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TAS / CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sports)The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), known in French as Tribunal Arbitral du Sport (TAS), stands as the paramount authority in resolving disputes related to classical sports. The CAS was established in 1983 and is headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland. The CAS operates as an independent judicial body, arbitrating conflicts arising within the realm of sports, including disputes related to doping, disciplinary actions, contractual matters, and various other legal issues.

History and Establishment

The CAS was founded due to the need for an independent and specialized body to resolve disputes in the increasingly complex world of international sports. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) established the CAS in 1983. The organization officially commenced its operations in 1984 and has since played a pivotal role in ensuring fairness and integrity in sports worldwide.

Structure and Functioning

The Code of Sports-related Arbitration (Code) has governed the organisation and arbitration procedures of the CAS since 1994 (revised in 2003; latest version as of 2010). The Code is divided into (i) the statutes of bodies working for the settlement of sports-related disputes and (ii) the procedural rules for ordinary arbitration procedure, the appeals arbitration procedure, the advisory procedure and the mediation procedure.

Arbitration proceedings usually consist of written proceedings, with an exchange of statements, and oral proceedings, where the parties are heard by the arbitrators, generally at the seat of the CAS in Lausanne.

The CAS consists of at least 150 arbitrators who fulfil the functions of the CAS with the aid of its court office, headed by the Secretary General. The CAS consists of two divisions: an “Ordinary Arbitration Division”, for sole-instance disputes, and an “Appeals Arbitration Division”, for disputes resulting from final-instance decisions taken by sports organisations.


The court comprises experienced and impartial arbitrators selected from a pool of legal experts, judges, and sports professionals worldwide, which are appointed for renewable terms.

The decisions are binding and enforceable, with limited recourse to appeal to the Swiss Federal Tribunal on specific legal grounds.

Jurisdiction and Cases

CAS exercises jurisdiction over a wide range of disputes arising in the field of sports, including but not limited to:

  • CAS handles disputes related to anti-doping rule violations, including appeals against sanctions imposed by national anti-doping authorities.
  • The court arbitrates disciplinary actions against athletes, coaches, and officials for violations of sports regulations, codes of conduct, and ethical standards.
  • CAS resolves disputes arising from sports-related contracts, e.g. transfer disputes.
  • The court addresses disputes related to the governance and administration of sports organizations, including elections, membership disputes, and constitutional matters.
  • CAS adjudicates disputes arising from the Olympic Games, including eligibility issues, qualification disputes, and challenges to decisions made by the IOC and other Olympic bodies.
  • CAS usually provides ad hoc dispute resolution at important events where a fast decision is essential.

CAS and eSports

eSports lacks any legitimized, central institutions for dispute resolution. The advantage of such an institution would not only be a one-stop store, but also a uniform jurisdiction. In the long term, eSports will need such an institution to resolve emerging disputes. Arbitration has proven to be particularly suitable for this type of dispute. However, such an institution would also require the support of relevant stakeholders in eSports, first and foremost the publishers.

Disputes related to eSports require expertise on the part of the judges. CAS already gathered specialised arbitrators for regular sports. It would be obvious to establish an eSports arbitral tribunal with CAS, whose eSports arbitrators have detailed knowledge of the specific video games, competitions, teams and players as well as the applicable rules.

Arbitration proceedings would also be significantly faster than lengthy proceedings before national courts. eSports shares the need of regular sports for quick decisions (e.g. before or during ongoing competitions). Consider that short player careers also leave little room for lengthy legal proceedings. Quick and well-founded decisions can also serve as a deterrent for future offenses.


There is no standardized procedure in eSports, as there is in regular sport, which allows decisions to be contested before the CAS or to be appealed directly to the CAS. However, the CAS offers dispute resolution for all “sport-related” disputes anyway. By interpreting the term broadly, eSports-related disputes can be referred to the CAS by contract. The CAS would be an ideal point of contact, particularly due to its legitimacy in traditional sport and the trust that already exists in the independence of the CAS.


  • Bernhard Campara-Kopeinig

    Bernhard Campara-Kopeinig, based in Vienna, AT, is currently a Attorney At Law at Campara.Legal, bringing experience from previous roles at PHH Prochaska Havranek Rechtsanwälte GmbH & Co KG and FWP Fellner Wratzfeld & Partner Rechtsanwälte GmbH. Bernhard Campara-Kopeinig holds a 2005 – 2012 Magister in Rechtswissenschaften @ University of Vienna. With a robust skill set that includes Alternative Dispute Resolution, Esport Legal Advice, Rechtsberatung, Rechtsstreitigkeiten, Zivilprozesse and more, Bernhard Campara-Kopeinig contributes valuable insights to the industry. View all posts

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