Time to Reform the Turkish Arbitration System

Time to Reform the Turkish Arbitration System

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR or Court) rendered a very important decision in the Ali Riza and others v. Turkey case, involving a former professional footballer from Arsenal and Trabzonspor among others, by declaring that the Arbitration Committee of the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) was not considered to be independent and impartial.


In a recently published decision[1] of the ECHR, five different applications were reviewed in the form of a Pilot Judgment, as they shared the same issue, which was the structural problems associated with the Arbitration Committee of TFF. The Court decided that there was a violation of Article 6 § 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights (Convention) and gave clear instructions to the Turkish Government to resolve these systematic problems.

In its decision dated 28 January 2020, the Court found in particular that the Board of Directors of the TFF, which had always largely consisted of members of football clubs, had too strong an influence over the organisation and functioning of the Arbitration Committee. It was also underlined that the regulations of the TFF do...

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