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Sport Arbitration Forum opens in Kuwait

04 Jun 2014
Kuwait City, Kuwait: The President of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), John Coates, welcomed legal representatives from National Olympic Committees of Oceania, Africa and Asia to the Sport Arbitration Forum in Kuwait City on Wednesday morning. The Australian sports leader, who is also a Vice President of the International Olympic Committee, thanked the OCA and ANOC President, HE Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah, for his support of CAS in his various capacities and also on a personal level.

“Sheikh Ahmad has always been a great supporter of CAS,” he said, highlighting the US$2.5 million ANOC allocation to CAS and the OCA’s invitation to CAS to make presentations at the OCA General Assembly and also to form an ad-hoc division at this year’s Asian Games.

Mr Coates explained to delegates that CAS was formed 30 years ago, and there were 40 cases in 1994 compared to 408 in 2013. The number of employees has grown from three to 24 and the budget from 1 million Swiss Francs to 12 million Swiss Francs.

He said that CAS had now become the supreme court for sport and the efforts to regionalize the procedures had resulted in Alternative Hearing Centres in Abu Dhabi, Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur and Cairo in addition to the HQ in Switzerland and offices in Sydney and New York.

The CAS President welcomed representatives from 45 NOCs in Asia, 44 in Africa and 15 from Oceania, and thanked the OCA, ANOC and Olympic Solidarity for hosting the event.

On behalf of the OCA President, the delegates were welcomed to the Forum – at the Holiday Inn next to the OCA HQ – by OCA Vice President Lt Gen (retired) Syed Arif Hasan, President of Pakistan NOC.
He urged the delegates to take advantage of the Forum, which he described as very important in the understanding of sports arbitration with so many experts giving presentations and available for questions.

“It will be an extremely fruitful session for the NOCs and we will learn a lot,” he said.

“It is the first time three continental associations have gathered for a forum like this and the large number in attendance shows the interest it has generated.”

The first morning included a presentation by Matthieu Reeb, CAS Secretary General, who said the Incheon Asian Games 2014 would be the first continental games to operate a CAS ad-hoc division to deal with disputes following the Olympic Games in 1996 and Commonwealth Games in 1998.

The benefits will be a quicker, less bureaucratic procedure and a decision within 24 hours, he said.

Mr Reeb added that, since FIFA recognised CAS in 2004, the number of cases had more than doubled, and now 55-60 per cent of all cases involved football, including contractual disputes and UEFA match-fixing and Financial Fair Play matters. Doping cases took up another 30 per cent.
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