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The increasing use of arbitration in sport over the last decade has challenged the legal framework in which arbitration disputes are addressed in many jurisdictions.
Recent controversies, including the decisions of the Swiss Supreme Court on the Court of Arbitration for Sports Jurisdiction, the legal consequences of misconduct in Formula One, and the sporting consequences of irregularities at West Ham Football Club in London, illustrate the increasing need for arbitration in disputes involving professional sports.
The arbitral system is under strain both externally and internally, the latter visibly evidenced by increasing controversies over conflicts of interest between arbitrators and counsel, and the potential liability of arbitral institutions unprotected by arbitral immunities such as ICC.
To deal with the growing importance of arbitration in sports, the global business organization, under the auspices of the ICC Institute of World Business Law, is hosting a one-day colloquium on 23 September at Roland Garros, the venue of the French Open.
â€śArbitration and sport have the world as their common playing field and it is therefore normal that they come together,â€ť said Thomas Clay, the co-chair of the colloquium and Dean of the Versailles Law School. â€śAt a time when sports are becoming more professional and the stakes are becoming higher than ever, dispute resolution takes on an increasingly important role.â€ť
â€śIn many respects arbitration offers the most suitable solutions with regards to the rapidity, diversity, incontestability and professionalism of the decisions rendered,â€ť Mr Clay added. â€śThis explains its exponential success, and justifies that we spend a day with the best specialists from all over the world.â€ť
The seminar, entitled Arbitration and Sport, should be of particular interest to practicing lawyers, corporate counsel, arbitrators, mediators, academics and other practitioners interested or involved in sport-related disputes.
Serge Lazareff, Chairman of the ICC Institute of World Business Law, will deliver the introduction, with participants debating topics including how to recognize real from fake sports-related arbitrations; how are disputes in Formula One, the Americaâ€™s Cup and American professional sports arbitrated; and whether sports-related arbitral proceedings differ from other arbitrations.
Other topics include the independence of arbitrators, the recourses against arbitral awards in sport; and whether an agreement to arbitrate exists in sports.
The seminar will end with a roundtable on the link between national, international and supranational sports-related proceedings.
Participants will enjoy a complimentary guided tour of the famous Roland Garros Stadium and playersâ€™ suites.
The colloquium was originally scheduled for April but due to the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud in Europe, it was postponed to 23 September 2010.