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The Issue of Voluntariness of Consent to Refer Disputes to the Court of Arbitration for Sport based on the Analysis of Its Status and Principles of Functioning

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The article is devoted to the study of institutional and procedural problems related to the resolution of conflicts arising in professional and Olympic sports (elite sports). Modern sport seeks to isolate itself from state and international legal regulation, to create its own system of corporate standards, the subjects of which are sports organizations and athletes. In order to impart stability to the introduced system of corporate rules, international non-governmental organizations leading the world sports and Olympic movement also create their own jurisdictional bodies (arbitration courts, the so-called sports tribunals), the purpose of which is to resolve disputes between athletes, sports organizations on corporate rules established by international sports federations and the International Olympic Committee. The central part of this system of sports arbitration courts is the Sports Arbitration Court in Lausanne (Switzerland), whose status is analyzed in detail in this paper.
One of the main problems to which the author pays attention, is the non-consensual, in fact forced nature of the spread of the jurisdiction of the sports arbitration courts on athletes, often combined with a prohibition (established in the corporate act — for example, the regulations of sports federations) to appeal to the state courts under a threat of lifelong disqualification. Thus, the structures that govern the world professional and Olympic sports require athletes to refuse to exercise their constitutional right to access to justice. But could an arbitration clause be considered valid if the athlete did not give consent to the consideration of his disputes in the arbitration court (arbitration) and to the choice of arbitration jurisdiction, which in fact was forced? Unfortunately, practice shows that in most cases, when athletes ignore this ban and apply to national courts, appealing against the decisions of the sports arbitration court in Lausanne, the latter make “political” decisions that take the interests of the leading forces in the world sports movement into account.

About the Author

N. L. Peshin
Lomonosov Moscow State University
Russian Federation

Nikolay L. Peshin, Dr. Sci. (Law), LLD, Professor, Head of the Department of Administrative Law of the Law Faculty, Vice-Rector for Research



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For citations:

Peshin N.L. The Issue of Voluntariness of Consent to Refer Disputes to the Court of Arbitration for Sport based on the Analysis of Its Status and Principles of Functioning. Kutafin Law Review. 2023;10(2):256-280.

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