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The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) Confirms The Registration Of The Request For Arbitration Filed By US Swimmer Lia Thomas

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) Confirms The Registration Of The Request For Arbitration Filed By US Swimmer Lia Thomas

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) confirms the registration of the request for arbitration filed by US transgender swimmer Lia Thomas (the Athlete), aimed at challenging certain parts of World Aquatics’ Policy on the Eligibility for the Men’s and Women’s Competition Categories in force as of 24 March 2023, and its associated Operational Requirements (the Challenged Provisions).

Ms Thomas accepts that fair competition is a legitimate sporting objective and that some regulation of transgender women in swimming is appropriate. However, Ms Thomas submits that the Challenged Provisions are invalid and unlawful as they discriminate against her contrary to the Olympic Charter, the World Aquatics Constitution, and Swiss law including the European Convention on Human Rights and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women; and that such discrimination cannot be justified as necessary, reasonable, or proportionate to achieve a legitimate sporting objective.

In bringing the matter before CAS, Ms Thomas seeks an order from the CAS declaring that the Challenged Provisions are unlawful, invalid, and of no force and effect.

The CAS arbitration proceedings commenced in September 2023. In accordance with the Code of Sportsrelated Arbitration, this “ordinary” arbitration procedure (i.e. not an appeal) was subject to strict confidentiality rules governing CAS procedures. The parties involved in this case have now agreed that general information concerning the procedure itself be communicated by the CAS Court Office. At this point, no hearing date has been fixed yet.

The registration of this case coincided with the reference number 10’000, which is the number of arbitrations (and former consultation procedures, but without ad hoc procedures and mediations) registered by the CAS since its creation in 1984. On 31 December 2023, the CAS had registered a total of 10’638 procedures (all included) since its creation and 943 in 2023 only.

Circular no. 1867: Failure to respect settlement agreements – competence of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee

Circular no. 1867: Failure to respect settlement agreements – competence of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee

TO THE MEMBER ASSOCIATIONS OF FIFA

Circular no. 1867

Zurich, 7 December 2023

Failure to respect settlement agreements – competence of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee

Dear Sir or Madam,

On 16 December 2022, the FIFA Council adopted the 2023 edition of the FIFA Disciplinary Code (FDC – cf. FIFA circular no. 1833).

In this respect, and in line with FIFA’s commitment to achieving (financial) justice, a number of important changes were made to article 21 of the FDC (formerly art. 15, 2019 edition).

Amongst others, one such amendment was the inclusion of article 21 paragraph 9 of the FDC in order to grant the FIFA Disciplinary Committee the competence to enforce private settlement agreements concluded in the context of disciplinary proceedings opened against a debtor with respect to a final and binding decision issued by FIFA or the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) 1

In this context, in light of the number of settlement agreements concluded by parties in connection with financial decisions and the related volume of requests received by the FIFA administration, the purpose of this circular is to clarify the scope and/or the application of this provision.

a. Settlement agreements concluded in the context of disciplinary proceedings opened against a debtor

Prior to the entry into force of the 2023 edition of the FDC, the conclusion of a settlement agreement would lead to the termination of (or prevent the initiation of) disciplinary proceedings. Indeed, in accordance with FIFA circular no. 1628, non-compliance with the agreement had to be resolved by the Football Tribunal or the relevant competent body as chosen by the parties.

As such, with a view to avoiding this need for parties to initiate a new procedure before the Football Tribunal or the relevant competent body to enforce such a settlement agreement, the FDC was amended in order to provide the Disciplinary Committee with the competence to enforce such agreements, this being provided that the applicable settlement concluded was directly linked to a final and binding financial decision issued by FIFA or CAS.

More specifically, if, following the opening/initiation of disciplinary proceedings in relation to (non-compliance with) a financial decision passed by FIFA (the Football Tribunal) or CAS, the parties decide to settle their dispute by means of a private settlement agreement, the Disciplinary Committee is now, pursuant to article 21 paragraph 9 of the FDC, competent to enforce such an agreement without the need for a new complaint to be lodged before the Football Tribunal (or the relevant competent body as chosen by the parties).

For the sake of good order, we would like to clarify that this procedure shall exclusively apply to those agreements concluded following the entry into force of the 2023 edition of the FDC, i.e. as from 1 February 2023.

b. Settlement agreements concluded after a financial decision passed by a body, a committee, a subsidiary or an instance of FIFA or by CAS

Based on its wording, the scope of article 21 paragraph 9 of the FDC should, in principle, be limited to those agreements concluded “in the context of disciplinary proceedings opened against a debtor with respect to a final and binding financial decision issued by a body, a committee, a subsidiary or an instance of FIFA or by CAS

Notwithstanding the foregoing and taking into account the rationale behind the implementation of such provision as explained supra., it is considered that the competence granted to the Disciplinary Committee under article 21 paragraph 9 of the FDC shall also cover agreements concluded after any decision passed by a body, a committee, a subsidiary or an instance of FIFA or by CAS.

In other words, following the notification of such decision rendered by FIFA or CAS, if the relevant parties then conclude a private settlement agreement in order to settle their dispute, the Disciplinary Committee shall also be competent to enforce such agreement in accordance with article 21 paragraph 9 of the FDC, without the need for a new complaint to be lodged before the Football Tribunal (or the relevant competent body as chosen by the parties).

Similarly, the above shall exclusively apply to those agreements concluded following the entry into force of the 2023 edition of the FDC, i.e. as from 1 February 2023. 

c. Other settlement agreements

Finally, and for the sake of good order, we would like to clarify that any settlement agreement concluded outside of the framework(s) stipulated above, i.e. any settlement falling outside of the remits of sections a. or b. supra, will remain subject to the provisions of FIFA circular no. 1628.

Consequently, any claim arising from a breach of these types of agreements shall still be lodged before the Football Tribunal or before the relevant competent bodies at national or international level, as mutually agreed by the parties.

Should you have any questions, please contact Julien Deux, Head of Judicial Bodies (Adjudicatory) at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

We thank you for your kind attention to the above and for ensuring that your affiliated clubs are informed accordingly.

Yours faithfully,

FÉDÉRATION INTERNATIONALE

DE FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION

THE COURT OF ARBITRATION FOR SPORT (CAS) REGISTERS TWO REQUESTS FOR ARBITRATION FILED BY THE WORLD ANTI-DOPING AGENCY (WADA) IN RELATION TO THE RUSSIAN ANTI-DOPING AGENCY (RUSADA) AND THE SOUTH AFRICAN INSTITUTE FOR DRUG-FREE SPORT (SAIDS)

THE COURT OF ARBITRATION FOR SPORT (CAS) REGISTERS TWO REQUESTS FOR ARBITRATION FILED BY THE WORLD ANTI-DOPING AGENCY (WADA) IN RELATION TO THE RUSSIAN ANTI-DOPING AGENCY (RUSADA) AND THE SOUTH AFRICAN INSTITUTE FOR DRUG-FREE SPORT (SAIDS)

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has registered two Requests for Arbitration filed by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in relation to (non-)compliance matters concerning the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) and the South African Institute for Drug-free Sport (SAIDS).

On 22 September 2023, the WADA Executive Committee endorsed the recommendation of its Compliance Review Committee (CRC) which alleged RUSADA to be non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code (the WADC) due to Russia’s federal sports legislation not being considered to be in line with the 2021 WADC. Similarly, on the same day, the WADA Executive Committee also endorsed the recommendation of the CRC to allege SAIDS as non-compliant with the WADC due to South Africa’s legislation not being considered to be in line with the 2021 WADA Code. Since both RUSADA and SAIDS have disputed their non-compliance, as set out in the International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories (ISCCS), WADA has submitted both matters to the CAS Ordinary Arbitration Division for resolution.

Two separate CAS arbitration procedures have been registered. The procedures will be conducted according to the provisions of the ISCCS and the Code of Sports-related Arbitration (the CAS Code). In summary, for each procedure, there will be an exchange of written submissions while a Panel of three arbitrators is simultaneously constituted in accordance with the provisions of Article 9.4.1 of the ISCCS. Once appointed, the Panel for each matter will issue directions for the next phase of the proceedings and shall, save for extensions of time requested by the parties or other exceptional circumstances, issue its reasoned decision no later than three months after the date of its constitution. The Panels’ decisions will be publicly reported by CAS.

The decisions issued by the CAS Panels will be final and binding with the exception of the parties’ right to file an appeal to the Swiss Federal Tribunal within 30 days on limited grounds.

WADA refers compliance case against the South African NADO to Court of Arbitration for Sport

WADA refers compliance case against the South African NADO to Court of Arbitration for Sport

Further to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA's) Executive Committee (ExCo) meeting of 22 September 2023, WADA wishes to provide an update regarding the ExCo’s decision to endorse the recommendation of WADA’s independent Compliance Review Committee (CRC) and allege the National Anti-Doping Organization (NADO) of South Africa as non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code (Code). The alleged non-compliance in this case is a result of South Africa’s legislation not being in line with the 2021 Code.   

Under Article 9.3.1 of the International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories (ISCCS), the NADO had 21 days following the date of receipt of the formal notice of non-compliance to dispute WADA’s allegation of non-compliance, as well as the consequences and/or the reinstatement conditions proposed by the Agency.   

On 10 October, WADA received formal notification from the South African NADO that it disputed the allegation of non-compliance against it, as well as the proposed consequences. Accordingly, and in line with Article 24.1.7 of the Code, WADA now publicly announces that it filed the request for arbitration with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on 16 November 2023. As set out in Article 24.1.7, certain Signatories have the right to intervene in the CAS proceedings as a party whereas other persons may apply and be permitted to intervene under certain conditions. As per the same article, the notice of intervention or the application to intervene must be filed within 10 days of the publication of this notice.  

The allegation of non-compliance and the consequences will not take effect until such time as CAS makes its ruling.  Further details regarding the case including, in particular, the consequences and reinstatement conditions can be found in WADA’s update of 28 September 2023

The ITA welcomes the decision of CAS confirming the sanction of weightlifter Nijat Rahimov for sample swapping

The ITA welcomes the decision of CAS confirming the sanction of weightlifter Nijat Rahimov for sample swapping

As a follow-up to the ITA’s and the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) investigations on doping in the sport of weightlifting until 2018, the ITA had received WADA’s case file pertaining to “Operation Arrow”. This investigation focused on the practice of urine substitution at the point of collection. After a thorough assessment of the information and evidence the ITA decided to assert an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV) for sample swapping against athlete Nijat Rahimov (Kazakhstan). The urine substitution (Article 2.2 of the IWF Anti-Doping Rules) occurred on four occasions over a period of time in 2016, in preparation for the Olympic Games Rio 2016.

On 22 March 2022, the anti-doping division of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS ADD) sanctioned the athlete with 8 years of ineligibility and the disqualification of all results obtained from 15 March 2016.

On 12 April 2022, the athlete filed an appeal before CAS. A hearing took place on 22 September 2022 at the CAS headquarters in which the ITA represented the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF). After hearing the parties and considering the written submissions and evidence, CAS confirmed that the athlete had committed several ADRVs for the of use of a prohibited method (urine substitution) in accordance with Article 2.2 of the IWF Anti-Doping Rules.

In its decision, CAS notably held that this matter was “a clear case of cheating by an athlete seeking to avoid anti-doping testing” and that “this is the kind of cheating the anti-doping rules are designed to prevent”.

Since this was the athlete’s second ADRV, CAS confirmed that Nijat Rahimov should be sanctioned with 8 years of ineligibility. The disqualification of all results obtained by the athlete from 15 March 2016 (date of the first evidence of urine substitution) until the provisional suspension imposed on 18 January 2021, which includes the gold medal obtained at the Olympic Games Rio 2016 (Men’s 77 kg), was also confirmed.

The ITA will not comment further on this case.

CAS decision rules in favour of Yves Diba in absence of sufficient NDRC in DR Congo

CAS decision rules in favour of Yves Diba in absence of sufficient NDRC in DR Congo
  • CAS ruled that the Football Federation of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FECOFA) committed a denial of justice against former international Yves Diba

  • Diba had filed a claim in relation to an employment contract dispute and, with it being of a national dimension, he had no choice but to file his claim with FECOFA

  • Faced with this silence and inaction, Diba turned to CAS in July 2022 and filed a claim against FECOFA for denial of justice

A significant decision from the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled in favour of a Congolese footballer who had previously been denied justice due to the lack of a sufficient National Dispute Resolution Chamber (NDRC) in DR Congo.

In a recent award, CAS ruled that the Football Federation of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FECOFA) committed a denial of justice against former international Yves Diba.

In October 2021, Diba filed a claim in relation to an employment contract dispute he had with AS Vita, a club in DR Congo’s top-flight. With the dispute being of a national dimension, Diba had no choice but to file his claim with FECOFA, who, as per its own statutes, were obliged to adjudicate.

Despite several written reminders sent by Diba, FECOFA failed to formally open a procedure in order to pass a decision. Faced with this silence and inaction, Diba turned to CAS in July 2022 and filed a claim against FECOFA for denial of justice.

CAS sided with the 20-time DR Congo international and ruled that such an unjustified delay in passing a decision constituted a denial of justice. They ordered FECOFA to promptly deal with the claim to swiftly render a decision and ruled that FECOFA must pay all costs in relation to the CAS procedure.

FIFPRO Legal Director Roy Vermeer said: “Yves Diba’s experience is not an isolated case – denial of justice is a recurring issue faced by too many players in too many national football associations.

A number of national football associations around the world do not provide for national dispute resolution chambers that respect players’ rights, and too often the chambers that exist on paper are actually not operative.”

A lack of a proper NDRC can have severe consequences for players at domestic level, leaving them forced into a system that does not guarantee fair proceedings. It can mean abusive behaviour can go unchallenged and breach of contracts are allowed to flourish in complete impunity.

Vermeer said: “If a national football association creates an NDRC, it must simply ensure that it complies with the principles established by FIFA. This not only protects players’ rights, but also provides for a healthy football economy and ecosystem.”

Sanction: Cross-country skiing

Sanction: Cross-country skiing

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS, Lausanne, Switzerland) partially set aside the decision rendered by the Disciplinary Anti-Doping Committee of RAA RUSADA № 102/2022 dated June 23, 2022 on the sanction in a form of reprimand to the athlete Guschina Mariya (cross-country skiing) for violation under cl. 2.2 of the All-Russian anti-doping rules approved by Order of the Ministry of Sport of the Russian Federation No. 947 dated August 09, 2016 (with amendments effective from January 17, 2019).

The Court of Arbitration for Sport rendered the decision which made the Athlete ineligible for a period of 12 months from the date of CAS decision, namely October 27, 2023.

THE COURT OF ARBITRATION FOR SPORT (CAS) REGISTERS THE APPEAL FILED BY ROMANIAN TENNIS PLAYER SIMONA HALEP

THE COURT OF ARBITRATION FOR SPORT (CAS) REGISTERS THE APPEAL FILED BY ROMANIAN TENNIS PLAYER SIMONA HALEP

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has registered the appeal filed by the Romanian tennis player, Ms Simona Halep (the Athlete), against the decision rendered by the International Tennis Integrity Agency Tribunal dated 22 September 2023 (the Challenged Decision), in which she was found to have committed Anti-Doping Rule Violations and sanctioned with a four-year period of ineligibility commencing on 7 October 2022, and the disqualification of all results obtained in competitions taking place in the period 29 August 2022 to 7 October 2022, including forfeiture of any medals, titles, ranking points and prize money. 

In her appeal to the CAS, the Athlete requests that the Challenged Decision be set aside and that her sanction be reduced.

The CAS arbitration proceedings have commenced. In accordance with the Code of Sports-related Arbitration (the CAS Code), the arbitration rules governing CAS procedures, the parties are exchanging written submissions and the Panel of arbitrators that will decide the matter is being constituted. 

Once constituted, the Panel will issue procedural directions for the next phase of the procedure, including the holding of a hearing. Following the hearing, the Panel will deliberate and issue an Arbitral Award containing its decision and the grounds for it. At this time, it is not possible to indicate a time frame for the issuance of the decision.

The CAS Panel’s decision will be final and binding, with the exception of the parties’ right to file an appeal to the Swiss Federal Tribunal within 30 days on limited grounds.

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