The Sports Arbitral Tribunal, controversial arbitrator

The Château de Béthusy, a historic monument in downtown Lausanne, is no longer old enough to push its walls. Its monumental staircases, its well-carved park and the diamond-shaped parquet floor gave prestige to the Sports Arbitral Tribunal (TAS), but the tenant has grown too much. Created in 1984 by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the body has grown from the start of the century from two to 36 employees, from 30 to 600 cases per year, and will move higher up in the Olympic city at the end of 2021 .

As of Monday 8 June, the referees in Lausanne are examining the case of Manchester City: the English club is contesting its removal from the European cups for two seasons by UEFA. The body in charge of European football wants to punish it for non-compliance with the rules of financial fair play, a mechanism by which a club must not spend more than it wins. Later, the CAS will take up the Russia case, which the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) wishes to banish from world sport for four years.

Football club against federation, footballer against club, athlete against anti-doping agency: this is what constitutes the vast majority of legal disputes that must be resolved by the CAS. The financial stakes and the flourishing of lawyers specialized in sport have fueled the growth of the institution, which has established itself as a central and essential player in professional sport. Without getting rid of the suspicions about his independence, which persist since his first steps.

"We must not look too far and want to see at all costs an influence or conspiracies", Matthieu Reeb, secretary general of the CAS

"The CAS has proven itself as an independent court, acquired some recognition from the authorities, the federal court and governments", assures the secretary general of the authority, Matthieu Reeb.

Round glasses, courteous air, this Swiss fifties, who reigns on the CAS for twenty years and grows close to the elite of the administrators of the sport, answers with assurance to the criticisms emitted in the small circle of the law of the sport: "There have been significant improvements in the transparency and independence of the institution. The activity is mainly based on the work of the referees. You don't have to look too far and want to see influence or conspiracies at all costs. "

Financial dependence

If the CAS is not under influence, at least it gives the appearance, say its detractors, who accuse it of not biting the hand which feeds it: the sports movement. To understand, we must return to "original sin": the creation of the CAS by the IOC.

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