Derains & Gharavi International

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Hamid Gharavi nominated as arbitrator in TAS-CAS arbitration related to 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games

Hamid Gharavi has been nominated as arbitrator in the TAS-CAS arbitration matter of 39 Russian athletes vs the IOC related to the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games. The case is reported in A GAR article published on 18 January 2018 which reads as follows:

Russia doping scandal appeals to be heard en masse by CAS

Russia enters the 2010 Olympic Winter Games Opening Ceremony, wikicommons/s.yume

Two Court of Arbitration for Sport tribunals will next week simultaneously hear 39 of the 42 appeals lodged by Russian athletes in a conference centre in Geneva, as they look to overturn their lifetime bans following the state-sponsored doping scandal at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

The Lausanne-based court announced yesterday that although a CAS procedure was opened for each individual athlete, their appeals against the International Olympic Committee’s blanket ban will be heard collectively in three batches.

It is thought to be the first time the court has consolidated so many individual appeals, as it seeks to dispose of all the cases ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, next month.

Tribunals have already been formed for the first two groups of appeals, both chaired by German arbitrator and University of Augsburg professor Christoph Vedder and including Dirk-Reiner Martens of Martens Lawyers in Munich. For the first group, the final tribunal member will be French-Iranian arbitrator Hamid Gharavi of Derains & Gharavi in Paris. For the second, it will be Austrian arbitrator and academic Michael Geistlinger.

Group 1 comprises 28 athletes including Sochi 2014 gold medallists Alexander Legkov (cross country skiing), Aleks Tretiakov (skeleton) and bobsleigh trio Aleksei Negodailo, Dmitry Trunenkov and Aleksandr Zubkov. Group 2 is made up primarily of women ice hockey players.

Group 3’s appeals have been suspended and are not being heard next week. This is the smallest group, comprised of three “biathletes” who compete in an event comprising rifle shooting and cross country skiing.

The proceedings in groups 1 and 2 will be conducted jointly – with a combined hearing taking place from 22 to 27 January. Due to its huge size, it will be held at Geneva’s International Conference Centre, although it will not be open to the public.

The IOC will be represented by a team from Kellerhalls Carrard in Lausanne led by partners Jean-Pierre Morand and David Casserly. Casserly, a former legal counsel at CAS, joined the firm in December.

Counsel to the Russian athletes is unknown but they have previously relied on sports practitioner Mike Morgan in London.

Among those expected to testify is Canadian professor and arbitrator Richard McLaren – author of a two-part report which found that more than 1,000 Russian competitors in various sports (including summer, winter, and Paralympic sports) had benefitted from a state-sponsored doping regime.

Also appearing by video link will be Grigory Rodchenkov, the former director of Moscow’s Anti-Doping Centre who is currently under witness protection in the United States after he admitted to working alongside Russian intelligence services to systematically interfere with hundreds of urine samples during the Sochi Games.

Rodchenkov and McLaren are both interviewed in Netflix documentary Icarus, in which US cyclist and filmmaker Bryan Fogle uncovers the extent of the state’s doping activities.

The International Olympic Committee banned 43 Russian athletes from competing at the Winter Olympics on the basis of McLaren’s report. The only banned athlete not to have appealed is Maxim Belugin, who was part of the two-man and four-man bobsleigh teams that finished fourth at Sochi.

If cleared, the athletes will be allowed to compete at the approaching games in Pyeongchang as “neutrals”, unaffiliated to any country.

McLaren’s report also led to the blanket ban of Russian athletes competing at the 2016 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Both bans were upheld following appeals to CAS.

GAR understands that CAS has recently made its selection of arbitrators who will form an ad hoc division to arbitrate disputes arising during the games in Pyeongchang. The list has yet to be publicised.

39 Russian athletes v the International Olympic Committee

Tribunal in Group 1 proceeding

Christoph Vedder (Germany) (president)
Hamid Gharavi (France)
Dirk-Reiner Martens (Germany)
Tribunal in Group 2 proceeding

Christoph Vedder (Germany) (president)
Michael Geistlinger (Austria)
Dirk-Reiner Martens (Germany)
Counsel to IOC

Kellerhals Carrard
Partners Jean-Pierre Morand and David Casserly in Lausanne

Counsel to ROC

Morgan Sports Law

Partner Mike Morgan in London

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