CAS Ad Hoc Arbitration at the Olympic Games

With the Olympic Games in Tokyo have now passed and the next Olympics in Beijing already coming up in just a few months this winter, it is time to have a look at the special CAS Arbitration at the Olympic Games. Or more officially arbitration by the CAS Ad Hoc Division. This CAS Ad Hoc arbitration procedure is specifically designed for rapid arbitration procedures relating to the Olympic games, during and shortly before the games.

The benefit of this proceeding, is that is really fast. The time between statements and hearings are just a few days, potentially  only even a few hours. An award is rendered in just a couple of days. All in order for parties to have clarity as soon as possible, allowing an athlete to compete or to have a definitive result shortly after the competition.

In a prior blog I already explained what the CAS is. In this blog I will touch on the CAS Ad Hoc Arbitration and its legal basis. Based on the procedures during the latest Olympic Games, I will also explain for what types of procedures this CAS Ad Hoc procedure may be expected..

Legal Basis

The events at the Olympic Games are governed by the Olympic Charter. Article 61(2) refers any dispute arising out of or in connection with the Olympic Games to the CAS and thus to the CAS Ad Hoc Division.

Any dispute arising on the occasion of, or in connection with, the Olympic Games shall be submitted exclusively to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, in accordance with the Code of Sports-Related Arbitration.

The CAS has specific rules for the CAS Ad Hoc procedure at the Olympic Games: the “Arbitration Rules for the Olympic Games”, with purpose of providing a swift resolution of disputes relating to the Olympic Games.

The purpose of the present Rules is to provide, in the interests of the athletes and of sport, for the resolution by arbitration of any disputes covered by Rule 61 of the Olympic Charter, insofar as they arise during the Olympic Games or during a period of ten days preceding the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games.

A Tribunal under this rules will however only have jurisdiction in the event that all remedies available should have been exhausted or that this won’t be possible due to time constraints (article 1 Arbitration Rules for the Olympic Games).

Types of cases

Looking at the latest Olympic Games in Tokyo, the CAS Ad Hoc Procedure is as expected used for items, which cannot wait until the games are over. This results basically in two types of cases. 

1. Cases related to admission to the Olympic Games.

This should be either because of nomination issues or doping related issues. Examples of the latest games are:

  1. CAS OG 20/03 Jennifer Harding-Marlin v. St. Kitts & Nevis Olympic Committee & International Swimming Federation (FINA): nomination issue with National Olympic Committee.
  2. CAS OG 20.04 Maxim Agapitov v. International Olympic Committee: non-admission due to doping history.
  3. CAS OG 20/056 Oksana Kalashinikova & Ekaterine Gorgodze v. International Tennis Federation, Georgian National Olympic Committee, Georgia Tennis Federation: nomination issue with National Olympic Committee.
  4. CAS OG 20/06 World Athletics v. Alex Wilson, Swiss Anti-Doping & Swiss Olympic CAS OG 20/08 WADA v. Alex Wilson, Swiss Anti-Doping & Swiss Olympic: admission / non-admission due to preliminary suspension.
  5. CAS OG 20/13 Krystsina Tsimanouskaya v. National Olympic Committee of Belarus: Case against withdrawal of Ms Tsimanouskaya by the National Olympic Committee.
  6. CAS OG 20/12 Nazar Kovalenko v. World Athletics & Athletics Integrity Unit: challenge by Mr Kovalenko of his non-admission to the Olympic Games due to his failure to meet the doping requirements.
2. Cases related to results or decisions by jury’s and referee’s.

These cases will often lead to decisions taken into consideration the so-called “Field of Play” doctrine.

  1. CAS OG 20/10 NOC Belgium v. World Athletics & USOPC & NOC Dominican Republic & CAS OG 20/11 NOCNSF v. World Athletics & USOPC & NOC Dominican Republic: Joint procedure against decision by jury to undo disqualification of Teams USA and Dominican Republic.
  2. CAS OG 20/15 Yuberjen Martínez & Colombian Olympic Committee & Colombian Boxing Federation v. IOC Boxing Task Force: procedure against the decision of the boxing judges to appoint Mr Tanaka from Japan as winner of a fight.
  3. TAS JO 20/14 Mourad Aliev & Fédération Française de Boxe (FFB) & Comité National Olympique et Sportif Français (CNOSF) c. IOC Boxing Task Force & Frazer Clarke & British Olympic Association (BOA): Challenge of the disqualification of Mr Aliev by the judges of a boxing fight.

Final remark

The CAS Ad Hoc division has been very important in acting in such short timeframes. For athletes and sporting federations this is of the essence, since they know where they are up to rapidly. For athletes this can even mean that they can (still) compete at the Olympic Games, instead of awaiting a normal procedure.

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