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Inappropriate Tweets & The 'Duty Of Curiosity': Why The Swiss Federal Tribunal Ordered The Sun Yang Case Be Reheard

Inappropriate Tweets & The 'Duty Of Curiosity': Why The Swiss Federal Tribunal Ordered The Sun Yang Case Be Reheard
Friday, 19 March 2021 By Dr Despina Mavromati

Chinese elite swimmer Sun Yang (the Athlete) has managed to occupy the headlines of international sports arbitration in recent years.  After public hearing at the Court of Arbitration For Sport (CAS), which included several motions filed with the Swiss Federal Tribunal (SFT)[1] during the CAS proceedings itself, the SFT’s most recent judgment constitutes the first in the CAS history where the SFT annulled a CAS award for bias of its Panel Chair, Mr. Franco Fratini. The CAS Award had imposed an eight-year ban on the Chinese swimmer Sun Yang due to an anti-doping rule violation.  Now the case will be reheard.

This article examines the SFT’s decision and its implications, looking at:

  • The Athlete’s requests to the SFT;
  • Whether the Athlete should have raised concerns earlier (the “duty of curiosity”);
  • How the impartiality of an arbitrator is assessed;

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Despina Mavromati

Dr Despina Mavromati

Dr. Despina Mavromati is an attorney at the Swiss law firm BianchiSchwald and an arbitrator at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). She has extensive experience in international sports law and arbitration. She represents athletes, clubs and federations and advises on regulatory and sports governance matters, including the recognition and enforcement of awards and freezing of assets in Switzerland. Despina has acted as counsel, co-counsel, expert or arbitrator in numerous sports arbitrations, involving contractual, governance, doping-related and other disciplinary and ethics matters. Recognized as a Thought Leader by Who’s Who Legal in Switzerland every year since 2018, “Despina Mavromati is “brilliant and accomplished” and “an amazing lawyer with immense knowledge and expertise when it comes to disputes before the CAS” (Who’s Who Legal 2023).

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