Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS)

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General Information

  • Official name: Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS)
  • Country: Switzerland
  • City: Lausanne
  • Type of organization: Independent Organization
  • Date of creation: 1984
  • Interests: Arbitration - Mediation
  • Fields of expertise: Sport Disputes



At the beginning of the 1980s, the regular increase in the number of international sports-related disputes and the absence of any independent authority specialising in sports-related problems and authorised to pronounce binding decisions led the top sports organisations to reflect on the question of sports dispute resolution.

In 1981, soon after his election as IOC President, H.E. Juan Antonio Samaranch had the idea of creating a sports-specific jurisdiction. The following year at the IOC Session held in Rome, IOC member H.E. Judge Kéba Mbaye, who was then a judge at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, chaired a working group tasked with preparing the statutes of what would quickly become the “Court of Arbitration for Sport”.

The idea of creating an arbitral jurisdiction devoted to resolving disputes directly or indirectly related to sport had thus firmly been launched. Another reason for setting up such an arbitral institution was the need to create a specialised authority capable of settling international disputes and offering a flexible, quick and inexpensive procedure.

The initial outlines for the concept contained provision for the arbitration procedure to include an attempt to reach a settlement beforehand. It was also intended that the IOC should bear all the operating costs of the court. Right from the outset, it was established that the jurisdiction of the CAS should in no way be imposed on athletes or federations, but remain freely available to the parties.

In 1983, the IOC officially ratified the statutes of the CAS, which came into force on 30 June 1984. The Court of Arbitration for Sport became operational as of that time, under the leadership of President Mbaye and the Secretary General, Mr Gilbert Schwaar.


The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) is an institution independent of any sports organization which provides for servic¬es in order to facilitate the settlement of sports-related disputes through arbitration or mediation by means of procedural rules adapted to the¬ specific needs of the sports world.

The CAS was created in 1984 and is placed under the administrative and financial authority of the International Council of Arbitration for Sport (ICAS).

The CAS has nearly 300 arbitrators from 87 countries, chosen for their specialist knowledge of arbitration and sports law. Around 300 cases are registered by the CAS every year.

Statutes of ICAS and CAS

In order to settle sports-related disputes through arbitration and mediation, two bodies are hereby created: • the International Council of Arbitration for Sport (the “ICAS”) • the Court of Arbitration for Sport (the “CAS”).

The disputes to which a federation, association or other sports-related body is party are a matter for arbitration in the sense of this Code, only insofar as the statutes or regulations of the said sports-related bodies or a specific agreement so provide. The seat of the ICAS and the CAS is established in Lausanne, Switzerland.

  • The task of the ICAS is to facilitate the settlement of sports-related disputes through arbitration or mediation and to safeguard the independence of the CAS and the rights of the parties. To this end, it looks after the administration and financing of the CAS.
  • The CAS, which maintains a list of arbitrators, provides for the arbitral resolution of sports-related disputes through arbitration conducted by Panels composed of one or three arbitrators. The CAS is comprised of an Ordinary Arbitration Division and an Appeals Arbitration Division. The CAS, which maintains a list of mediators, provides for the resolution of sportsrelated disputes through mediation. The mediation procedure is governed by separate rules.

How does CAS mediation work?

The party wishing to institute mediation proceedings addresses a request in writing to the CAS Court Office. Then, a mediator is appointed by the parties from among the list of CAS mediators or, in the absence of any agreement, by the CAS President after consultation with the parties.

The mediation procedure is conducted in the manner agreed by the parties. Failing such agreement, the mediator determines the manner in which the mediation will be conducted. The mediator promotes the settlement of the issues in dispute in any way that he believes to be appropriate. To achieve this, he will propose solutions. However, the mediator may not impose a solution of the dispute on either party. If successful, the mediation is terminated by the signing of a settlement by the parties.¬

What kinds of dispute can be submitted to the CAS ?

Any disputes directly or indirectly linked to sport may be submitted to the CAS. These may be disputes of a commercial nature (e.g. a sponsorship contract), or of a disciplinary nature following a decision by a sports organisation (e.g. a doping case).


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