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 Ballet at the CAS Ad Hoc Division in Rio - Act IV: On Bringing a sport into disrepute

Editor's note: This is the fourth part/act of our blog series on the Russian eligibility cases at the CAS ad hoc Division in Rio.


Act IV: On Bringing a sport into disrepute

Paragraph 2 of the IOC Decision: “The IFs will also have to apply their respective rules in relation to the sanctioning of entire NFs.” 

 

In paragraph 2 of its Decision, the IOC mentioned the possibility for IFs to “apply their respective rules in relation to the sanctioning of entire NF's”.This is exactly what the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) did when it decided on 29 July 2016 to exclude the whole Russian Weightlifting Federation (RWF) from the Rio Olympics for having brought the sport into disrepute. Indeed, Article 12. 4 of the IWF Anti-doping Policy, foresees that:

“If any Member federation or members or officials thereof, by reason of conduct connected with or associated with doping or anti-doping rule violations, brings the sport of weightlifting into disrepute, the IWF Executive Board may, in its discretion, take such action as it deems fit to protect the reputation and integrity of the sport.”More...



The Russian Ballet at the CAS Ad Hoc Division in Rio - Act III: On being sufficiently tested

Editor's note: This is the third part/act of our blog series on the Russian eligibility cases at the CAS ad hoc Division in Rio.


Act III: On being sufficiently tested 

Paragraph 2 of the IOC Decision: “The IFs should carry out an individual analysis of each athlete’s anti-doping record, taking into account only reliable adequate international tests, and the specificities of the athlete’s sport and its rules, in order to ensure a level playing field.”

Daniil Andienko and 16 other members of the Russian rowing team challenged the decision of the World Rowing Federation (FISA) to declare them ineligible for the Rio Olympics. The FISA Executive Committee took the decision on 24 July 2016 because they had not “undergone a minimum of three anti-doping tests analysed by a WADA accredited laboratory other than the Moscow laboratory and registered in ADAMS from 1 January 2015 for an 18 month period”.[1] In their submissions, the Russian applicants did not challenge the IOC Decision, and thus the criteria enshrined in paragraph 2, but only its application by FISA.[2] The Russian athletes argued that FISA’s decision deviated from the IOC Decision in that it was imposing as an additional requirement that rowers must “have undergone a minimum of three anti-doping tests analysed by a WADA accredited laboratory other than the Moscow laboratory and registered in ADAMS from 1 January 2015 for an 18-month period”.[3] The Panel acknowledged that “the IOC Executive Board decision does not refer explicitly to the requirement of three tests or to a period of 18 months”.[4] Nonetheless, it “finds that the Challenged Decision is in line with the criteria established by the IOC Executive Board decision”.[5] Indeed, the IOC’s Decision “provides that in order to examine whether the level playing field is affected or not (when admitting a Russian athlete to the Rio Olympic Games), the federation must look at the athlete's respective anti-doping record, i.e. examine the athlete's anti-doping tests” and that “[i]n doing so, the IOC Executive Board decision specifies that only "reliable adequate international tests" may be taken into account”.[6] In this regard, the Panel, and FISA, share the view that “a reliable adequate international test can only be assumed if the sample has been analyzed in a WADA-accredited laboratory outside Russia”.[7]More...



The Russian Ballet at the CAS Ad Hoc Division in Rio - Act II: On being implicated

Editor's note: This is the second part/act of our blog series on the Russian eligibility cases at the CAS ad hoc Division in Rio.

 

Act II: On being implicated


Paragraph 2 of the IOC Decision: The IFs to examine the information contained in the IP Report, and for such purpose seek from WADA the names of athletes and National Federations (NFs) implicated. Nobody implicated, be it an athlete, an official, or an NF, may be accepted for entry or accreditation for the Olympic Games.”

 

The second, and by far largest, wave of complaints involved Russian athletes barred from the game under paragraph 2 of the IOC Decision. None of those were successful in their appeals as the CAS sided with those IFs which took a tough stance with regard to the Russian State doping system. The first set of cases turned on the definition of the word “implicated” in the sense of paragraph 2 of the IOC Decision. In this regard, on 2 August the IOC sent a communication to the IFs aiming at providing some general guidelines. It reads as follows:

"In view of the recent appeals filed by Russian Athletes with CAS, the IOC considers it necessary to clarify the meaning of the notion "implicated" in the EB Decision.

The IOC does not consider that each athlete referred to in the McLaren Lists shall be considered per se "implicated. It is for each International federation to assess, on the basis of the information provided in the McLaren lists and the Independent Person Report, whether it is satisfied that the Athlete in question was implicated in the Russian State-controlled doping scheme.

To assist the International Federations in assessing each individual case, the IOC wishes to provide some information. In the IOC's opinion, an athlete should not be considered as "implicated" where:

·       The order was a "quarantine".

·       The McLaren List does not refer to a prohibited substance which would have given rise to an anti-doping rule violation or;

·       The McLaren List does not refer to any prohibited substance with respect to a given sample."

The CAS went on to address this question concretely in three cases analysed below. More...




The Russian Ballet at the CAS Ad Hoc Division in Rio - Act I: Saved by the Osaka Déjà-Vu

Since it was first introduced at the Atlanta Games in 1996,[1] the CAS ad hoc Division has never been as crowded as it was during this year’s Rio Olympics. This is mainly due to the Russian doping scandal, which has fuelled the CAS with Russian athletes challenging their ineligibility to compete at the Games. The CAS recently revealed that out of 28 awards rendered, 16 involved Russian athletes challenging their ineligibility. This Russian ballet is a direct result of the shocking findings of Richard McLaren’s Independent Person (IP) Report ordered by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). McLaren’s investigation demonstrated that the Russian State was coordinating a sophisticated doping system. The revelation triggered an outrage in the media and amongst other competitors. Numerous calls (especially by WADA and various National Anti-Doping Organisations) were heard urging the IOC to ban the entire Russian delegation from the Olympics. The IAAF decided to exclude the whole Russian athletics team, [2] with the exception of Darya Klishina, but, to the disappointment of many, the IOC refused to heed these calls and decided, instead, to put in place a specific procedure to assess on a case-by-case basis the eligibility of Russian athletes.

The IOC’s Decision (IOC Decision) of 24 July foresees that the International Federations (IFs) are competent to determine whether each Russian athlete put forward by the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) to participate in the Olympics meets a specific set of conditions. Moreover, the ROC was also barred from entering athletes who were sanctioned for doping in the past, even if they have already served their doping sanction. In the end, a majority of the Russian athletes (278 out of 389 submitted by the ROC) cleared the IOC’s bar relatively easily, but some of them did not, and many of the latter ended up fighting for their right to compete at the Rio Olympics before the CAS ad hoc Division.[3] In the following blogs, I will analyse the ten published CAS awards related to Russian athletes.[4] It is these legal fights that I suggest to chronicle in the following parts of this blog. To do so, I have divided them in five different (and analytically coherent) Acts:

International and European Sports Law – Monthly Report – August 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

For the world of Sport, the elsewhere known “sleepy month” of August turned out to be the total opposite. Having only just recuperated from this year’s Tour de France, including a spectacular uphill sprint on bicycle shoes by later ‘Yellow Jersey’ winner Chris Froome, August brought another feast of marvellous sport (and subsequent legal drama): The 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.More...


Sports arbitration and EU Competition law: the Belgian competition authority enters the arena. By Marine Montejo

Editor's note: Marine Montejo is a graduate from the College of Europe in Bruges and is currently an intern at the ASSER International Sports Law Centre.

On 14 July 2016, the Belgian competition authority refused to grant provisional measures to the White Star Woluwe Football Club (“The White Star”), which would have allowed it to compete in the Belgian top football division. The club was refused a licence to compete in the above mentioned competition first by the Licences Commission of the national football federation (“Union Royale Belge des Sociétés de Foootball Association” or “URBSFA”) and then by the Belgian court of arbitration for sports (“Cour Belge d’Arbitrage pour le Sport” or “CBAS”). The White Star lodged a complaint to the national competition authority (“NCA”) and requested provisional measures. The Belgian competition authority rendered a much-overlooked decision (besides one commentary) in which it seems to accept the reviewability of an arbitral award’s conformity with EU competition law (articles 101 and 102 TFEU). More...

From Lord of the Rings to Lord of the Drinks – A legal take on the downfall of Yuri van Gelder at the Rio Olympics. By Guido Hahn (Erasmus University Rotterdam)

Editor’s note: Guido graduated cum laude from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. He teaches law at the Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam. He specializes in sports law and provides legal advice for the professional sports sector.


Introduction

This blog is a commentary on a recent case that hit like a bombshell in the Netherlands (and beyond) during the recent Olympic Games in Rio. The case concerns a Dutch athlete, Yuri van Gelder, who reached the Olympic finals in his sport, got sent home by ‘his’ NOC (NOC*NSF) after a night out in Rio and launched legal proceedings in front of a Dutch court to claim back his place in the finals. This commentary will attempt to explain the Dutch ruling and evaluate whether a different legal route would have been possible and preferable. More...


Bailing out your local football club: The Willem II and MVV State Aid decisions as blueprint for future rescue aid (Part 2)

This is part two of the blog on the Willem II and MVV State Aid decisions. Where part one served as an introduction on the two cases, part two will analyze the compatibility assessment made by the Commission in two decisions.


The compatibility of the aid to MVV and Willem II (re-)assessed

Even though it was the Netherlands’ task to invoke possible grounds of compatibility and to demonstrate that the conditions for such compatibility were met, the aid granted to both Willem II and MVV was never notified. The Netherland’s failure to fulfill its notification obligation, therefore, appears to be at odds with the Commission’s final decision to declare the aid compatible with EU law. Yet, a closer look at the Commission’s decision of 6 March 2013 to launch the formal investigation shows that the Commission was giving the Netherlands a ‘second chance’ to invoke grounds that would lead to a justification of the measures.More...


Bailing out your local football club: The Willem II and MVV State Aid decisions as blueprint for future rescue aid (Part 1)

The European Commission’s decisions of 4 July 2016 to order the recovery of the State aid granted to seven Spanish professional football clubs[1] were in a previous blog called historic. It was the first time that professional football clubs have been ordered to repay aid received from (local) public authorities. Less attention has been given to five other decisions also made public that day, which cleared support measures for five football clubs in the Netherlands. The clubs in question were PSV Eindhoven, MVV Maastricht, NEC Nijmegen, FC Den Bosch and Willem II.

Given the inherent political sensitivity of State aid recovery decisions, it is logical that the “Spanish decisions” were covered more widely than the “Dutch decisions”. Furthermore, clubs like Real Madrid and FC Barcelona automatically get more media attention than FC Den Bosch or Willem II. Yet, even though the “Dutch decisions” are of a lower profile, from an EU State aid law perspective, they are not necessarily less interesting.

A few days before entering the quiet month of August, the Commission published the non-confidential versions of its decisions concerning PSV Eindhoven, Willem II and MVV Maastricht (hereinafter: “MVV”). The swiftness of these publications is somewhat surprising, since it often takes at least three months to solve all the confidentiality issues. Nonetheless, nobody will complain (especially not me) about this opportunity to analyze in depth these new decisions. More...

Fear and Loathing in Rio de Janeiro – Displacement and the Olympics by Ryan Gauthier (Thompson Rivers University)

‎Editor's Note: Ryan is Assistant Professor at Thompson Rivers University, he defended his PhD at Erasmus University Rotterdam in December 2015. His dissertation examined human rights violations caused by international sporting events, and how international sporting organisations may be held accountable for these violations.

Introduction

On Sunday, August 21, the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro will end. The spotlight will dim not only on the athletes who return to their home countries to ply their trade in relative obscurity, but also on the country of Brazil.[1] Once the Games have ended, life will go ‘back to normal’, although for many residents of Rio de Janeiro, what is ‘normal’ is anything but. More...



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

Asser International Sports Law Blog

Our International Sports Law Diary
The Asser International Sports Law Centre is part of the T.M.C. Asser Instituut

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

The editor’s note:

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


Introduction

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

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

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

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

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


The 2011 Turkish match-fixing series in brief

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The scope of application of Article 2.08 UEL Regulations

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

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

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

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


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

(To be continued)


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

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

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

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

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

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

Comments (1) -

  • Ender Kuyumcu

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

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

Comments are closed