Athletics

Who all can appeal to CAS?

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), with its headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, set up in 1984 through the initiative of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), is an institution that provides its services to facilitate resolution of sports-related disputes.

Any individual or legal entity can refer a case to the CAS. However the CAS will intervene only in cases where the parties agree to arbitration if it is a one-off case or else such an agreement is available within a contract or the statutes or regulations of a sports organization.

With more and more anti-doping rule violations coming up in India, since the formation of the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) in 2009, and with the process related to appeals to the CAS quite often clouded in mystery, as far as athletes at large are concerned, it is time to try and understand the rules. The NADA rules say that an ‘international-level' athlete, the relevant international federation, the National Anti-Doping Organisation (NADO), the IOC (where the decision may have an effect in relation to the Olympic Games including decisions relating to the eligibility for the Olympics) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) can appeal to the CAS.

The definition of ‘international-level' athlete can vary from international federation to international federation but generally every federation accepts those who are in the ‘registered testing pool' as ‘international-level' athletes for out-of-competition testing.

The National-level athlete can appeal against a decision of the disciplinary panel to the National Anti-Doping Appeal panel (NADAP), to which the NADA, the international federation and the WADA can also appeal. Some countries extend this privilege to the National federations also. The NADA rules do not have such a provision.

Any decision by the National review body, with regard to a National-level athlete, can be appealed to the CAS only by the WADA and the international federation.

Limited right

In short, the right of appeal for an athlete is limited to just one level, either the National review body or the CAS for the National-level athlete and only the CAS for ‘international-level' athlete. This particular rule has remained unchanged in the WADA Code since it was first drafted in 2003. It is also available in the rules of all the major international federations and NADOs including the U.S and Britain. Any of these organizations can opt for either of the two alternatives given in the model rules formulated by the WADA — allow the National-level athlete the chance to directly go for an appeal to the CAS or else deal with it through a National-level review body.

The NADA opted for the second alternative of a National-level review body for National-level athletes, obviously keeping in mind the expenses involved in fighting a case in the CAS. So did all the leading international federations and NADOs.

“The disciplinary cases of an international nature ruled in appeal are free” in the CAS, except for an initial court fee of 500 Swiss francs (Rs 28,000). Parties are invariably directed to bear their own expenditure.

While laying down model rules for NADOs, the WADA suggested, as an optional clause, a bar on any further process to review a decision given by the disciplinary panel other than by the appeal panel or the CAS.

“No final decision of, or Consequences of Anti-Doping Rule Violations imposed by, the NADO Disciplinary panel shall be quashed, varied or held invalid, by any court, arbitrator, tribunal or other hearing body other than the National Anti-Doping Appeal Panel or CAS for any reason, including for reason of any defect, irregularity, omission or departure from the procedures set out in these Anti-Doping Rules, provided there has been no miscarriage of justice.”

The NADA did not include this clause in its rules though some countries including Britain have comparable rules within the framework of applicable law.

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Printable version | May 6, 2021 3:30:54 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/athletics/who-all-can-appeal-to-cas/article3273666.ece

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