Court of Arbitration for Sport

Court of Arbitration for Sport
(French) Tribunal arbitral du sport

Headquarters, in Lausanne (Switzerland).
Established 1984[1]
Country Switzerland
Location Lausanne
Authorized by International Olympic Committee (Olympic Charter)
Decisions are appealed to Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland
Currently John Coates
Since 2011
The entrance of the headquarters of the Court of Arbitration for Sport, in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS; French: Tribunal arbitral du sport, TAS) is an international quasi-judicial body established to settle disputes related to sport through arbitration. Its headquarters are in Lausanne (Switzerland) and its courts are located in New York City, Sydney and Lausanne. Temporary courts are established in current Olympic host cities.

Jurisdiction and appeals

Generally speaking, a dispute may be submitted to the CAS only if there is an arbitration agreement between the parties which specifies recourse to the CAS. According to rule 61 of the Olympic Charter, all disputes in connection with the Olympic Games can only be submitted to CAS.[2] Starting in 2016, an anti-doping division of CAS judges doping cases at the Olympic Games, replacing the IOC disciplinary commission.[3] These decisions can be appealed to CAS's ad hoc court in the Olympic host city or, if the ad hoc court is no longer available, to the permanent CAS.[4] The inaugural anti-doping division handled eight cases, of which seven where doping cases within its jurisdiction.[5]

All Olympic International Federations (IF) have recognised the jurisdiction of CAS for at least some disputes.[6] Through compliance with the 2009 World Anti-Doping Code, all signatories, including all Olympic International Federations and National Olympic Committees, have recognised the jurisdiction of CAS for anti-doping rule violations.[2][7][8]

As a Swiss arbitration organization, decisions of the CAS can be appealed to the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland.[9] Appeals of arbitration decisions are generally not successful,[10] and no evaluation of the merits is taking place and the evaluation is mainly based on whether procedural requirements have been met, and whether the award is incompatible with public policy. As of March 2012 there have been seven successful appeals. Six of the upheld appeals were procedural in nature, and only once has the Federal Supreme Court overruled a CAS decision on the merits of the case. This was in the case of Matuzalém, a Brazilian football player.[11]

The Federal Court of Justice of Germany ruled against the German speed-skater Claudia Pechstein, recognising a lack of jurisdiction to revisit her case. The Federal Court ruled that CAS met the requirements of a court of arbitration according to German law, and that CAS's independence from the parties was secured by the method of selecting arbitrators and the possibility to appeal to the Swiss Federal Tribunal.[12][13]


With the intermixing of sports and politics, the body was originally conceived by International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Juan Antonio Samaranch to deal with disputes arising during the Olympics. It was established as part of the IOC in 1984.[1]

In 1992, the case of Gundel v. La Fédération Equestre Internationale was decided by the CAS, and then appealed to the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland, challenging CAS impartiality. The Swiss court ruled that the CAS was a true court of arbitration but drew attention to the numerous links between the CAS and the IOC.[14]

In response, the CAS underwent reforms to make itself more independent of the IOC, both organizationally and financially. The biggest change resulting from this reform was the creation of an "International Council of Arbitration for Sport" (ICAS) to look after the running and financing of the CAS, thereby taking the place of the IOC. As of 2004, most recent cases that were considered by the CAS dealt with transfer disputes within professional association football or with doping.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport is planning to move its headquarters from the Château de Béthusy to the south part of the Palais de Beaulieu (both in Lausanne).[15]

Jurisprudence examples of note

It is noteworthy that CAS had already issued an award suspending an athlete based on the longitudinal profiling of the biological markers before the adoption of the ABP by the IFs [international federations]: in CAS 2009/A/1912 & 1913 [Pechstein], the Panel suspended an Olympic athlete after the biological data showed irregular blood values. According to CAS, those abnormal values were not caused by an error occurred in a laboratory, as the athlete asserted, but due to the banned manipulation of the athlete’s blood. The essential difference between ABP judgments and the CAS 2009/A/1912 & 1913 consists in that in the latter case the athlete’s blood data was drawn from a sample the athlete gave at the federations championships and therefore not from data gathered by an official systematic program run by the athlete’s union.[17]

Notable cases of the 2016 Summer Olympics ad hoc court

The ad hoc court for the 2016 Olympics had registered 18 cases by 3 August, surpassing the record two days before the Opening Ceremony. 11 of the cases were related to the various bans on Russian athletes related to the allegations of state-sponsored doping documented in the McLaren report.[39] By the end of the Games the total number of cases was 28, 16 of which were related to the eligibility of Russian athletes.[5]


  1. 1 2 History of the Court of Arbitration for Sport, official website of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (page visited on 5 May 2016).
  2. 1 2 International Olympic Committee: Olympic Charter
  3. Karolos Grohman: CAS to take over doping cases at Olympics Accessed 18 June 2016.
  4. Court of Arbitration for Sport: Arbitration Rules Applicable to the CAS Anti-doping division Accessed 18 June 2016.
  5. 1 2 Court of Arbitration for Sport: Report on the activities of the CAS Divisions at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games Accessed 31 August 2016
  6. Richard H. McLaren, Twenty-Five Years of the Court of Arbitration for Sport: A Look in the Rear-View Mirror, 20 Marq. Sports L. Rev. 305 (2010)
  7. World Anti-Doping Agency: 2009 World Anti-Doping Code
  8. Hilary Findlay and Marcus F. Mazzucco: The Supervisory Role of the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Regulating the International Sport System
  9. Court of Arbitration for Sport: Media release 23 July 2012
  10. CAS Bulletin 2011/2 Appeals against Arbitral Awards by the CAS by Stephan Netzle
  11. Roy Levy: Swiss Federal Tribunal overrules CAS award in a landmark decision: FIFA vs Matuzalem
  12. Christian Keidel: German Federal Tribunal rejects Claudia Pechstein’s claim for damages against International Skating Union (ISU) Accessed 17 June 2016.
  13. CAS hosted: English translation of German Federal Tribunal decision
  14. BGE 119 II 271 (Gundel v La Fédération Equestre Internationale)
  15. Aïna Skjellaug, "Privé de sa tour Taoua, Beaulieu présente son plan B", Le Temps, Wednesday 18 May 2016 (page visited on 18 May 2016).
  16. Court Upholds Cyclist's Ban Based on Biological Passport New York Times. Retrieved 24 March 2013
  17. 1 2 CAS Bulletin 2011/2 The Athlete Biological Passport Program by Despina Mavromati
  18. Essentials of Sport Law, by Glenn M. Wong, Fourth Edition, Note 5.3.9
  19. Court of Arbitration for Sport:CAS 2012/A/2731 BOC & BTC & Márcio W. Ferreira v/ WTF & COM & FMT & Damian A.Villa Valadez See §104 in particular.
  20. Aino-Kaisa Saarinen; Finnish Ski Association (FSA) vs Fédération Internationale de Ski (FIS) CAS/2010/A/2090
  21. USOC vs IOC CAS/2011/O/2422
  22. "London 2012: Dwain Chambers eligible after court ruling". BBC Sport. 30 April 2012. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
  23. BOA vs WADA CAS/2011/A/2658
  24. 1 2 Court of Arbitration for Sport: CAS rejects the claims/appeal of the Russian Olympic Committee and 68 Russian athletes Accessed 25 July 2016.
  25. Court of Arbitration for Sports: ROC et al. v. IAAF Accessed 4 November 2016.
  26. Court of Arbitration for Sport: Athletics: The application filed by Darya Klishina (Russia) is upheld by the CAS Accessed 15 August 2016.
  27. "Russia's sole athlete Darya Klishina cleared to compete after appeal". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
  28. Court of Arbitration for Sport: CAS dismisses the appeal filed by the Russian Paralympic Committee Accessed 23 August 2016
  29. "Rio Paralympics 2016: Russia banned after losing appeal". BBC Sport. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
  30. Court of Arbitration for Sport: RPC v. IPC (The sections referred to are from paragraph 79 onwards). Accessed 31 August 2016.
  31. Court of Arbitration for Sport: CAS suspends IAAF Hyperandrogenism Regulations Accessed 15 August 2016.
  32. Court of Arbitration for Sport: Chand v. IAAF - Interim award Accessed 15 August 2016.
  33. "Dutee Chand, Female Sprinter With High Testosterone Level, Wins Right to Compete". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
  34. "Gibraltar have failed in their attempt to become a member of Uefa.". BBC Sport. Retrieved 25 June 2012.
  35. "Cas tells Fifa to reconsider Gibraltar's membership 'without delay'". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  36. "Fifa: Kosovo and Gibraltar become members of world governing body". BBC Sport. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  37. IFA take case to CAS
  38. CAS/2010/A/2071. "Irish Football Association v/ Football Association of Ireland, Daniel Kearns and FIFA" (PDF).
  39. 1 2 3 Court of Arbitration for Sport: Media Release: 18 cases registered – Status as of 3 August 2016 Accessed 3 August 2016
  40. Court of Arbitration for Sport: CAS OG 16/09 Accessed 5 August 2016
  41. Court of Arbitration for Sport: Rowing: The Appeal of Anastasia Karabelshikova and Ivan Podshivalov is partially upheld by CAS Accessed 4 August 2016
  42. Court of Arbitration for Sport: CAS OG 16/13 Accessed 4 August 2016
  43. Court of Arbitration for Sport: CAS OG 16/04 Accessed 9 August 2016
  44. "Rio Olympics 2016: Russia's Yulia Efimova beaten to gold by Lilly King of USA". BBC Sport. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  45. Court of Arbitration for Sport: CAS OG 16/12 Accessed 9 August 2016
  46. Court of Arbitration for Sport: CAS OG 16/19 Accessed 9 August 2016
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