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International and European Sports Law – Monthly Report – October 2017. By Tomáš Grell

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

Chairman of the Rio 2016 Organising Committee arrested on corruption charges

On 4 October 2017, Brazilian authorities arrested (now former) President of the Brazilian Olympic Committee and an IOC Honorary Member Carlos Arthur Nuzman. The chairman of the Rio 2016 Organising Committee was allegedly implicated in a vote-buying scheme associated with the host selection process for the 2016 Olympic Games. Consequently, the IOC Executive Board provisionally suspended Mr Nuzman from his function as an IOC Honorary Member and further decided to withdraw him from the Coordination Commission for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Moreover, the IOC also provisionally suspended the Brazilian Olympic Committee, noting that this decision shall not affect Brazilian athletes. Subsequently, Mr Nuzman resigned as the President of the Brazilian Olympic Committee. On 31 October 2017, the IOC communicated that the Brazilian Olympic Committee would be allowed to exercise again its membership rights in associations of National Olympic Committees. However, the IOC also emphasised that other measures imposed as part of the provisional suspension of the Brazilian Olympic Committee would remain in place until the relevant governance issues are addressed to the satisfaction of the IOC Executive Board.

China accused of running a systematic doping programme in the 1980s and 1990s

On 21 October 2017, a German television broadcasted a documentary featuring Xue Yinxian, a 79-year-old Chinese doctor currently seeking political asylum in Germany. Mrs Yinxian spent a great part of her life as a physician looking after some of the most prominent Chinese athletes, in particular the successful gymnasts. In the relevant documentary, she described a sophisticated state-sponsored doping programme allegedly prevailing in China in the 1980s and 1990s, and demanded that all medals won by Chinese athletes during the period in question be withdrawn. In response, the World Anti-Doping Agency informed that it had commissioned its Intelligence and Investigations team to initiate an investigative process in this regard.

Preliminary ruling of the European Court of Justice in the case involving the English Bridge Union

Duplicate bridge is not a sport, at least not for the purposes of the Council Directive 2006/112/EC on the common system of value added tax (VAT Directive). This conclusion was reached by the judges of the European Court of Justice in the preliminary ruling proceedings involving the English Bridge Union and the Commissioners for Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs. Most importantly, the Court asserted that ''an activity such as duplicate bridge, which is characterised by a physical element that appears to be negligible, is not covered by the concept of 'sport' within the meaning of the VAT Directive''.


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