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FFB Secretary General Earl Jones attended FIFA Executive Programme in Sports Arbitration in Paris

Posted: Wednesday, February 9, 2022. 11:56 am CST.

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: Football Federation of Belize (FFB) Secretary-General, Earl Jones attended the FIFA Executive Programme in Sports Arbitration in Paris, France, last week.

The first module of three took place in FIFA’s Paris office. According to the FFB, a selected group of talented lawyers and participants from member associations, clubs, and other football entities participated in the programme.

“The FIFA Executive Programme in Sports Arbitration, 2nd edition provides a hands-on approach to all aspects related to proceedings before the CAS,” said FIFA.

“FIFA has a long-standing and extensive CAS practice, being the international federation with the most experience of dealing with such procedures. FIFA has been involved in thousands of cases before CAS covering the whole spectrum of legal disputes (disciplinary, anti-doping, contractual, etc.).”

Jones, who is a retired magistrate, said he is an arbitrator and mediator in Belize.

“What we’re doing is to look at the procedure for associations or federations to access the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS),” said Jones.

“Most sporting disciplines have CAS as their final appeals court. So, whenever there is an international dispute, the appeal goes to CAS. In this executive program, we’re looking at the procedural issues as to how we can access the Court of Arbitration for Sports which is based in Lausanne, Switzerland, the procedure and what the requirements are, who can, and what are some of the financial constraints, and how FIFA can assist federations and associations with their international disputes.”

Jones said that FIFA members have access, but many don’t know who can access and how to access CAS.

“Once you have exhausted the procedure before FIFA, let’s say for instance, there is a procedure before FIFA and if you want to appeal then you go to CAS. What happens is that for most sporting disciplines throughout the world, the Olympic Association and so on, their final court of appeal is CAS.”

When Belize’s top-flight league, the Premier League of Belize, had a managerial problem over the last two years, they could have appealed to CAS just like present president Sergio Chuc did when he was barred from participating in the FFB elections some time ago.

“It’s just like the Supreme Court; you appeal to the Caribbean Court of Justice as the final court of appeal. We have CAS as the final court of appeal for sports,” said Jones.

According to Jones, the FFB has been working on setting up a structure that will make it clear to its members how to access arbitration.

“What we had done over the past couple of years, we had to set up the structure. In other words, you have a discipline and ethics committee, you have an appeals committee within FFB. So, all football-related matters, you would go to the discipline and ethics committee, or you will appeal to the appeals committee and after the appeals committee, then you go CAS.”

“You don’t go to the courts of Belize as long as you have an arbitration agreement. The FFB statutes has an arbitration agreement and once you subscribe to the FFB statutes, you subscribe to going to the arbitration. And the final court in arbitration is under CAS, so you don’t go to the criminal court.”

While the FFB is working on the structure for its member organizations to present protests and appeals, and subsequent arbitration if they so desire, Jones said the idea is for all Belizean sporting associations and federations to have a local arbitration body to access before having to recur to CAS.

“In Belize, we have to eventually set up a sports arbitration body. We have to do that in Belize because most of the statutes of the sporting disciplines speak to the final appeal to CAS. It’s not only football going to CAS, all sports [organizations] go to CAS, basketball, cycling, canoeing, everybody,” he said.

The next two modules of the FIFA Executive Programme in Sports Arbitration will be coming up later this year. The second module will be held virtually and the closing module at the FIFA HQ in Zurich in April.


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