Court of Arbitration for Sport

The Court of Arbitration for Sport is an international body established in 1984 to settle disputes related to sport through arbitration. Its headquarters are in Lausanne and its courts are located in New York City, Sydney and Lausanne. Temporary courts are established in current Olympic host cities.
The International Council of Arbitration for Sport was established simultaneously, and the President of both bodies are one and the same person. The ICAS, which has a membership of 20 individuals, is responsible for the financing of and financial reporting by the CAS, and it appoints the Secretary-General of the CAS.

Jurisdiction and appeals

Generally speaking, a dispute may be submitted to the CAS only if there is an arbitration agreement between the parties which specifies recourse to the CAS. However, according to rule 61 of the Olympic Charter, all disputes in connection with the Olympic Games can only be submitted to CAS, and all Olympic international federations have recognised the jurisdiction of CAS for at least some disputes.
Through compliance with the 2009 World Anti-Doping Code, all signatories, including all Olympic international federations and National Olympic Committees, have recognised the jurisdiction of CAS for anti-doping rule violations. Starting in 2016, an anti-doping division of CAS judges doping cases at the Olympic Games, replacing the IOC disciplinary commission. These decisions can be appealed to CAS's ad hoc court in the Olympic host city or, if the ad hoc court is no longer available, to the permanent CAS. The inaugural anti-doping division handled eight cases, of which seven were doping cases within its jurisdiction.
As a Swiss arbitration organization, decisions of the CAS can be appealed to the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland. Appeals of arbitration decisions are generally not successful, and no evaluation of the merits takes place, with the evaluation mainly based on whether procedural requirements have been met, and whether the award is incompatible with public policy. there have been seven successful appeals. Six of the upheld appeals were procedural in nature, and only once has the Federal Supreme Court overruled a CAS decision on the merits of the case. This was in the case of Matuzalém, a Brazilian football player.
The Federal Court of Justice of Germany ruled against the German speed-skater Claudia Pechstein, recognising a lack of jurisdiction to revisit her case. The Federal Court ruled that CAS met the requirements of a court of arbitration according to German law and that CAS's independence from the parties was secured by the method of selecting arbitrators and the possibility to appeal to the Swiss Federal Tribunal.


With the intermixing of sports and politics, the body was originally conceived by International Olympic Committee president Juan Antonio Samaranch to deal with disputes arising during the Olympics. It was established as part of the IOC in 1984.
In 1992, the case of Gundel v. La Fédération Equestre Internationale was decided by the CAS, and then appealed to the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland, challenging CAS impartiality. The Swiss court ruled that the CAS was a true court of arbitration but drew attention to the numerous links between the CAS and the IOC.
In response, the CAS underwent reforms to make itself more independent of the IOC, both organizationally and financially. The biggest change resulting from this reform was the creation of an "International Council of Arbitration for Sport" to look after the running and financing of the CAS, thereby taking the place of the IOC., most recent cases that were considered by the CAS dealt with transfer disputes within professional association football or with doping.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport is planning to move its headquarters from the Château de Béthusy to the south part of the Palais de Beaulieu.

CAS Board

CAS members

Jurisprudence examples of note


The ad hoc court for the 2016 Olympics had registered 18 cases by 3 August, surpassing the record two days before the Opening Ceremony. 11 of the cases were related to the various bans on Russian athletes related to the allegations of state-sponsored doping documented in the McLaren report. By the end of the Games the total number of cases was 28, 16 of which were related to the eligibility of Russian athletes.