Tweeting can become a nasty impartiality flaw for a CAS arbitrator

Tweeting can become a nasty impartiality flaw for a CAS arbitrator


The Sun Yang v. World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) decision rendered by the Swiss Federal Tribunal (SFT) on 22 December 2020 is noteworthy for several reasons. For the first time, an award of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) was annulled due to the lack of impartiality of an arbitrator. It is also the first time a CAS award has been annulled, not because of an annulment appeal stricto sensu, but because of a review application.

Statistically, this is a relatively rare ruling. This is only the 11th time that the SFT has overturned a CAS award,[2] while, since its creation, the CAS has rendered some 8,000 awards, and more than 200 of them have been challenged. In terms of the grounds for annulment, this is an unprecedented ruling.

From a sporting point of view, it is a ruling that is not without consequences. At 29 years old, the contested award meant the end of the career of a famous Chinese swimmer, triple Olympic champion, eleven times world champion.[3] CAS had suspended him for eight...

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