Sports Legal System to Change: Brussels Court of Appeal Rules in Favor of Doyen, owned by Tevfik Arif,and Seraing

Sports Legal System to Change: Brussels Court of Appeal Rules in Favor of Doyen, owned by Tevfik Arif,and Seraing


Sports Legal System to Change: Brussels Court of Appeal Rules in Favor of Doyen, owned by Tevfik Arif,and Seraing


Doyen Sports Investments Limited, owned by Tevfik Arif and his two brothers, and more popularly called Doyen Sports, has reasons to rejoice. The private equity fund that manages and handles financial matters for sportspersons has been in a long legal battle against some big organizations and the results are out.

With the court giving a decision in the favor of Doyen Sports Investments Limited, financial matters in the sporting world are changing rapidly.

The Malta-based company is a subsidiary of Doyen Group, founded in 2011, and has worked with a number of European and South American football players and clubs.

It has a huge presence in Europe with plans to expand to other parts of the world. Tevfik Arif and his team of thirty employees currently handle the work from their London office, which must be happy with the latest developments in the court case.

What the Case is all about

All sporting matters are now authorized to be heard in domestic courts according to the 25-page sentence handed down by a Brussels Court of Appeal on the 28th of August.

This new ruling has the potential to shake the sporting world. According to the ruling, the “enforced arbitration” of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) is not legal, as the court finds the arbitration rules set out in the statutes of UEFA, FIFA, and their members violating article 47 of the European Charter of Fundamental Rights and article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights.

Under Article 66.1 of the 2015 FIFA Statutes, “FIFA recognizes the independent Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) with headquarters in Lausanne (Switzerland) to resolve disputes between FIFA, Members, Confederations, Leagues, Clubs, Players, Officials, intermediaries and licensed match agents.”

The rule says that legal disputes can only be heard by CAS, however now with the court ruling against it, things will definitely change.

More About the Ruling

The ruling affects all international and national sporting organizations including EHF and FIBA. Moreover, there’s now also a possibility of clubs or athletes suing organizations such as UEFA and FIFA. If this happens, the matter will now be handled in domestic courts. Some cases may also be handled by CAS, but only if both the parties mutually agree.

The History of the Ruling

The matter gained recognition in 2015 when investment fund Doyen Sports and Belgian club RFC Seraing entered into a legal battle related to the decision by FIFA to prohibit the use of investment funds for the ownership of players.

Martin Hissel, a known name in the industry, joined hands with Jean-Louis Dupont, famous for his work on the Bosman ruling, to fight the case.

The claimants did not only request the court to overrule the decision taken by FIFA but also to consider other issues including the ability of the sporting organizations to levy punishments, the legality of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules, and the legitimacy of CAS.

Experts believe that the parties were mainly interested in getting the “enforced arbitration” of CAS revoked. The lawyers argued that there’s room for doubt over the independence and impartiality of CAS since it’s under the political and economic influence of some international sports federations.

UEFA and FIFA Did Not Look Prepared

UEFA and FIFA did not look prepared for the news. The ruling is going to affect not just how they work in the future but some past cases as well, according to the claimants.The Brussels Court of Appeal did not grant UEFA’s request to throw out the process. Moreover, it also refused FIFA’s request to move the case to Zurich and ruled to continue with the case in its jurisdiction.

While the two organizations have yet to speak publicly about the decision, experts believe they must be working on reaching a solution as the decision will cause some major problems for a number of organizations such as FIFA and UEFA.

What about the Future?

The Roberto Heras case acted as a strong precedent in this case. In 2005, The Supreme Court of Spain annulled Heras’ positive drug test concluding that he didn’t have to move to CAS with his appeal.

This 2005 ruling made obligatory arbitration unconstitutional in the country. And now with this 2018 ruling, things are again going to change for how sports cases are handled.

Most clubs and players appear to be excited about these developments, but we do not have official statements yet. We are also not sure how the major sports organizations are going to react to the decision by The Brussels Court of Appeal.

Many experts believe that the Court of Arbitration for Sport was not prepared for the case and may come up with a shocking statement in the future. Check this space to hear more regarding the latest happenings in this Doyen Sports Investments Limited case as there is bound to be a lot more to come.

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