Can Switzerland’s new “Lex FIFA” combat corruption within international sports federations?

Published 25 November 2015 By: Roy Levy


This article is of interest to administrators at international sports federations, national governing bodies and the lawyers that represent them. This article will also be of interest to sports enthusiasts that are interested in sports governance and in particular how the legal developments in Switzerland impact the development of sport globally.

In 2012, this author raised the fact1 that Switzerland was planning to address gaps in Swiss law that made it difficult for enforcement authorities to prosecute private persons who bribe or accept bribes in relation to their activities.

On 10 September 2015, the predicted amendments to the law finally occurred, with Swiss parliament passing the new Articles 322 octies, novies and decies of the Swiss Penal Code (known colloqially as “Lex FIFA”), which are expected to enter into force in mid-2016.2

The new laws are particularly relevant to the field of sports because they will, among other things, affect the international sports federations based in Switzerland. This article explores the background to the new laws, explains what they say and do, and comments on whether they are likely to succeed.


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Roy Levy

Roy Levy

Roy is an attorney-at-law, at Probst Partner AG, Zurich, Switzerland. He specialises in litigation and arbitration relating to sports law e.g. disciplinary and ethical matters (challenging sanctions), transfer disputes, training compensation, eligibility issues, TV rights, doping, match fixing, players/agents contracts. He regularly represents clubs, federations, players and coaches before the judicial bodies of FIFA, UEFA and the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). He also has expertise in employment, intellectual property and media law.

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