Sport policy: Legal defeat for Claudia Pechstein

Sport policy: Legal defeat for Claudia Pechstein
  • In 2009, the International Court of Sport CAS confirmed a two-year doping ban Pechsteins.
  • Pechstein has been lamenting this barrier for almost a decade. She filed a complaint against the CAS with the European Court of Human Rights.
  • The court dismissed the complaint – but Pechstein are 8,000 euros.

Speed ​​skater Claudia Pechstein has failed with a complaint against the International Court of Sport CAS for its alleged lack of independence. In a ruling, the European Court of Human Rights on Tuesday declared the CAS no lack of independence and impartiality (application number 67474/10). Thus, Pechstein has suffered a defeat in their year-long lawsuit against the Sports Arbitration Court.

However, according to the Strasbourg judges, they are entitled to € 8,000 in compensation because the CAS did not grant her a public hearing. As a result, their right to a fair trial was violated. The five-time Olympic champion had complained in front of the CAS in 2009 against a two-year ban due to conspicuous blood levels, which leads Pechstein back to an inherited blood anomaly. However, the CAS confirmed the penalty. Pechstein claimed in Strasbourg that the CAS was neither independent nor impartial. According to the court, the 46-year-old justified the allegation, inter alia, with the way in which the judges of the CAS are appointed.

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CAS in the criticism

Again and again there is criticism of the International Sports Court. One of the main allegations is that it is not an independent arbitral tribunal because the institution is financed by sports federations. In mid-September, a Belgian court ruled that the legal obligation to settle disputes between players, clubs and associations before the CAS was unlawful. The starting point was a lawsuit by the football club FC Seraing.

What is the European Court of Human Rights?

The ECtHR, based in Strasbourg, deals with fundamental rights violations of all kinds: such as ill-treatment in prison, deprivation of liberty or expropriation. Here, citizens can file a complaint against the state to which they accuse a violation of the Convention on Human Rights. Pechstein formally complains against Switzerland, where the CAS sits. In the case of the Strasbourg court, as in the case of Pechstein, the right to a fair trial is particularly frequent. The ECtHR is part of the Council of Europe, a 47-member state organization, including non-EU countries such as Russia, Ukraine and Turkey.

The court has nothing to do with the EU. The ECtHR has also spoken out in other sport policy issues. So in January he strengthened the existing doping control system. According to the judges, doping investigators may oblige professional athletes to provide information about their whereabouts months in advance. The so-called Whereabout system does not violate their right to respect for private life, it said in the judgment.

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