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The duty to cooperate - questions arising from the Man City v UEFA decision

Friday, 31 July 2020 By Björn Hessert

This article is written by Björn Hessert, University of Zurich.  By way of disclosure, Björn works as a research assistant for Prof. Dr. Ulrich Haas, who was one of the three CAS arbitrators in the Manchester City FC v UEFA proceedings.  Björn would like to stress that he himself was not involved in any capacity in the proceedings and that all of the opinions expressed herein are entirely his own. He would further like to emphasise that Prof. Dr. Ulrich Haas neither did provide assistance nor share any inside information.


The decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) of 13 July 2020 in Manchester City FC v. Union of European Football Association (UEFA)[1] has caused a sporting earthquake in European and international football. The repercussions of this decision are not yet foreseeable and may lead to amendments of the often criticised[2] and arguably unenforceable[3] Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations. This is for others to decide in the future. Apart from any FFP-related issues, the decision taken by the majority of the CAS panel of arbitrators (CAS panel) raises interesting questions in relation to the duty of athletes and clubs to cooperate with sports governing bodies, which is the subject of this contribution.  This article recaps the decision and then examines two such questions, namely:

  • The legal relationship between procedural request for disclosure and the duty to cooperate; and
  • The treatment of time-barred information.

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Björn Hessert

Björn Hessert

Björn is a research assistant at University of Zurich.  He has an LL.M. from the University of Melbourne.

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