8th April 2019

Russia formally appoints domestic ‘Sports Arbitration Centre’

Russia’s Ministry of Justice has appointed the non-profit Sports Arbitration Centre (Спортивная Арбитражная Палата), founded by the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) in 2004, as the country’s permanent arbitral body to deal with sporting disputes including doping, and disputes between athletes, clubs, and sporting federations. The Sports Arbitration Centre website states that it was founded by the ROC and the Sports Law Association of Russia, and was approved by the International Council of Arbitration for Sport (ICAS) in 2004. The body has been utilised for settling sporting disputes for some time.

Russia’s Deputy Minister of Justice, Denis Novak (Денис Новак) said that Russia’s Law on Physical Culture in Sports has a chapter setting out that sporting disputes may be submitted to arbitration in accordance with their special characteristics. “The Law on Physical Culture and Sports specifically states that such arbitration is to be created with a non-profit organisation, founded by the Russian Olympic Committee”, he told TASS, adding that the body will deal with doping cases.

“It is obvious that the legislator has provided that a special institution should be created for this. Why are these disputes going to foreign arbitration institutions? We have a problem in that under our Labour Code and civil procedure law, such disputes fall within the competence of State courts of general jurisdiction, but in our courts, arbitration awards will not be enforced if these disputes go abroad”.

Similar sporting arbitration institutions exist in other countries. Examples include the Cour Belge d’Arbitrage pour le Sport (CBAS); Australia’s National Sports Tribunal, which will open its doors in 2020; the Sports Tribunal of New Zealand (STNZ); and Italy’s Tribunale Nazionale di Arbitrato per lo Sport (TNAS).

Russia’s Sports Arbitration Centre is Chaired by Alexandra Brilliantova (Александра Бриллиантова), a CAS member who also heads the ROC Legal department and is Chair of the Sports Law Association of Russia. The President is Viktor Blazheev (Блажеев Виктор Владимирович), who is also Deputy Head of the ROC’s Legal Department and President of the National Association of Sports Lawyers. The Vice Presidents are Sergey Mikhaylovich Shakhray (Серге́й Миха́йлович Шахра́й), one of the authors of Russia’s Constitution; and lawyer Marina Zinovevna Pak (Пак Марина Зиновьевна).

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