Dispute resolution at the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and its judicial bodies

Dispute resolution at the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and its judicial bodies

* FIFA defends the principle according to which, as a general rule, disputes between the members of the football movement should be dealt with and settled within the structures of organised football, i.e. by sporting decision-making bodies. Bearing this principle in mind, in the field of players’ status FIFA has created and implemented a successful dispute resolution system that it puts at disposal of the various stakeholders, i.e. member associations, clubs, players, coaches as well as licensed match and players’ agents, in order to deal with the various litigations that might arise amongst them, mainly of a contractual nature.

In a rather short presentation the various decision-making bodies within the pertinent dispute resolution system shall be briefly introduced, as well as their respective competences. Furthermore, the presentation aims at describing FIFA’s competence/jurisdiction to hear a series of specific disputes and at touching on the delimitations with regard to ordinary courts of law and possibly existing national decision-making bodies established within the framework of a member association.

FIFA has also put in place judicial bodies that are capable of imposing a wide range of sanctions in case of breach of the FIFA regulations. The scope of action of these judicial bodies is immense and covers a number of different situations. The scope of action of the FIFA judicial bodies is necessary for a proper functioning of FIFA and for its member associations and officials as well as for a correct and uniform application of the diverse regulations by stakeholders. 

Thus, in the second part of the presentation, the three FIFA judicial bodies of FIFA - the FIFA Disciplinary Committee, the FIFA Appeal Committee and the FIFA Ethics Committee - will be briefly introduced, with a focus on the FIFA Disciplinary Committee and the enforcement procedure that has been implemented at FIFA level and the extension procedure of sanctions taken at national level to have worldwide effect.


* The position expressed in this short article reflects the personal opinion of the authors and does not necessarily correspond to the official position of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). Furthermore, the authors would like to thank Mr Jan Kleiner, former Legal Counsel within the Players’ Status and Governance Department of FIFA’s Legal Affairs Division for his valuable assistance in gathering the information and details pertaining to the existing case law of the Dispute Resolution Chamber.  

I. Dispute resolution by the Player's Status Committee and the Dispute Resolution Chamber of FIFA

A. Introduction

1. General remarks

For those involved in sports law and in particular, in football matters, there is most certainly no need to recall that the current dispute resolution system established within the structures of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) is one of the most important outcomes of the complete revision of the various rules pertaining to the international transfer of players carried out back in the year 2000, respectively early 2001. Like most of the principles currently contained in the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players (hereinafter: the Regulations)[1], the basis of the relevant system is to be found in the agreement reached between FIFA/Union des...

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