Olympics and International Sports Law Research Guide

This guide is for researching the legal aspects of the Olympic Games. General international sports law resources are also included.


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Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS)


With the substantial economic and commercial impact of international sports comes the increased likelihood of dispute. In 1983, the IOC established the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS; also known by its French name, Tribunal Arbitral du Sport (TAS)) as a court with specialized knowledge in the field of sports. Disputes concerning game rules, disqualifications, and other technical questions are settled by the relevant sport body (e.g. IF, IOC, or national organization); non-technical issues (such as sponsorships, suspension, etc.) are settled by the CAS.

In 1994, CAS underwent substantial changes in its structure and procedures. From 1983 until 1994, CAS was monitored and solely funded by the IOC. In 1994, the International Council of Arbitration for Sport (ICAS) was formed to administer and fund CAS. This change secured the independent status of CAS. The creation of ICAS and the changes in the structure of CAS were finalized in a document called the Agreement Concerning the Constitution of the International Council of Arbitration for Sport, or Paris Agreement (available as PDF from an unofficial source here; also available in print in Digest of CAS Awards II 1998-2000 (Mattieu Reeb ed., 2002), p. 883 (Georgetown Law Library K3702.C68 2002)).

The Code of Sports-related Arbitration spells out the two divisions of CAS: the Ordinary Arbitration Division, which function as a court of sole instance, and the Appeals Arbitration Division, which hears cases brought to it on appeal from the various IFs and other sports organizations. CAS also has the power to issue advisory opinions. In rare instances, CAS decisions can be appealed to the Swiss Federal Tribunal. In addition to ordinary and appeals divisions, CAS forms special ad hoc divisions to hear urgent cases that arise during the Olympic Games. The turn-around time for arbitration decisions made by the ad hoc division can be as short as 24 hours.

Parties generally agree to refer their disputes to CAS in their individual arbitration agreements. Almost all Olympic IFs and many of the NOCs include a CAS arbitration clause in their agreements.


CAS hears cases on a variety of subjects, including doping, issues of nationality, advertising sponsorship, judging matters and other subjects of a commercial or disciplinary nature. Web and print access to published CAS awards are explained below.

CAS arbitral awards are available in its Jurisprudence database, and a separate page gathers its recent decisions.

Selected awards are published in print in the Recueil des sentences du TAS/Digest of CAS Awards. Note that all older awards are published; awards are selected for publication on the basis of their impact on CAS case law and on sports law in general. Awards are usually published in both English and French, the two official languages of CAS.

  • Recueil des sentences du TAS: Digest of CAS Awards: 1986–1998 K3702 .C68 1998; also available via Kluwer Arbitration
  • Recueil des sentences du TAS: Digest of CAS Awards II: 1998–2000 K3702 .C68 2002; also available via Kluwer Arbitration
  • Recueil des sentences du TAS: Digest of CAS Awards III: 2001–2003 K3702 .C68 2004; also available via Kluwer Arbitration
  • CAS Awards - Sydney K3702 .C863 2000
    Since 1996, there is a CAS ad hoc division at each Olympic Games to settle disputes within 24 hours. For the Sydney games, CAS published this separate volume to document the fifteen cases. Selected decisions from other Olympics are published in Recueil des sentences du TAS: Digest of CAS Awards above and via the CAS Jurisprudence database.