Handbook on International Sports Law
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Handbook on International Sports Law

Edited by James A.R. Nafziger and Stephen F. Ross

This Handbook presents a comprehensive collection of essays by leading scholars and practitioners in the burgeoning field of international sports law.
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Chapter 3: Mediating Sports Disputes

Ian Blackshaw


Ian Blackshaw I INTRODUCTORY Sport is now big business – worth more than 3 per cent of world trade and more than 3.7 per cent of the combined GNP of the 27 European Union (EU) Member States, with a total population approaching 500 million. So, there is much to play for, in financial as well as sporting terms. Not surprisingly, therefore, sports disputes are on the increase. The sporting world prefers not to ‘wash its dirty linen in public’ but to settle disputes ‘within the family of sport’.1 And so the question naturally arises: how best to settle them? By traditional or modern means? Through the courts or by alternative dispute resolution (ADR)? ADR, which may be defined as any process that leads to the resolution of a dispute through the agreement of the parties without the use of a judge, has become very popular over the years amongst companies, business people and organisations around the world, including sports bodies, such as the International Olympic Committee, which established the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in 1983 to settle sports disputes ‘within the Olympic family’.2 Extra-judicial settlement of various kinds of disputes through ADR methods has developed because the courts – and, indeed, traditional arbitrations like those conducted through the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris, France – are often slow; procedurally complex, technical and inflexible; and quite expensive. Apart from all that, arbitration, which is designed to avoid litigation, often, in practice, results in litigation; and, because the outcomes of...

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