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The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) is an institution, independent from any sports organization, which has the task to resolve legal sports-related disputes through arbitration or mediation, by means of procedural rules adapted to the specific needs of the sports world.

The CAS was created in 1984 and its head office is based in Lausanne, Switzerland. The institute has nearly 300 arbitrators from almost 90 countries, chosen for their specialist knowledge of arbitration and sports law. Every year, around 300 cases are registered by the CAS. All sports are covered, from football and hockey to handball and weight lifting. Any disputes directly or indirectly linked to sport may be submitted.

In football-related cases CAS often acts as the appellate body of the FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber. The disputes can also be of a commercial nature (e.g. a sponsorship contract), or of a disciplinary nature following a decision by a sports organisation (e.g. a doping case).

The chambers of the CAS consist of three persons. Both parties in the dispute may appoint one person, while the CAS provides a chairperson. An ordinary procedure lasts between 6 and 12 months. The arbitral awards of the CAS have the same enforceability as judgements of ordinary courts. An award pronounced by the CAS is final and binding on the parties from the moment it is communicated.

In relation to football, the CAS has pronounced a number of notable awards, particularly in the area of transfers and the question of whether or not a player has terminated his contract in a legally valid manner. It concerns here the Webster-Heart of Midlothian, Matuzalem-Shakhtar Donetsk, Bueno-Rodriguez-Peñarol and Mutu-Chelsea cases and implicitly also the Kakuta-Chelsea case.

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