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OCA President hails progress, influence of CAS

04 Jun 2014
Kuwait City, Kuwait: His Excellency Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah, President of OCA and ANOC, welcomed delegates from over 100 National Olympic Committees from Asia, Africa and Oceania to the Sport of Arbitration Forum in Kuwait on Wednesday afternoon.

Sheikh Ahmad said it was a privilege for the home city of the OCA to host such an important legal forum, and the fact that so many NOCs were represented from the three continental associations showed the respect and trust they had in the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

“There is a very big potential for the NOCs attending this forum because from here you can go back and follow up all the matters,” he said. “There has been a lot of questions from the floor and this means there is a lot of progress. It is important to understand the culture of the organisation and the legal set-up of CAS.”

CAS was formed 30 years ago to deal with sports disputes and ICAS – the International Court of Arbitration for Sport which governs and funds CAS – followed in 1994.

Looking back on the founding of the CAS movement, Sheikh Ahmad said it was the initiative of former IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch to establish a sports-specific arbitration service rather than have state courts deal with sports cases.

“The courts did not know sport or the Olympic Charter or the details of the Olympic sports movement, so President Samaranch decided to start this. I was one of the supporters at that time when there was a lot of people wondering about it. It was a very big question at that time,” he recalled.

Sheikh Ahmad said CAS laid firm foundations and made steady progress until today it is recognised, trusted and respected as the defining sports body for arbitration.

To underline the importance of CAS and its service, Sheikh Ahmad has put forward a proposal to IOC President Thomas Bach in his Olympic Agenda 2020 to amend the Olympic Charter requiring all NOCs and International Sports Federations to recognise CAS. The ultimate goal will be for CAS to rule all disputes within the sports movement and avoid any other influence.

For the first time at an Asian Games, CAS will provide an ad-hoc division to resolve any disputes that may arise during the 17th Asian Games at Incheon, Korea, from September 19 to October 4, 2014. Although CAS operates this ad-hoc division at Olympic Games and Commonwealth Games, this will be the first continental games to use this service.

“I hope this will be a step for other continents to follow. We will work hard to achieve our goals,” he concluded.

The Sport of Arbitration Forum for Africa, Asia and Oceania opened on Wednesday morning and will close on Thursday afternoon. It is being held at the Holiday Inn, next to the OCA HQ in Salmiya. 
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