ECHR 40575/10 & 67474/10 Adrian Mutu and Claudia Pechstein vs Switzerland

Affaire Mutu et Pechstein C. Suisse (Requêtes Nos 40575/10 et 67474/10) : Arrêt / European Court Of Human Rights (ECHR). – Strasbourg : Council of Europe (CoE), 2018. - (Requêtes Nos 40575/10 et 67474/10)

In the case of Mutu and Pechstein v. Switzerland (applications no. 40575/10 and no. 67474/10) the European Court of Human Rights Chamber held, by a majority, that there had been:

1. no violation of Article 6 § 1 (right to a fair trial) of the European Convention on Human Rights with regard to the alleged lack of independence of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), and
2. a violation of Article 6 § 1 of the European Convention in the case of the second applicant (Ms Pechstein), with regard to the lack of a public hearing before the CAS.

The case concerned the lawfulness of proceedings brought by professional athletes before the CAS.

The Court found that the CAS arbitration proceedings to which the applicants had been parties were required to offer all the safeguards of a fair hearing, and that the second applicant’s allegations concerning a structural absence of independence and impartiality in the CAS, like the first applicant’s criticisms concerning the impartiality of certain arbitrators, had to be rejected.

In contrast, the Court held that the questions concerning the merits of the sanction imposed on the second applicant for doping, discussed before the CAS, required a hearing that was subject to public scrutiny.

In August 2003 Adrian Mutu, a professional Romanian footballer, was transferred from the Italian club AC Parma to Chelsea. In October 2004 the English Football Association conducted anti-doping checks which showed cocaine traces in the sample provided by Adrian Mutu. Chelsea consequently terminated their contract with him.

Between november 2004 and June 2010 a number of proceedings and appeals followed in the dispute between the Chelsea Football Club and Adrian Muti about the Player's breach of contract and Chelsea's claim for compensation filed by both parties with FIFA, CAS and the Swiss Federal Court.

Claudia Pechstein is a professional speed skater. On 1 July 2009 the International Skating Union (ISU) imposed a 2 year period of ineligibility on Pechstein for blood doping.

Between July 2009 and June 2016 a number of proceedings and appeals followed in the dispute between Claudia Pechstein the ISU and the DESG filed with CAS, the Swiss Federal Court and the German Civil Court.

The Athletes filed their applications with the European Court of Human Rights on 13 July 2010 and 11 November 2010.

Relying on Article 6 § 1 of the Convention, the Athletes submitted that the CAS could not be regarded as an independent and impartial tribunal. Pechstein complained that she had not had a public hearing before the ISU disciplinary board, the CAS or the Swiss Federal Supreme Court, despite her explicit requests to that end.
Relying on Article 4 § 1 (prohibition of slavery and forced labour) and Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) of the Convention and Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 (protection of property), Mutu complained about the sum he had been ordered to pay to Chelsea Football Club.

(Source: ECHR Press Release ECHR 324 (2018), 2 October 2018)

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ECHR Decision
2 October 2018
Jäderblom, Helena
Keller, Helen
López Guerra, Luis
Lubarda, Branko
Pastor Vilanova, Pere
Poláčková, Alena
Serghides, Georgios A.
European Court of Human Rights (ECHR)
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Breach of contract
European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)
Fair trial
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Public hearing
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