Sport dispute settlement in the European Court of Human Rights: the current state of affairs and some prospects for the future

Available in Russian

Author: Larissa Zakharova

DOI: 10.21128/2226-2059-2018-1-90-99

Keywords: athletes; Court of Arbitration for Sport; doping; sport clubs; sport disputes; sport fans; The European Court of Human Rights


Accusations according to which Russian athletes are guilty of breaching anti-doping rules make national legal scholars and practitioners search more actively for efficient ways to defend athletes’ rights. The European Court of Human Rights holds much interest as a potential forum for resolving sport disputes. It is a controlling mechanism set up by the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. The present article gives an overview of the ECtHR jurisprudence on sports disputes that is being formed. It is divided into three categories depending on the violations of the convention rights indicated by the applicants: Art.8 (right to respect for private and family life); and Art.2 of Protocol No.4 (freedom of movement); Art.6 (right to a fair trial); Art.3 (prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment) and Art.5 (right to liberty and security). In the case of Fédération Nationale des Syndicats Sportifs (FNASS) and Others v. France resolved by the Chamber in January 2018, the Court pointed out to the absence of violations of athletes’ rights established by Art.8 and Art.2 of Protocol No.4. Earlier the Court recognized no breaches of the sport fans’ rights laid down in Art.3 and Art.5. In the case of FC Mretebi v. Georgia the sport club succeeded in convincing the Court that Georgia had breached Art.6. Will the Court satisfy the demands of the athletes to recognize the violations on the part of Switzerland (in the cases of Adrian Mutu contre la Suisse, Claudia Pechstein contre la Suisse)? The chances of the disputes being resolved in favor of the applicants seem to be fairly high. In the concluding section the author makes a few suppositions as to what can become a matter of dispute in the future, such as infringements of the prohibition of discrimination established by Art.14 and Art.11 of the Protocol No.12.

About the author: Larissa Zakharova – Candidate of Sciences (Ph.D.) in Law, Associate Professor, Kutafin Moscow State Law University, Moscow, Russia.

Citation: Zakharova L. (2018) Rassmotrenie sportivnykh sporov v Evropeyskom Sude po pravam cheloveka: sovremennoe sostoyanie del i nekotorye perspektivy na budushchee [Sport dispute settlement in the European Court of Human Rights: the current state of affairs and some prospects for the future]. Mezhdunarodnoe pravosudie, no.2, pp.90–99. (In Russian).


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