By Aris Barkas/ firstname.lastname@example.org
The Euroleague Basketball Dispute Resolution Chamber was presented last week in Istanbul without much fanfare. However, it can be considered the first step in the creation of a governance system within the competition, which will resolve any dispute, including financial issues between the clubs and their employees without the need for inclusion of any institution outside the EuroLeague ecosystem.
As Goran Sasic, the executive director of the EuroLeague Head Coaches Board stated: “We see this as an important milestone that has been achieved in the very first year of the foundation of the EuroLeague Head Coaches Board, and I would like to thank all stakeholders who were involved in the discussions, particularly Euroleague Basketball and its clubs. Until today, all disputes between coaches and clubs were handled by BAT, CAS, or national courts, which are outside of the Euroleague governance system. Dispute resolution was not effectively utilized until now, and we believe that the dispute resolution chamber can be more effective for everyone.”
The Euroleague Basketball Dispute Resolution Chamber (DRC) is an independent body that, through its Arbitration Code, brings rapid contract termination dispute resolution between clubs and head coaches within the Euroleague Basketball governance system. The DRC Board, whose responsibility is to oversee the correct application of the Arbitration Code, is composed by Mr. Luigi Fumagalli, Mr. Andrea Fioravanti, and Mr. Jose Meirim. The list of DRC arbitrators is composed by Mr. Pierfilippo Capello, Mr. Lucas Ferrer, Mr. Martin Henssler, Mr. Jan Kleiner, Mr. Dennis Koolard, Mr. Emin Ozkurt, Ms. Lauren Page, Mr. Theodore Pistiolis and Mr. Bojan Urdarevic.
The chamber will resolve all financial disputes for EuroLeague coaches’ contracts, and all the possible penalties will be enforced directly from the EuroLeague. While the BAT and CAS are institutions with an excellent track record – and all of the DRC arbitrators have CAS and BAT experience – the ban of transfers was the only penalty for clubs/employers who didn’t fulfill their obligations after a decision against them.
The coaches’ contracts will be more or less standardized from now on under Swiss law. The workgroup that was selected by the EuroLeague and the EuroLeague Head Coaches Board and created the DRC decided that Swiss law should be used and avoid the confusion of contracts drafted under national legislation, depending on the country of each club.
Can this be a model that EuroLeague players’ contracts will also follow in the future? A standardized contract also under the Swiss law – which is considered the best legislation for international business transactions – can’t be excluded as an option; however, so far, the EuroLeague Players Association is just monitoring the situation and has not yet reached a conclusion.
It’s evident, on the other hand, that EuroLeague shareholders are on the path of creating their institutions outside FIBA’s governance. And while for the moment players’ disputes will ultimately end up in BAT, the Basketball Arbitral Tribunal of FIBA, with the talks for the first-ever players’ collective bargaining agreement underway, things might change.