The validity of FIFA’s arbitration clause and the independence of the CAS: A detailed review of the RFC Seraing cases

Published 04 October 2018 By: Despina Mavromati

Arbitration agreements and football players on field

This article explains the disciplinary and competition law proceedings relating to RFC Seraing and the third-party ownership (TPO) contracts that they concluded with Doyen Sports Investment Limited (Doyen Sports).

There are two sets of proceedings: one initiated by Doyen Sports and Seraing before the Belgian courts challenging the legality of FIFA’s TPO ban; and the other initiated by the FIFA Disciplinary Committee against Seraing for violation of the FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players (RSTP), subsequently appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and then the Swiss Federal Tribunal and the Liège Tribunal (Seraing’s home province).

Specifically, this article looks at:

  • The facts of the case;

  • The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) Panel’s award of 9 March 2017;

  • The findings of the Swiss Federal Tribunal (SFT);

    • Legality of CAS;

    • The Parties’ Positions;

    • The SFT’s findings (“Lazutina II”?);

    • The alleged violation of the parties’ right to be heard’

    • Competition law, excessive commitments and substantive public policy;

  • The Brussels Court of Appeal’s decision;

  • Key takeaways;

  • A chronological overview of the proceedings.


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Despina Mavromati

Despina Mavromati

Dr. Despina Mavromati, LL.M., is an attorney (Bar of Thessaloniki / Ordre des Avocats Vaudois) practicing in the field of international sports law and arbitration. She is the founder of a Lausanne-based practice (SportLegis Lausanne) and represents athletes, clubs, and sports federations in all aspects of arbitration, trials, and drafting policies.

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