• The career diplomat said that the lack of investigatory mandate for such adjudication platform like Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) and Sports Disputes Tribunal (SDT) is a hindrance to fighting the vice in sports worldwide.
• To promote arbitration and building trust in its effectiveness, publicity and education are essential. Amina called for the main-streaming of arbitration provisions in the dispute resolution clauses in the general contracts used in the sports industry.
Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed has acknowledged the limitation of alternative disputes resolution when it comes to corruption in sports.
The career diplomat said lack of investigatory mandate for such adjudication platforms like Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) and Sports Disputes Tribunal (SDT) is a hindrance to fighting the vice in sports worldwide.
The common cases from Kenya are those of disciplinary sanctions and their appeals— many of which concern anti-doping rule violations, match-fixing, corruption and other ethical disputes comprising of other emerging trends of cases.
“Corruption-related disputes represent a challenging set of cases as CAS does not have the cohesive investigatory powers often needed to unearth the truth. We know, corruption is by nature concealed,” Amina said while giving a lecture on 'Promoting Sports Arbitration in Africa' at a hotel in Nairobi yesterday.
The CS also pointed out that most sportsmen and women have little or no understanding of arbitration and the insufficient number of arbitrators with a mastery of the trade in sports in Africa is the other challenge.
“Despite its effectiveness, arbitration faces important challenges especially in parts of Africa including the lack of understanding and demand for arbitration. In parts of the continent, lack of awareness of the arbitration system is an obstacle to the activation of the domestic sports arbitration system. In some other cases, existing awareness is watered down by doubts about its effectiveness which again negatively affects its activation,” she added.
Amina continued: “The lack of adequate arbitrators conversant with the specificity of the sports field is also a major challenge. This also reinforces doubts about the arbitration process persuading disputants to pursue the judicial process rather than the arbitration system.”
To promote arbitration and building trust in its effectiveness, publicity and education are essential. Amina called for the main-streaming of arbitration provisions in the dispute resolution clauses in the general contracts used in the sports industry.
Meanwhile, Amina said that Kenya, as a powerhouse in sports, has taken steps to put the necessary infrastructure for arbitration in place including the SDT and the office of the Sports Registrar.
The CS expressed Kenya's desire to facilitate the establishment of a regional platform through which CAS can achieve its noble objectives of bringing sports disputes closer to the practitioners.
“It would be our great honour as a country to support the establishment of a regional (sports arbitration) centre through our readily available infrastructure of arbitrators and sports practitioners,” Amina concluded.
Arbitration enables the amicable resolution of dispute reflecting the character of sports— unifying and tranquil powers, is not confrontational. It is about honour, vigour, respect and discipline. Sports is also about losing as much as it is about winning.