Update: CAS tribunal

Lawyer Nezar Ahmed has sent a letter asking CAS for clarification on their delay on awarding the case involving the Iraqi FA.

Dear Mr. Coates

This is to revert to the letter of CAS Secretary General, dated 4 October 2013 in connection with the captioned proceedings, wherein the Secretary General affirmed that the final award in this case will be delivered shortly after the payment of the last advance of costs.

Notwithstanding the above-mentioned payment was made three weeks ago, the CAS has not issued the said. What is more, the CAS ever since is utterly unresponsive to our inquires regarding the above. Per se, please allow me to borrow a few moments of your precious time to set the followings

The relevant hearing in this case less the closing arguments was held in September 2012. The parties filed their respective closing arguments two weeks later. Since then, apart from our inquires related to the notification of the award,no filings, requests and issues have been submitted into file by either party. Therefore, the Panel so far had enjoyed twelve (12) months of uninterrupted time deliberating the matter, time which is excessively lengthy in sport arbitrations, in particular, given that such deliberation is restricted exclusively to the merits of the claim per the March-2012 Procedural Calendar, concluded by the parties, barring the Panel the consideration of all procedural, legal and evidentiary issues not in connection with the merit. In a matter of fact, we repeatedly expressed in the file that we are not liable for any and all costs incurred in connection with any matter of no relevance advanced by the Respondent as well we constantly advised the Panel that our rights cannot be compromised because of the Respondent’s onslaught of irrelevant requests, meritless legal issues, unsupported accusations, and allegations of no relevance alleged to be merely supported by barrage of unauthentic documents despite the CAS, not once but twice, instructed the Respondent to restrict the extent of its pleadings exclusively to the merits of the case (cf. CAS’s letters of 9 May and 29 May 2012). With this regard, it bears emphasizing that it is the duty of the CAS to indiscriminately protect the rights of parties in the procedure brought before it.

By means of a letter, dated 29 January 2013, the CAS informed the parties that the award will be issued by the end of March 2013. However, on 3 April 2013, the Chairman of the Panel (the “Chairman”) informed the parties that the political and financial situation taking place in Cyprus prevented the Panel from completing its work. Moreover, in another letter, dated 16 May 2013, the CAS explained that the lengthy time spent in deliberation is linked to the volume of documents and complexity of the  evidentiary issues as well as by the disturbance caused by events in Cyprus that required the Chairman to address an inordinate volume of extremely urgent and sometimes humanely dramatic client matters. By a way of a telephone conversion I held on 6 September 2013 with the CAS Counsel in charge of the case – Mr Fida, I have been informed that the Panel has transmitted the award to the CAS Court Office and hence the notification of it is merely pending the review of the CAS General Secretary. Consequently, it is exceedingly difficult to comprehend that during more than seven weeks the General Secretary couldn’t not find the time needed to complete a review the scope of which is limited to making rectifications of pure form. In view of the foregoing, it appears more likely than not that the demanding workload of the Chairman is inhibiting him from finalizing, within a reasonable time, the work of the Panel. In our opinion, under these unfortunate circumstances, the Chairman should have removed himself from the case, failing which the CAS should have invoked article R35 of the CAS’s Code.

Therefore, in either case, my clients’  protected right is breached in this procedure. Related to the above, due to the Respondent’s refusal to make contribution towards the costs of these arbitrations, my clients paid the entire advances of costs totaling 150’000 CHF, in addition to another +100’000 CHF incurred in legal fees and other expenses. Given that the Income Per Capita (GDP) of the Iraqis is about 3’200 CHF according to World Bank data, the foregoing costs are substantial in contrast to my clients’ financial capabilities. Therefore, my clients did not invest this substantial amount of money, time and effort so that their case will be decided subject to the chairman unavailable time. Moreover, my clients did not file this case in order that the CAS stays deciding the matter pending the Respondent completes its time in office frustrating the sole objective of these litigations, as the case seems to be. Indeed, every day elapses devoid of deciding their claim, my clients bear added irreparable damage. This is all the more true that a day of delay is a day of justice denied. In this respect, if this is a high-profile case, would it take the CAS such a prolonged time to decide the matter at stake?. We do not think so. Therefore, once again, my clients ask your honor to intervene in this urgent matter with the intention that the CAS expedites the finalization and delivery of the already belated award.

As already in advance we thank you for the above and remain at your disposal should you need any further clarification and/ or information in this matter.

Yours Respectively

Nezar Ahmed

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