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Prawo sportowe 06.02.2023

[Sports law] Legal disputes in sport - Sports Tribunals and Alternative Disputes Resolution in sports law.

Settlement of legal disputes in sport, in particular those of a property nature, which can be colloquially referred to as "vindication in sport" or "sports vindication", is generally carried out in arbitration (arbitration proceedings), referred to as sports arbitration. In many cases, in order to properly resolve disputes, sports organizations have established specialized permanent arbitration courts (permanent arbitration courts) - Arbitration Tribunals, which by definition know the norms of sports law and understand the specificity of sport, which is to ensure proper recognition of cases and settlement of disputes in sport. The main purpose of recognition of the disputes in the field of broadly understood sports law relations by Arbitration Tribunals, i.e. excluding the jurisdiction of common courts, is the speed and efficiency of examining such disputes and the fairness of arbitration proceedings, in particular due to the knowledge of the regulations of sports organizations and associations referred to as sports law or more broadly as lex sportiva. It should be noted that the market of legal services, attorneys representing the parties (replacing the parties) in proceedings in sports law disputes, has also educated lawyers specializing in sports law, or law firms practicing in the field of sports law (sports law firms, sports lawyers).

Sports law also includes standards regulating the recognition of legal disputes in sport, in terms of the system, i.e. determining the bodies competent to consider such disputes - Arbitration Tribunals (permanent arbitration courts).

  • Arbitration Tribunals can be classified as:
  • domestic and foreign,
  • operating within a given sport discipline (e.g. football or basketball).
  • With the system of Arbitration Tribunals adopted in this way, the following should be distinguished:
  • national tribunals: The Court of Arbitration for Sport at the Polish Olympic Committee (PKOl) with its registered office in Warsaw (Poland),
  • international tribunals: Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) / Court of Arbitration for Sport (TAS) at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) with its seat in Lausanne (Switzerland).

Sports Tribunals dealing with cases in the field of sport

Tribunals dealing with cases in the field of sport:

Basketball:

  • The Court of Arbitration for Sport (STA) at the Polish Basketball Association (PZKosz) with its registered office in Warsaw (Poland),
  • Basketball Arbitral Tribunal (BAT) at the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) with its registered office in Geneva (Switzerland),

 Football:

  • Football Arbitration Court (PSP) at the Polish Football Association (PZPN) with its registered office in Warsaw (Poland),
  • Football Tribunal (FT) at the International Football Federation (FIFA) with its registered office in Zurich (Switzerland).

Below we present the scope of cognition of the above-mentioned tribunals and arbitration courts hearing cases in the field of sports law, in particular cases in the field of sports law in football and basketball. It should be emphasized that tribunals and arbitration courts are not common courts and do not issue judgments specified from which, pursuant to Art. 398[1] k.p.c.(Code of Civil Procedure) could be appealed to the Supreme Court.

Court of Arbitration for Sport at the Polish Olympic Committee | Arbitration in sports law poland

The Court of Arbitration for Sport at the Polish Olympic Committee in Poland (Sports Law Poland) is the highest sports appeal instance in Poland, operating since November 17, 1994, currently based on the provisions of the Act on Sports of June 25, 2010 (Journal of Laws of 2022, item 1599 - i.e. ). The Court of Arbitration for Sport at the Polish Olympic Committee is a permanent arbitration court operating on the principles set out in the provisions of the Act of November 17, 1964 - Code of Civil Procedure (Journal of Laws of 2021, item 1805 - i.e. "CCP").

The Court of Arbitration for Sport at the Polish Olympic Committee, pursuant to art. 45a sec. 3 of the Sports Act acts as the highest arbitration body in disciplinary cases and pursuant to Art. 1154 ff. k.p.c. ordinary arbitration court.

The scope of jurisdiction of the Court of Arbitration for Sport at the Polish Olympic Committee as the highest arbitration body in sports disputes includes hearing appeals against final disciplinary decisions of Polish sports associations. However, as an ordinary court of arbitration, the Court of Arbitration for Sport at the Polish Olympic Committee may, in particular on the basis of an arbitration clause, hear cases involving disputes related to image contracts & image rights, organization of sports events, including mass events, licensing matters, agent's contracts, as well as other matters regarding the economic status of players, coaches and sports clubs, unless they have been submitted to other courts or arbitration tribunals or are subject to resolution by common courts (for more see: Eligiusz J. Krześniak, Act about sport. Commentary, Wolters Kluwer, Warsaw 2020, pp. 482-494.)

It should be noted that, in accordance with the statute of the Court of Arbitration for Sport at the Polish Olympic Committee, its mission is to protect the rights of parties to disciplinary proceedings, prevent possible abuses and ensure compliance with the law by players, teams, sports associations and disciplinary bodies, as well as the development of Polish sports law.

It is worth pointing out that the website of the Court of Arbitration for Sport at the Polish Olympic Committee  (PKOl) maintains a database of judgments issued in sports matters.

 

Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS/TAS) | Sports disputes | Supreme Sports Tribunal

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS - Court of Arbitration for Sport), also referred to as the Court of Arbitration for Sport (TAS - Tribunal Arbitral du Sport) at the International Olympic Committee (IOC), based in Lausanne (Switzerland), is an international permanent arbitration court, operating since June 30, 1984

The Court of Arbitration for Sport at the IOC is the highest and independent institution settling disputes related to sport in both arbitration and mediation proceedings. CAS decisions have the force of court judgments and are enforceable by way of execution. CAS judgments in appeal cases (appeals procedure) are issued on the basis of the law on the basis of which the proceedings were conducted in lower instances, and in other disputes (so-called ordinary arbitration) they are issued on the basis of agreed law (e.g. contract), and in the absence thereof, on the basis of Swiss law and taking into account the specificity and rules of sport.

The dispute may be submitted to the Sports Court for resolution only on the basis of an arbitration clause or agreement, i.e. on the basis of the consent of the parties to the proceedings. On the other hand, the subject of proceedings before CAS may be cases involving disputes between athletes, coaches, sports federations, organizers of sports events, sponsors or television broadcasters in civil and commercial matters as well as disciplinary matters.

It should be noted that CAS decisions are final and as such are binding on the parties to the proceedings from the moment they are announced. They are also subject to enforcement in accordance with the New York Convention on the recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards of June 10, 1958 (Journal of Laws of 1962, No. 9, item 41), which is applied by over 125 countries.

Proceedings before CAS are conducted in accordance with the Code of Sports-related Arbitration.

It is worth pointing out that the CAS website maintains a database of judgments issued in sports matters.

PZPN PSP - Football Arbitration Court at the Polish Football Association | Football disputes in Poland

The Football Arbitration Court (PSP) at the PZPN operates pursuant to Art. 1154 - 1217 of the Code of Civil Procedure, internal regulations of the Polish Football Association, in particular resolutions and in the scope of the procedure (organization of proceedings) of the Football Arbitration Court Rules of the Polish Football Association, and the language of the proceedings is Polish. The Football Arbitration Court (PSP), as a permanent arbitration court, as a rule, hears cases in the field of sports law in football in the field of:

  • all disputes of a property nature,
  • non-property disputes that may be the subject of a settlement, including the so-called contractual stability of players (contractual stability),
  • complaints against final decisions of the Appeals Committee for PZPN Club Licenses on the refusal to grant, suspension or deprivation of licenses arising from the practice, organization, dissemination and development of the sport of football, the resolution of which in the course of arbitration proceedings is provided for by the statutes or regulations of FIFA, UEFA and PZPN.

 

This means that PSP recognizes, among others, cases involving such disputes in the field of sports law in football, such as claims of players regarding the creation, establishment, existence, validity, performance and termination of a contract for professional football, other non-property claims regarding ensuring contractual stability (contractual stability) and the solidarity mechanism (solidarity contribution), as well as claims for property rights pursued jointly with them. PSP recognizes disputes on the basis of the obligation of PZPN members, players, players, trainers and coaches, as well as transaction intermediaries (footballers' agents) to conclude civil law contracts, arbitration clauses regarding the settlement of disputes regarding the organization, dissemination and practice of the sport of football, providing that the only competent entity: Football Arbitration Court (PSP) at the PZPN. The jurisdiction of the Football Arbitration Court at the PZPN has been specified in § 4 of the Rules of the Football Arbitration Court of the PZPN and indicates that the PSP is competent to hear cases:

  • civil law property relations existing between players, clubs, sports associations and other sports organizations and individuals, including derivatives to membership, licensing and other qualification relationships entities to compete in the sport of football,

  • determining the amount of the equivalent for the training or promotion of the player in connection with the change of club affiliation (definite or temporary - transfer of the player), disputes regarding the creation, establishment, validity, performance or termination of professional or amateur contracts of football players,

  • sponsorship, management and transaction intermediary agreements in the sport of football,

  • contracts between organizers of football events and their partners specialized in the sale of television, advertising and promotional rights,

  • any other agreements concluded and implemented in connection with the organization and conduct of football competitions,

  • contracts with technical sponsors concluded in connection with practicing football,

  • contracts for specific work, mandate or services under Art. 750 of the Civil Code concluded with football coaches and instructors and other entities of the sports movement, including coaches running their own business (professional football coaching contracts), insurance in the sport of football,

     

  • request to determine the existence or non-existence of a legal relationship or right.

 

The Football Arbitration Court performs its basic function, in particular, by issuing arbitration awards in property and non-property cases that can be settled, submitted to it for consideration on the basis of an arbitration clause (arbitration agreement). Notwithstanding the above, it may consider complaints against final decisions in licensing disputes referred to in § 4 section 1 of the PSP PZPN Regulations. It should be mentioned that in the case of disputes to which a foreign player is a party, i.e. not a member of PZPN, PSP PZPN may be the competent arbitration court to hear his case, but such a player has the de facto right to choose between the Polish PSP PZPN and the Football Tribunal FIFA. This is important because it determines whether the case will be heard on the basis of Polish law and PZPN regulations, or on the basis of Swiss law and directly FIFA regulations.

Judgments issued by the PSP nature of a PSP judgment or order. Upon the judgment rendered, the parties pursuant to § 93 et seq. of the Regulations of the PSP PZPN, has the right to submit an application for reconsideration of the case. The application for reconsideration of the case is an appeal measure. The decision issued as a result of the re-examination of the case is final and enforceable in the manner specified in § 106 et seq. of the PSP PZPN Regulations.

It should also be pointed out that, unlike in the case of decisions by, among others, CAS or the FIFA Football Tribunal, PSP decisions are not published.

 

FIFA Football Tribunal | Disputes in football

Football Tribunal FIFA - The Football Tribunal at FIFA (The International Federation of Football Association / Fédération Internationale de Football Association), was established on the basis of art. 54 of the FIFA Statute to hear matters related to football and the regulation of its organization.

The Tribunal in its new form has been operating since October 1, 2021 and consists of three chambers, divided into chambers competent to decide individual cases:

  • DRC, the Dispute Resolution Chamber - competent for settling labor disputes between players and clubs, as well as with the equivalent for training players,
  • PSC, the Players' Status Chamber - the Chamber of the Status of Footballers, competent to settle disputes between coaches and clubs or federations and associations, transfer disputes between clubs, as well as international transfers (ITS - International Transfer System) and the rights of players to participate in national team games,
  • AC, the Agents Chamber - Chamber of Agents, more appropriate for resolving disputes involving football agents (transaction intermediaries / agents for players).

The Football Tribunal operates and conducts proceedings based on the Procedural Rules issued by the FIFA Council. The jurisdiction of FIFA's Football Tribunal is set out in various FIFA regulations, including the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players (RSTP) and the Regulations Governing the Application of the FIFA Statutes (RGAS).

From October 1, 2021, proceedings before the FIFA Football Tribunal are free of charge, provided that at least one of the parties to the proceedings is a natural person: a player, coach, football agent or match agent.

Football Tribunal rulings are enforced in accordance with the provisions of the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Arbitration Awards of June 10, 1958 (Journal of Laws of 1962, No. 9, item 41) and may be sanctioned by FIFA.

It is worth pointing out that on the FIFA website there is a database of judgments issued in sports matters in the field of football.

 

More information about FIFA Tribunal can be found at: www.fifa.com/legal

PZKosz STA - Sports Court of Arbitration at the Polish Basketball Association | Disputes in basketball

In order to hear disputes related to basketball, the Sports Arbitration Court (STA) at the Polish Basketball Association (PZKosz) was established, which is a permanent arbitration court, constituting a separate, independent unit established to settle disputes arising in connection with specific property and non-property disputes, which may be the subject of a court settlement, subject to its resolution by the parties.

The STA, like other specialized sports arbitration courts, was established to resolve disputes as quickly, simply and inexpensively as possible.

Proceedings before the STA are conducted on the basis of the Sports Regulations of the Court of Arbitration at PZKosz, adopted by a resolution of the Management Board of PZKosz.

It should be noted that in disputes heard by the STA, the language of the proceedings is Polish or English, depending on the decision of the arbitrator selected by the parties, who issues decisions in accordance with the provisions of Polish law and the internal regulations of PZKosz, but above all, he may issue a ruling in accordance with general rules justice (ex aequo et bono).

It should also be noted that, as in the case of the PSP (Football Court of Arbitration of the PZPN), the rulings of the STA are not published.

FIBA BAT - Basketball Arbitral Tribunal | Disputes in basketball

Basketball Arbitral Tribunal (BAT) - The Basketball Arbitration Tribunal operating at FIBA (Fédération Internationale de Basketball) is an independent body, officially recognized by FIBA ​​and designated as a jurisdictional body in the FIBA Statutes (General Statutes), whose purpose is to resolve disputes quickly and simply between players, agents, coaches and clubs through arbitration. BAT was established in 2006, initially as the FIBA Arbitral Tribunal.

The BAT jurisdiction includes BAT's ability to hear all matters related to basketball, as long as the parties have submitted the dispute or the possibility of submitting it to BAT, in accordance with Art. 0.3. BAT Arbitration Rules.

BAT proceedings are generally conducted in writing, in English, based on Swiss law and the BAT Arbitration Rules, taking into account general considerations of fairness and fairness, without reference to any specific national or international law (the so-called ex aequo et bono principle). Decisions issued by BAT are made within 6 months of the completion of BAT's proceedings in the case, which usually lasts from four to eight months. BAT awards are enforced in accordance with the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Arbitration Awards of June 10, 1958 (Journal of Laws of 1962, No. 9, item 41) and is secured by FIBA sanctions, such as a fine (which usually being a fine), withdrawal of the FIBA agent's license, ban on international transfers of players or ban on registering new players at the club, in accordance with the provisions of the internal regulations of FIFA. BAT is competent as an arbitration court on the basis of the Standard Arbitration Clause contained in the agreements, which may also be concluded by the parties as an agreement after the dispute has arisen.

The costs related to the proceedings are determined by the arbitrator in the award closing the proceedings, however, the parties are obliged to make advance payments towards the proceedings, the maximum amount of which is EUR 9,000.00.

It is worth pointing out that on the FIBA website there is a database of judgments issued in sports matters in the field of basketball.

More information about BAT can be found at: www.fiba.basketball/bat

Legal disputes in sport and the resolution of legal disputes in sports (sports law, sports law Poland, lex sportiva) is generally carried out in arbitration (ADR - Alternative Dispute Resolution), referred to as modification of sports arbitration. However, this is not a rule without exceptions. It should be emphasized that the main or most popular sports disciplines (basketball and football) have been developed by specialized permanent arbitration courts such as PSP (PZPN - Polish FA - Football Arbitration Court), Football Tribunal on FIFA: DRC (Dispute Resolution Chamber) , PSC (Players' Status Chamber), AC (Agents Chamber), STA (Polish Basketball Federation Arbitration Tribunal). Moreover, in Poland cases are also heard by the Arbitration Tribunal at PKOL (Polish Olympic Committee), and internationally by CAS / TAS - the Sports Arbitration Court, also known as the Sports Arbitration Court with its seat in Lausanne and branches in New York and Sydney.

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