Sports associations and federations have a large degree of autonomy in regulating their life and the life of their members. This autonomy enables them to adopt internal mechanisms to enforce their rules and objectives. Examples are disciplinary sanctions or other types of internal decisions (such as about admission to sports competitions). Those sanctions or decisions are taken by internal panels, commissions or other bodies whose qualifications vary among the different countries.

There is a grey zone that is far away from being clarified: What are the remedies against these kinds of internal decisions? Are there internal mechanisms of appeal, such as arbitration, or is it possible to resort to the ordinary courts? If it is, what are the limitations on judicial control?

Adopting a broad concept of justice, this presentation aims to show that the internal sport justice mechanisms can be divided into arbitration and other internal decision-making systems. While the former requires an arbitration clause, the latter relies on provisions in an association’s rules, so that the stipulated mechanisms are automatically accepted by joining. Athletes and other stakeholders usually do not have any other choice on account of the association’s monopolistic position, nor are they always aware that accepting the internal sport justice mechanisms could limit their access to the judiciary. A comparative perspective reveals that the limits on judicial control differ.


A sandwich lunch will be available from 12.30. The meeting will begin at 1pm.