (2014) 35 European Competition Law Review Issue 9, 453


2. Intellectual Property Rights in Sports law / Betting rights/ Spectators’ rights/ Sponsorship Agreements

Books

W T Champion and K DWillis, Intellectual property law in the sports and entertainment industries (Santa Barbara, California; Denver, Colorado; Oxford, England: Praeger 2014)

J-M Marmayou and F Rizzo, Les contrats de sponsoring sportif (Lextenso éditions 2014) 

More...






Time to Cure FIFA’s Chronic Bad Governance Disease

 After Tuesday’s dismissal of Michael Garcia’s complaint against the now infamous Eckert statement synthetizing (misleadingly in his eyes) his Report on the bidding process for the World Cup 2018 and 2022, Garcia finally decided to resign from his position as FIFA Ethics Committee member. On his way out, he noted: “No independent governance committee, investigator, or arbitration panel can change the culture of an organization”. It took Garcia a while to understand this, although others faced similar disappointments before. One needs only to remember the forgotten reform proposals of the Independent Governance Committee led by Prof. Dr. Mark Pieth. More...

Asser International Sports Law Blog | International and European Sports Law – Monthly Report – October 2016. By Kester Mekenkamp.

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 – October 2016. By Kester Mekenkamp.

Editor’s note: This report compiles all relevant news, events and materials on International and European Sports Law based on the daily coverage provided on our twitter feed @Sportslaw_asser. You are invited to complete this survey via the comments section below, feel free to add links to important cases, documents and articles we might have overlooked.  


The Headlines
We are looking for an International Sports Law Intern (with a particular interest in the CAS)! More information can be found here.


The (terrible) State of the World Anti-Doping System

The fight against doping is still on top of the agenda after the Russian doping scandal. The national anti-doping organizations (NADOs) have reiterated their call for an in depth reform of the World Anti-Doping Agency at a special summit in Bonn, Germany. These reforms are deemed urgent and necessary to “restore confidence of clean athletes and those who value the integrity of sport” and secure “the public’s desire for a fair and level playing field”. The NADOs propose, amongst others things, to separate the investigatory, testing and results management functions from sports organizations, and to remove sports administrators from crucial anti-doping executive functions. They insist that “no decision maker within an anti-doping organization should hold a board, officer, or other policy-making position within a sport or event organizer”. WADA welcomed the reform proposals and pledged to discuss them at the upcoming meeting of the foundation board. The necessity of such a reform, or at least of improving the effectiveness of the anti-doping system, has been highlighted (again!) by the release of WADA’s Report of the Independent Observers concerning the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. The reports point out that “the logistical arrangements made by Rio 2016 to support the sample collection process at official venues during the Games suffered from a number of serious failings”. These “foreseeable and entirely avoidable” logistical issues resulted in a strained sample collection process. On the way forward to reform WADA you can read some ASSER proposals in a recent policy brief by our Senior Researcher Antoine Duval. 


The Sharapova CAS award

Everything related to Maria Sharapova is necessarily making a lot of noise. Unsurprisingly, the CAS award on her positive doping test to Meldonium has attracted a lot of media attention. The decision in the dispute between Maria Sharapova and the International Tennis Federation (ITF) reduced the period of her suspension by nine months. The Russian tennis star had, during the Australian Open in January 2016, tested positive for the presence of Meldonium. A substance which had, for the first time, been put on WADA’s prohibited list in 2016. Subsequently, Sharapova announced she had been taking Mildronate tablets that had been prescribed by her doctor for many years. As her medical team “had failed to notice” that Meldonium was included on the list of prohibited substances, Sharapova claimed to be unaware that she committed a violation of an anti-doping rule. The CAS Panel shortened the period of ineligibility from the initial period of two years (imposed by the ITF’s judicial body) to fifteen months. It emphasized that the case turned on “the degree of fault that can be imputed to the player for her failure to make sure that the substance contained in a product that she had been taking over a long period remained in compliance with the anti-doping rules”. Given that her ban started on 26 January 2016, Sharapova will already be back in action late spring 2017. This ASSER International Sports Law blog by Marjolaine Viret, triggered by the Sharapova case, tackles the specific questions of the athletes (ir)responsibilities when taking medication. To what extent should they consult experts before taking a medication and to what extent can we assume that they are sufficiently qualified to assess the doping consequences of a specific product. .


The Bundesgerichtshof’s ruling in the SV Wilhelmshaven case

The ruling by Germany’s Highest Civil Court in the SV Wilhelmshaven case challenging FIFA’s training compensation system has been released. The BGH sided with the club but declined to pronounce itself on the compatibility of the FIFA regulations with EU law and on the validity of the original CAS award. The Asser International Sports Law Centre together with the Dutch Federation of Professional Football Clubs (FBO) organized a high-level conference on the case. You can read the conference report here.


New developments regarding State aid in sport

Real Madrid claim to have returned the State aid of €20.3 million it illegally received from the municipality of Madrid through various land transactions. However, the Spanish giants have also underlined that it is seeking annulment of the Commission’s decision at the Court of Justice of the EU, meaning that the saga continues despite the repayment.

The “Real Madrid appeal” has not yet been registered officially with the CJEU, contrary to the appeals launched by Athletic Club de Bilbao and Valencia CF respectively. Bilbao’s appeal concerns the Commission’s conclusion that Spain’s corporate tax system was selectively favourable for the clubs Athletic Club Bilbao, Osasuna, FC Barcelona and Real Madrid CF in comparison to the other clubs in Spain. At this moment it is still unknown whether the other clubs will join the appeal. More information on this State aid decision can be found in the blog written by Oskar van Maren.

In addition to its action for annulment, Valencia CF also launched proceedings for interim measures which aim to suspend the repayment of the aid until the General Court decides in the main proceedings. In parallel, the Spanish public authority responsible for ordering the return of the State aid from Valencia CF, i.e. the government of the autonomous region of Valencia, has asked the Commission to prolong the deadline for the return of the aid. These two requests need to be read in light of Valencia CF’s current financial situation. Its obligation to repay more than €23 million could well mean the bankruptcy of the Champions League finalist of 2000 and 2001.

Our in-house State aid and sport expert, Oskar van Maren, will dissect all the decisions of this year in a special lecture (State aid in Football: The year of the European Commission) on 24 November. 


Just Published! The Yearbook of International Sports Arbitration

Senior Researcher and head of ASSER International Sports Law Centre, Antoine Duval, has just published with CAS expert (and lawyer) Antonio Rigozzi a new Yearbook of International Sports Arbitration (the 2015 edition is available here). This is the first ever academic publication aiming to offer comprehensive coverage, on a yearly basis, of the most recent and salient developments regarding international sports arbitration, through a combination of general articles and case notes.


Case law

CAS

CAS 2016/A/4643 Maria Sharapova v. International Tennis Federation

CAS 2016/O/4684 The Russian Olympic Committee (“ROC”), [Russian Athletes] v. The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF)


EU

EU Commission State Aid SA.44439 (2016/N) – Sporting Arena Cork – Ireland


IOC

IOC Disciplinary Commission decision regarding Anna Chicherova

IOC Disciplinary Commission decision regarding Tatyana Lysenko


Wilhelmshaven ruling

Bundesgerichtshof Urteil vom 20. September 2016 - II ZR 25/15 - OLG Bremen LG Bremen


Other

Doyen’s Appeal to FIFA’s TPO ban before Paris court 


Official documents and Press releases

CAS list of hearing November and December

CAS The Court of Arbitration for Sport Reduces the ban of Maria Sharapova to fifteen months

CAS Essendon Case: The appeal filed by 34 players is not entertained by the Swiss Federal Tribunal

CAS The Court of Arbitration for Sport issues decisions in the case of five Russian racewalkers

CAS IAAF appeal upheld – Rita Jeptoo suspended for four years by the Court of Arbitration for Sport

CIES Football Observatory Monthly Report n°18 - October 2016, “Recruitment strategies throughout Europe”

Commentary by the Spanish anti-doping agency AEPSAD on the whereabouts High Court decision (in Spanish)

European Parliament Committee on Culture and Education on an integrated approach to Sport Policy: good governance, accessibility and integrity (2016/2143(INI))

FIFA Several football associations sanctioned after discriminatory and unsporting conduct of fans

FIFA President Infantino provides update on steps taken to improve governance and compliance as well as football development efforts

Spanish FA sanctioned for international transfers of minors

IAAF Ethics Board Statement on preliminary investigations into ‘brown envelope’ rumours surrounding bid for 2017 World Championships

IOC Declaration of the 5th Olympic Summit Protecting clean athletes is an absolute priority for the entire Olympic Movement

NADA-Statement zum 5. Olympic Summit

UK Parliament Culture, Media and Sport Committee, The Governance of Football inquiry

WADA Statement regarding Maria Sharapova CAS decision

WADA statement regarding Olympic Summit

WADA Compliance Review Committee Update

WADA Statement by Richard H. McLaren, Independent Person, Concerning Release of his Investigation Report, Part II

WADA Report of the Independent Observers, Games of the XXXI Olympiad, Rio de Janeiro 2016

WADA statement regarding renewed NADO anti-doping reform proposals 


In the news

Doping

AP, New WADA director general Olivier Niggli anticipates more state-sponsored doping

Nick Butler, Exclusive: IOC Medical Commission chair calls for more Government funding for WADA

Nick Butler, WADA report is microcosm of everything wrong with Rio 2016 and IOC

Causa Sport, „Fall Scharapowa“: Unachtsamkeit schützt vor (Doping-)Strafe

George Georgakopoulos, Greece lags in doping tests and would need assistance

David Millar, How to Get Away With Doping

Michael Pavitt, New testing authority within WADA proposed at Olympic Summit

Sport Leaks and Doping Leaks

Luis Torres Montero, Claves de la reducción de la sanción a Sharapova: análisis del reciente laudo del TAS

Jonathan Sachse and Daniel Drepper, Wie VfB Stuttgart und SC Freiburg Doping organisierten

Thorhild Widvey, WADA Must Be Reinforced and Publicly Supported 


Football

Vivek Chaudhary, FIFA's Gianni Infantino may face Ethics Committee investigation

Willem Feenstra, FIFA charged with complicity in human rights violations Qatar

Keir Radnedge, Infantino talks a good game about Fifa reform, but can he deliver?

Mike Ticher, Human error is part of football and video refereeing will solve nothing  


Ice Skating

Ernst Bouwes, De internationale sportweek van S&S: EU geeft schaatsers gelijk in 'Ice-derby'-zaak

Causa Sport, Kartellverfahren gegen den internationalen Eislaufverband ISU: Das „Ein-Platz-Prinzip“ vor dem Aus? 


Other

Brittany Bronson, Politicians Place a Bet on a Stadium, and Vegas Pays for It

Juliet Macur, Long Before Kaepernick, There Was Navratilova

Rebecca Ruiz, Russia Sports Minister Promoted to Deputy Prime Minister 


Academic materials

Antoine Duval, Tackling Doping Seriously - Reforming the World Anti-Doping System after the Russian Scandal

Despina Mavromati, Application of the 2015 WADA Code through the Example of a recent CAS Award (Sharapova v. ITF)

Despina Mavromati, The Role of the Swiss Federal Tribunal and Its Impact on the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS)

Mordehai Mironi, The promise of mediation in sport-related disputes

Michal Radvan and Jan Neckář, Taxation of Professional Team Sport Athletes in the Czech Republic


Books

Antoine Duval and Antonio Rigozzi, Yearbook of International Sports Arbitration 2015 


Blogs

Richard Bush, Best practice for Sports Governing Bodies when dealing with individual complainants: Part 1 - Internal procedure and Part 2 - Guidelines for legal teams

Sean Cottrell and Mark Hovell, Life as a CAS arbitrator at the Rio Olympic Games

Sean Cottrell, Protecting the integrity of the Rugby World Cup - Ben Rutherford, Senior Legal Counsel and Integrity Unit Manager at World Rugby

Sean Cottrell, Nick De Marco, Nick Tsatsas and Richard Berry, How does the transfer market influence the integrity of football?

Nick De Marco, “Football for Sale” - What is the problem, and what are the solutions?

Antoine Duval and Kester Mekenkamp, De- or Re-regulating the middlemen? The DFB’s regulation of intermediaries under EU law scrutiny at the OLG Frankfurt

Jon Elphick, How athletes will be affected by the UK’s changes to “non-dom” tax rules

Alex Haffner and Krish Mistry, The law on banning athletes from competing in rival sports leagues

Philip Hutchinson, Who shoulders the blame? An analysis of vicarious liability in the sports industry

Interpol Integrity in Sport Bi-Weekly Bulletin - 3-16 October 2016 and 17-31 October 2016

Christian Keidel and Alexander Engelhard, How the Bundesliga’s new “no single buyer” rule has increased the broadcasting revenue for German football

Saurabh Mishra, Important lessons for athletes on doping sabotage: A review of WADA v. Narsingh Yadav

Laura McCallum, An overview of key case law relating to negligent liability for sports injuries (Part 1) and (Part 2)

Alice McDonald, Footballers facing tax fines: who is responsible for inaccurate tax returns?

Marine Montejo, Case note: TAS 2016/A/4474 Michel Platini c. Fédération Internationale de Football Association

Michael Rueda, What is next for NCAA student-athletes? From O'Bannon onto Jenkins

Ralph Russo, Although NCAA loses its appeal, future still hazy

Luke Sayer, Possible ways the Therapeutic Use Exemptions system can be improved to prevent abuse

Zane Shihab and Nick Bitel, What effects have FIFA’s Intermediaries Regulations had on player representation and commission levels?

The Swiss Ramble, Arsenal - New Sensation

The Swiss Ramble, Borussia Dortmund - The Sound Of The Crowd

The Swiss Ramble, Manchester City - My Aim Is True

The Swiss Ramble, Stoke City - But I'm Different Now

Oskar van Maren, Case note: State aid Decision on the preferential corporate tax treatment of Real Madrid, Athletic Bilbao, Osasuna and FC Barcelona

Ben Van Rompuy, What can EU competition law do for speed skaters?

Marjolaine Viret , Taking the Blue Pill or the Red Pill: Should Athletes Really Check their Medications against the Prohibited List Personally? 


Upcoming events

18 November - Football Law Conference and Sportspersons’ Dinner, St John’s Buildings Barristers’ Chambers and the Centre for Sports Law Research at Edge Hill University, Stretford, UK

24 November – Sports Law Lecture “State aid in Football: The year of the European Commission”, T.M.C. Asser Instituut, The Hague, the Netherlands

8 December - Actualiteitencursus Internationaal Sportrecht, De Kempenaer Advocaten, Arnhem, the Netherlands


 


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