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Reviewing Disciplinary Sanctions in Sports

Rosmarijn van Kleef

Keywords: Disciplinary Sanctions; Sport; Review; Arbitration; Court of Arbitration for Sport; Comparative Law

International and national sports federations create, apply and enforce rules in order to regulate their sports. If an associated member or club does not comply with these rules, disciplinary sanctions—such as fines, exclusion from participation in certain matches, or even exclusion from the federation—can be imposed. From the outset, the national or international sports federations create their own regulations and enforce them through an internal—private—sanctioning system. However, in the review of the sanction, national law takes up a prominent place. A federation's decision to impose a sanction can be subject to review either by a national court or in arbitration, for example, before the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The arbitral award, whose goal is to reach a final decision, can nevertheless be challenged before a national court. In the review of disciplinary sanctions, different legal frameworks—the private rules of sports federations and national law—cross each other's paths. The aim of this article is to map out the interrelation between these frameworks by analysing the two different paths that exist for the review of a disciplinary sanction. As the regulation of sport naturally crosses national borders, this analysis is structured using a comparative approach to find out whether there is any coherence at the international level regarding the review of disciplinary sanctions. The countries included in the comparison are England, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

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