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‘Qatar will benefit immensely from MoU with CAS’

CAS President John Coates says the collaboration would help improve the country’s general and sports law.
John D Coates
John D Coates, the CAS president, says the sports court was collaborating with Qatar to ensure the arbitrators from the country developed their own expertise. IQ Photo: Vinod Divakaran

The Memorandum of Understanding between Qatar Sports Arbitration Foundation (QSAF) and the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) will benefit all the stakeholders immensely, according to CAS President John D Coates.

“I am happy that the whole world is accepting our jurisprudence,” said Coates, who was in Doha to sign the MoU on Wednesday. The MoU assumes extra significance, with Qatar set to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

“The agreement will help Qatar ensure good governance and will improve the country’s general as well as sports law. This is also the first time that a CAS ad-hoc panel will be based in a World Cup host nation to solve disputes,” Coates said.

Coates highlighted FIFA’s takeaways from the agreement. “Acceptance of this mechanism indicates the sophistication and transparency that FIFA is achieving,” he said.

The Australian said the CAS, based in Lausanne in Switzerland, was collaborating with Qatar to ensure that arbitrators from the country developed their own expertise.

“We have CAS arbitrators who come here and lecture and they host seminars as well. We’ll continue to do this so that the courts here can benefit from our knowledge,” Coates said.

Coates said the agreement with Qatar was an example of the CAS’ growing presence in the region.

“We have been in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and are available to conduct cases anywhere in the Middle East. But we can’t impose ourselves on anyone. It’s up to the National Olympic Committees and sports bodies to approach us,” said the CAS president.

Coates also commented on the public hearing of the case involving Chinese swimmer Sun Yang next month. This is only the second public hearing of a case in CAS since its inception in 1984. The first was a case between Irish swimmer Michelle de Bruin and FINA in 1999.

Freestyle ace Yang, Olympic and world champion, is under a cloud for allegedly violating anti-doping rules. Yang’s team has been accused of destroying vials of his blood samples during an out-of-competition test in September 2018.

Coates said the public hearing was the result of comments by the European Court of Human Rights in the case of ice-skater Claudia Pechstein in October last year.

“The court said where athletes ask for a public hearing, we should provide it to them. We’ve changed our rules and I think it’ll help in the transparency of our court,” said Coates.