The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on Tuesday has dismissed the appeal made by former Romanian footballer Adrian Mutu and German speed skater Claudia Pechstein against the decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), to which the two athletes challenged the fact that CAS was independent and impartial.
“In the case of Mutu and Pechstein v. Switzerland concerning the lawfulness of proceedings brought by professional athletes before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the Court found that the proceedings had satisfied the Convention requirements with regard to the independence and impartiality of the CAS, but should have entailed the holding of a hearing that was subject to public scrutiny. The applicants, a professional footballer and a professional speed skater, alleged that the proceedings before the CAS had been unfair,” a release posted on the ECHR website reds.
The Court further informs in the press release that “in August 2003 Mr Mutu, a professional footballer, was transferred from the Italian club AC Parma to Chelsea for a total of 26 million euros. In October 2004 the English Football Association conducted anti-doping checks which showed cocaine traces in the sample provided by Mr Mutu. Chelsea consequently terminated their contract with him.
In April 2005 the Football Association Premier League Appeals Committee (FAPLAC), to which the footballer and the club had appealed, ruled that there had been a unilateral breach “without reasonable cause” of the contract on the footballer’s part. He appealed to the CAS, which upheld that decision in December 2005. In May 2006 Chelsea filed an action for damages with the Disputes Division of the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA). It ordered Mr Mutu to pay the club over 17 million euros. In July 2009 the CAS dismissed Mr Mutu’s appeal. In September 2009 he lodged an appeal with the Swiss Federal Supreme Court seeking to have the CAS decision set aside. He argued that the Court of Arbitration for Sport had been neither independent nor impartial. Mr Mutu relied on an anonymous email stating that one of the arbitrators of that court, Mr D.-R.M., had been a partner in a law firm representing the interests of the owner of Chelsea Football Club, and on the fact that another arbitrator, L.F., had previously sat on the bench which had confirmed the lack of a “reasonable cause” for the breach of contract. In June 2010 the Federal Supreme Court ruled that the bench of the Court of Arbitration could be considered to have been “independent and impartial”, and therefore dismissed the applicant’s appeal.
Mr Mutu’s complaints under Articles 4 § 1 and 8 showed no appearance of a violation of the rights and freedoms set out in the Convention or its Protocols and had therefore to be declared inadmissible. In addition, since Switzerland had not ratified Protocol No. 1 to the Convention, that part of Mr Mutu’s application had also to be rejected,” the release reads.
Thus the ECHR maintains that Mr. Mutu has not made proof of the charges, so there is no serious reason for the Court to change the decision of the Federal Court.
Since July 2018, former footballer Adrian Mutu is second coach of the Al Wahda football club in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
file photo of Adrian Mutu