The promise of mediation in sport-related disputes

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The article examines the role that mediation can play and the added value it may bring to the resolution of sport-related disputes. Due to the pivotal role, arbitration has traditionally played in sport, the question posed in this article is not whether mediation should replace arbitration as a mainstream dispute resolution process. It only suggests that mediation should be institutionalized and used in appropriate sport-related disputes, primarily in contractual, commercial, and employment-related disputes as well as in disputes emanating from membership in sport organizations, as an alternative to going directly either to arbitration or to the courts. To substantiate the argument, the article explores and analyzes the limits of arbitration and the special advantage and potential contribution of mediation in sport disputes, in terms of efficiency and flexibility, privacy and parties’ autonomy, and better and more sustainable outcome, enhancing access to justice, ability to deal with non-arbitrable disputes and preserving business and personal relationships. Notwithstanding the advantages, the article highlights two possible shortcomings of mediation in sport, namely, lack of finality and loss of rulemaking opportunities, and discusses the special barriers that stand in the way of developing mediation in sport-related disputes. Finally, the article maps the state of mediation in sport, especially the degree of institutionalization of mediation on the international level, such as the CAS, ECA, WBC, and IIHF and provides recommendations for promoting the idea of mediation in sport.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-154
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Sports Law Journal
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, T.M.C. Asser Instituut.


  • Arbitration
  • CAS
  • Case settlement
  • Mandatory mediation
  • Mediation
  • Sport disputes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law


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