Let's Keep Sport out of the Dock; ARBITRATION COULD BE ANSWER

The Mirror (London, England), October 26, 2007 | Go to article overview

Let's Keep Sport out of the Dock; ARBITRATION COULD BE ANSWER


Byline: By MICHAEL SCULLY

THE GAA, FAI and IRFU were last night urged to follow the lead of other Irish sporting organisations - and sign up to a new body that pledges to keep sporting disputes out of court.

Just Sport Ireland is a new independent mediation-arbitration system that has been established for Irish sport. It promises to be a last-stop shop for damaging arguments that would otherwise go down a costly legal route.

JSI, which has the backing of the Irish Sports Council, was launched at Croke Park yesterday and has been established by the Federation of Irish Sports to provide an alternative to the High Court when an internal process fails to produce a resolution to a dispute.

Similar initiatives have been set up in the UK, Canada and New Zealand in recent years and while JSI is ready to receive cases, the three biggest sporting bodies are yet to sign up.

Anti-doping and employment disputes will not be taken on but selection disputes, disciplinary appeals, licensing appeals and disputes between national governing bodies, branches, clubs and players will be considered.

The JSI comprises of twoboards - mediation and arbitration - made up of totally independent, qualified mediators and arbitrators - and claims to put the emphasis on bringing cases to a speedy and inexpensive resolution.

The GAA, FAI and IRFU have their own internal dispute resolution bodies already but it is hoped that JSI will become the centre of choice for all of the 62 Federation of Irish Sports members.

So far only the Irish Basketball Association has but it is predicted in the coming weeks others will follow, starting with the Special Olympics.

There have already been talks with the FAI and discussions are planned with the IRFU. "We haven't really dealt with the GAA," said Federation of Irish Sports chief executive Sarah O'Connor, who is a Leinster hockey player and universities international. …

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