Friday, August 8, 2014

Who Governs European Soccer and Will Luis Suarez Win his Appeal for Biting Player

Following his four (4) month ban imposed by FIFA from "all football-related activity", Luis Suarez is appealing his suspension to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) today. The first appeal to FIFA (world football's governing body) was rejected last month. So how does a player, who has been suspended by FIFA, go through the administrative channels necessary to exhaust his appeal?

The History of the Court of Arbitration for Sport from their website:

"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 K├ęba 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 appeal was heard today by the Court of Arbitration for Sport and a decision will be handed down within the next week according to their website. What document gives FIFA the right to impose discipline on a soccer player, who's employer is most likely a club team? Hopefully, that will be an issue addressed in the decision.

Click here to see a well written paper analyzing the existing structure of FIFA.

Also, if all the clubs are represented by FIFA, it begs the question - who is representing the soccer players? What would an International Union of Football Players look like?

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