The aim of this article is to show the recent changes in Polish regulations regarding the sports judicial bodies, concentrating mainly on the Arbitration Tribunal for Sport Affairs of the Polish Olympic Committee (Trybunal Arbitrazowy ds. Sportu przy Polskim Komitecie olimpijskim). The author will try to show how the replacement of the Qualified Sport Act (Ustawa o Sporcie Kwalifikowanym) with the Sport Act (Ustawa o Sporcie) affected the Tribunal and the sports disputes in Poland. Besides analyzing the regulations of the above mentioned Acts the author will also examine the most famous case in the history of the Polish Arbitration Tribunal and the conflict between the Polish regulations and FIFA Statutes. The Sport Act that recently came into force in Poland drastically changed the jurisdiction and power of the Arbitration Tribunal. What is really interesting is the fact that most of the provisions that were erased from the final version of the document existed in its draft which only proves that the decision not to implement them in the new act was made very late. Although the spectrum of changes was very wide for the purpose of this article only some modifications will be analyzed. To explain and understand the changes, it would help to go back to 2008 and the decision of the Arbitration Tribunal for Sport Affairs at the Polish Olympic Committee to appoint an interim curator for Polish Football Association.
The Arbitration Tribunal for Sport Affairs of the Polish Olympic Committee Decision from 29 September 2008 to - till the End of the Proceedings and for the Time It Last- Appoint Dr. Hab. Robert Zawlocki as the Interim for Polish Football Association It was and still is clear, that the supervision of Polish sports associations belongs to the Minister of Sport and Tourism. The Qualified Sport Act in Articles 18 par. 1 and 23a provided the Minister of Sport and Tourism with the right to submit the request to the Arbitration tribunal to suspend the authorities of the sports associations in Poland.
'Tribunal, mentioned in the Art. 42 par. 1 may, at the request of
the supervising body, in the form of decision, suspend each
individual member of the Polish sport association authorities or
the Polish sport association authorities'
Also further regulations (including Statutes and Regulations of the AT itself) allowed Arbitration Tribunal to appoint the interim curator for, in this case, Polish Football Association.
'The jurisdiction of the Tribunal covers: processing of requests
of the supervising body, in the proceedings to apply the measure
mentioned in the Art. 23 a of the Qualified Sport Act' (Statutes
of the Arbitration Tribunal for Sport Affairs of the Polish Olympic
'Till the end of the proceeding mentioned in par. 1, Tribunal [...]
may appoint an interim' (Qualified Sport Act)
The Arbitration Tribunal for Sport Affairs of the Polish Olympic Committee decision from 29 September 2008 to - till the end of the proceedings and for the time it last- appoint Dr. hab. Robert Zawlocki as the interim for Polish Football Association was not only widely analyzed and commented but also criticized. It is also my conclusion that the decision and further actions of the interim were of highly disputable validity. I would like to point your attention to the most important aspects of my findings.
Legality of the decision
1. The above mentioned regulations implemented "obligatory arbitration" in the Polish judicial system. Although this concept is getting more and more popular in the sport industry, the Polish Constitution clearly states that the justice system is exercised by courts and, although parties can decide to subject the dispute to arbitration, they can only do it freely. There was no intent to arbitrate from both parties in this case. Arbitration by definition should be voluntary.
2. Polish judicial system guarantees two instances, however the Qualified Sport Act did not provide the parties with the right to launch an ordinary appeal. …