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Eligibility to participate in the Olympics : ways to improve how disputes are resolved at games time Hopewell, Nicholas James

Abstract

Eligibility disputes at the Olympic Games are ultimately resolved by the Ad Hoc Division ("AHD") of the Court of Arbitration for Sport. This paper critically examines the AHD both from within and without. The first part of this thesis describes eligibility disputes at Games time, and how they are resolved. The paper begins with a brief look at the history of athlete participation in the Olympic Games. It then deals with the concept of eligibility, and sets out the rules which govern same for the Olympics. These rules are set by a number of separate but related entities, namely the International Olympic Committee, the International Federations, the National Olympic Committees, and, finally, the World Anti-Doping Agency. The roles of each of these bodies are examined in order to provide the context in which disputes are resolved. This paper then surveys the parameters in which the AHD operates which have been set over the years by domestic courts with an Anglo-American tradition. The performance of the AHD is then critically examined with a view to making recommendations for its improvement. The second part of this thesis surveys the ways eligibility disputes are resolved in the major north American professional sports leagues and the NCAA, with a view to suggesting improvements in the AHD process. This thesis concludes by offering recommendations to the AHD process in two areas: operational and structural. Several operational improvements are suggested, the main ones of which are that all parties affected by a dispute be offered an opportunity to participate in before the AHD, and parties be given the opportunity to appoint the Panel. The structural change suggested is that athletes be given formal input into the administration of the Games, with the Athletes' Commission being the obvious body which could form the basis for a bargaining unit. It is suggested that questions surrounding the legitimacy of AHD will remain while ever athletes have no formal say in its composition or operation.

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