SAFP and FIFPro demands action against controversial CAS

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SAFP and FIFPro are greatly concerned at the existence and the practice of the decision-making arbitration body CAS. The worldwide footballers’ association calls on the entire football family to take action against the controversial CAS-policy. 

CAS is the appeal body for FIFA DRC decisions. In the first years after the introduction of the DRC in 2001 most of the decisions of the FIFA DRC were confirmed by CAS. But in the past few years – especially after the Webster case in 2008 – FIFPro has noticed a different approach by CAS. Many important CAS-rulings deviate from the FIFA DRC decisions. Most of the time this approach is not favourable for players, for example the Matuzalem case and the El Hadary case.

Momentarily, CAS is not subject to any form of democratic control and it is a constant subject of discussion within global professional football.

SAFP and FIFPro have strong concerns regarding the following issues:

  •       The selection of arbitrators: the process to nominate CAS arbitrators is not transparent. There is no equal representation and therefore contravenes with FIFA principles for decent arbitration;
  •     The appointment of the chairman: there is a lack of independent arbitrators and chairmen. Experts will know from the moment the chairman of the panel is appointed what the outcome of the case will be;
  •       The application of rules/law: the FIFA DRC strives to have its decisions within the framework of FIFA Regulations on Status and Transfer of Players and EU law. But CAS does not take this into account. CAS takes too many decisions deviating from EU law and FIFA regulations; 
  •     De novo arguments: CAS accepts new arguments introduced by clubs during the appeal. For FIFPro it is not acceptable that parties introduce arguments before CAS they could have presented in first instance.

For these reasons SAFP and FIFPro proposes the following resolution:

SAFP and FIFPro calls on the football federations, employers organisations and workers organisations in professional football, and invites FIFA to establish and safeguard that the principles like those agreed upon in 2001 with the European Commission and with FIFPro will also apply in the procedures with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS/TAS).

In particular, SAFP and FIFPro refers to the following measures:

  •      to ensure a system that guarantees equal representation of arbitrators involved in professional football cases. In such a system the employers organisations will have the same rights as the workers organisation to nominate their arbitrators in order to have equal numbers on the applicable list of arbitrators.
  •  to provide a procedure for the appointment of a chairperson of each CAS panel in professional football cases that is open and transparent and is not influenced by the CAS-organisation.
  •       to ensure that in professional football cases with an international dimension the FIFA Regulations are the applicable regulations and that it will be made impossible to deviate from this principle by contract or regulations,
  •  to take particular measures in order to prevent that parties introduce new arguments or evidence in appeal where they could have presented these arguments in first instance.


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