Home Information Cases Peter Korda v ITF Ltd t/a The International Tennis Federation (1999)

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Peter Korda v ITF Ltd t/a The International Tennis Federation (1999)

Summary

On its proper construction, section (V)3 of the International Tennis Federation Tennis Anti-Doping Programme 1998 did not preclude the ITF from appealing the decision of the Appeal Committee, since that section clearly provided for any dispute arising out of any decision made by the Appeal Committee to be submitted to the Appeals Arbitration Division of the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Facts

Appeal by the International Tennis Federation ('ITF') from the order of Lightman J made on 29 January 1999 that held, inter alia, the ITF was not entitled to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport ('CAS') in Switzerland from the decision of the Appeals Committee dated 22 December 1998. The plaintiff, Petr Korda, was a professional tennis player who participated in tennis competitions recognised by the International Tennis Federation ('ITF'). The issue before the Court of Appeal concerned the construction of section (V)3 of the ITF Anti-Doping Programme ('the programme'), which provided that any dispute arising out of any decision made by the Anti-Doping Appeals Committee ('the appeals committee') would be submitted exclusively to the Appeals Arbitration Division of the CAS which would resolve the dispute in accordance with the Code of Sports Related Arbitration. ITF submitted that section (V)3 conferred an unlimited right to both the ITF and the player to appeal any decision of the Appeals Committee to the Appeals Arbitration Division of the CAS.

Held

(1) It was clear that section (V)3 of the programme provided for any dispute arising out of any decision made by the Appeals Committee to be submitted to the Appeals Arbitration Division of the CAS. Further, in order to narrow the ordinary meaning of the language in the section, applying the decision in Harbour Assurance Co (UK) Ltd v Kansa General International Assurance Co (1993) 3 WLR 42 justification to do so had to be found elsewhere in the programme, or in the programme as a whole. However, the judge was wrong to hold that section (L)8 of the programme, which provided that decisions of the Appeals Committee would be the full, final and complete disposition of the appeal and would be binding on all parties, limited disputes to be referred to arbitration and limited the effect of section (V)3 to disputes relating to the rights and obligations of the parties to which the decision of the Appeal Committee gave rise. Moreover, references heard by the Appeals Committee were in reality hearings at first instance. (2) In the court's opinion section (L)8 did not expressly qualify section (V)3, it merely stated that the decision of the Appeal Committee would be full, final and complete. Furthermore, it did not forbid a further appeal if the contract between the parties provided for one. It followed that section (L)8 did not preclude an appeal from the decision of the Appeal Committee. (3) It was clear that there was nothing in section (L)8 which required the court to give section (V)3 anything other than its natural meaning. Accordingly, the ITF were entitled to submit an appeal to the Appeals Arbitration Division of CAS.
Appeal allowed.

Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
Morritt LJ, Auld LJ, Clarke LJ
Judgment date
25 March 1999
References

​The Independent, 21st April 1999

Practice areas

sports-law,Sports Law