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THAC Launches the Thailand Court of Arbitration for Sport

Article by Anne Coulon, Regional Legal Adviser of DFDL

A new specialised arbitration institution, the Thailand Court of Arbitration for Sport (“TCAS”), was set up in early October 2022 in Thailand. The creation of the TCAS was initiated by the Thailand Arbitration Center (“THAC”) in cooperation with the Sports Authority of Thailand (“SAT”) to provide services for the settlement of sports-related disputes through arbitration and mediation. The TCAS has specific procedural rules adapted to the needs of the sports world.

Large, international athletic competitions, as well as domestic sports, call for a suitable mechanism for dispute resolution – one that can efficiently address various issues that need resolution in this fast paced and highly specialised sector. Sports disputes are multi-pronged. They range from commercial disputes related to sponsorship agreements, media rights, employment issues, and regulations of transfers, to more sport-specific disputes such as doping, cheating and accidents on the field. The only requirement for a matter to be administered by a sport-specialised arbitration institution is that the dispute be directly or indirectly linked to sport.

Arbitration for sport-related disputes has been highly successful for the Court of Arbitration for Sport (“CAS”), which was created in 1984 and is based in Lausanne, Switzerland. The CAS operates under the administrative and financial authority of the International Council of Arbitration for Sport. The CAS has demonstrated the merits of the dispute resolution for sports-related matters through the publication of the many awards it has rendered, and with a large and consistently growing volume of cases handled.

The THAC has found merit in establishing competent sports dispute resolution services because of the increasing number of sports disputes in the region arising from the resumption of international sporting competitions in the post-pandemic period.

It shall be noted that the THAC was endorsed with the task of promoting and developing mediation and arbitration in Thailand by virtue of the Act of Arbitration Center, B.E. 2550 (2007).

To pave the way for the creation of Thailand’s first arbitration center dedicated to sports disputes, the THAC drafted both the “Regulations of Sports Dispute Settlement Center Regarding Mediation B.E. 2564 (2021)” and the “Regulations of Sports Dispute Settlement Center Regarding Arbitration B.E. 2564 (2021)” for the SAT’s consideration. The regulations established the procedural standards to be followed by disputants.

The TCAS will provide mediation and arbitrations services, all handled by arbitrators and mediators with expertise in both domestic and international sports disputes.

The information provided here is for information purposes only and is not intended to constitute legal advice. Legal advice should be obtained from qualified legal counsel for all specific situations.