Ashley Cole appeal fails

CAS declines jurisdiction over footballer's fine

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has ruled that the appeal filed by Arsenal and England footballer Ashley Cole is not admissible as it has no jurisdiction to rule on the dispute between Cole and the FA Premier League (FAPL).

In June 2005 the left back was found guilty and fined £100,000 for a breach of FA Premier League rule K5, which prohibits a contracted player negotiating with another club without the written permission of his current club. This guilty verdict followed a meeting at a London hotel in January 2005 between Cole and Chelsea FC’s manager Jose Mourinho and Chief Executive Peter Kenyon. Cole’s fine was reduced to £75,000 by the Appeal Board, but he sought to have the finding of breach annulled by the CAS.

The case was submitted to a panel of three CAS arbitrators: Mr Hans Nater, Attorney-at-Law in Zurich, Switzerland (President), Mr Stuart McInnes, Solicitor in London, England (arbitrator) and Mr Jan Paulsson, Attorney-at-Law in Paris, France (arbitrator).

The Premier League objected to the jurisdiction of the CAS and so the Panel decided this aspect of the case as a preliminary issue. It noted that the Premier League regulations do not contain any reference to a right of appeal to the CAS; on the contrary, the regulations state that the decisions of the Appeal Board shall be final. The Panel held that the fact that the FIFA statutes allow appeals to the CAS against decisions of national federations and leagues was not sufficient to establish the jurisdiction of the CAS without explicit reference to CAS arbitration in the regulations of the relevant body.  Consequently, the Panel declined jurisdiction.

The sanction imposed by the Premier League Appeal Board on Cole therefore stands.