As the sports industry continues to grow, disputes between athletes, agents, governing bodies, and private companies are becoming more common. Most sport-related issues are resolved through arbitration, but litigation remains a possibility for certain types of disputes. When this occurs, having experienced sports arbitration and/or sports litigation lawyers on your side can make all the difference.
Resolving Disputes Via Arbitration
Arbitration is a legally binding form of alternative dispute resolution where an arbitration tribunal makes a decision after weighing the evidence and arguments posed by both parties. The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) is headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland, with satellite offices located in New York City and Sydney, Australia. It was founded in 1984 and is colloquially referred to as the Supreme Court for sports disputes.
Any arbitrable dispute that is either directly or indirectly linked to sports can be submitted to the CAS as long as both parties have consented to CAS’s jurisdiction. This is typically done through the relevant federation’s regulations, which athletes agree to as part of their participation in sport. For example, Rule 61 of the Olympic Charter states that all disputes in connection with the Olympic Games must only be submitted to the CAS, and all signatories to the World Anti-Doping Code, including all international federations and National Olympic Committees, give the CAS jurisdiction to decide anti-doping matters.
The CAS was created by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to remove disputes from the jurisdiction of national courts. There are three main CAS divisions.
- The CAS Ordinary Division works much like any other commercial arbitration institution. It handles disputes that are either directly or indirectly related to sport, involving varied topics such as sponsorship agreements, player contracts, transfer regulations, and media rights.
- The Anti-Doping Division of the Court of Arbitration for Sport was established as a first-instance authority in accordance with a delegation of powers from the IOC, International Olympic Sports Federations (Olympic IFs), and other signatories to the World Anti-Doping Code. Anti-doping organizations can opt to have this division of the CAS resolve its anti-doping matters.
- The CAS Appeals Division acts as the body of final appeal for decisions made by national or international sports governing bodies. However, the rules of the governing body must contain a provision allowing for the referral of any appeal to the CAS before the Appeals Division has legal authority to hear the case.
Depending on the circumstances, cases from all three divisions can be heard by a solo arbitrator mutually agreed upon by the parties, a solo arbitrator appointed by the CAS, or a three-person arbitration panel.
Resolving Disputes Via Litigation
Sports disputes resolved via litigation can involve both state and federal courts. Depending on the nature of the dispute, they can encompass diverse areas such as contract law, tort law, criminal law, labor law, and intellectual property law, etc.
When you are facing litigation, it is vital that you work with sports litigation lawyers who are experienced in handling the unique challenges faced by the sports industry. While many firms handle sports law as one part of their practice, Global Sports Advocates is solely focused on sports arbitration and litigation. Our founder, Paul Greene, is a well-known speaker and author in the area of sports law both nationally and internationally. He has taught sports law and legal ethics at the University of Maine School of Law and was a lecturer at the Instituto Superior de Derecho y Economía's (ISDE) International and Comparative Sports Law LLM Program.
Are You in Need of Sports Arbitration or Sports Litigation Lawyers?
If you are involved in a sports-related legal dispute, it is critical to speak with experienced sports arbitration and sports litigation lawyers as soon as possible. Give us a call directly at +1-207-747-5899 or fill out our online contact form to schedule your initial consultation. Our firm is devoted to the very specific practice of sports law and has represented athletes from over 50 countries spanning more than 50 sports. Our sports arbitration and sports litigation lawyers are dedicated advocates for our clients and will work diligently to protect your career and professional reputation. Don't hesitate. Contact us today.