SPORTS ARBITRATION IN PANAMA

By Juan Pablo Fabrega

Sports Arbitration can be defined in a general manner and without pretending to be precise, as a method of conflict resolution that derives from sports relationships through people with legal capacity, agree to bring their controversies that may arise from sports activities, sports disciplines or associated with any aspect of the sport, to the decision of the arbitrator or arbitrators, that resolve the controversy definitely through a final award with the effect of judge matter as well as a sentence issued by a court of justice. Arbitration main characteristic its conventionality, conflict resolution through arbitration can only happen by agreement of the parties.

Based on the legal framework that rule Arbitration in Panama and through the attribution given by article 15 number 13 of the Statues of the Olympic Committee of Panama (for its initials in Spanish “COP”), of creating an arbitration body through which it may resolve by voluntary arbitration, controversies and conflicts that may arise between COP, sports federations, leagues, clubs and athletes, its general assembly approved the creation of the Court of Mediation, Conciliation And Arbitration of Panama (for its initials in Spanish “TADPAN”), as a COP independent body within sports jurisdiction in charge of managing arbitral proceedings in the sports field that are filed for processing following its rule of procedure. Its web site is https://www.tadpan.org/ TADPAN is born, by a COP initiative, as a specialized body to handle through arbitration the resolution of litigious issues in the sports field. The fact that COP was part of the creation of TADPAN does not imply its interference or makes it a partial and dependent body.

Because of general arbitration nature, TADPAN will only manage arbitration proceedings in which the parties in conflict have agreed to submit their dispute to its consideration. We must clarify that although TADPAN name has the word “Tribunal,” it is not the one who resolves disputes. As aforementioned, its function is the administration of processes that arbitration tribunals handle constituted by the parties for conflict resolutions following TADPAN rules of procedure. Its administration consists of helping with managing the process diligently and in a timely manner by supporting the arbitration tribunal with the execution and progress of the different necessary proceedings for conducting the arbitration process. TADPAN is also an advisory body in arbitration matters of national sports federations and COP with regards to sports and institutional conflicts in sports matters. TADPAN has an administrative secretariat, directed by an executive secretary appointed by the Commission for Sports Arbitration (for its initials in Spanish “CAD”), who is in charge of TADPAN operative management.

Following an agreement signed with the Conciliation and Arbitration Center of Panama (for its initials in Spanish CeCAP), affiliated to the Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture of Panama, TADPAN has its administrative and operative headquarters in CeCAP, who also provides TADPAN with its facilities, board rooms and executive staff for executing its institutional duties. THE COMMISSION OF SPORTS ARBITRATION (for its initials in Spanish “CAD”) TADPAN operates under CAD administration, which has broad faculties and attributions for organization and function.

TADPAN is directed by a board denominated as Commission for Sports Arbitration (CAD), composed by seven (7) members elected by COP, for a four (4) year term, which has as principal function to promote arbitration, conciliation, and mediation as a way to resolve disputes in the sports field, select the arbitrators that will be part of the arbitration tribunal administrated by TADPAN and to ensure adequate protection of parties rights through the observation of the arbitration due process. FUNCTION OF TADPAN AND CAD TADPAN and CAD carry out their duties through an Administrative Secretariat (for its initials in Spanish “SAT”) created by TADPAN rules of procedure, and its role is the execution of the administrative processes, operative, and functions of CAD as well as TADPAN, through an Administrative Secretary´s appointed by CAD.

TADPAN is directed by a board denominated as Commission for Sports Arbitration (CAD), composed by seven (7) members elected by COP, for a four (4) year term, which has as principal function to promote arbitration, conciliation, and mediation as a way to resolve disputes in the sports field, select the arbitrators that will be part of the arbitration tribunal administrated by TADPAN and to ensure adequate protection of parties rights through the observation of the arbitration due process. FUNCTION OF TADPAN AND CAD TADPAN and CAD carry out their duties through an Administrative Secretariat (for its initials in Spanish “SAT”) created by TADPAN rules of procedure, and its role is the execution of the administrative processes, operative, and functions of CAD as well as TADPAN, through an Administrative Secretary´s appointed by CAD.

TADPAN ARBITRATION PROCESS By resolution of October 2018, CAD adopted TADPAN procedure rules. The rules consist of 60 articles that regulate everything regarding general provisions about claim administration, the constitution of the tribunal, challenging an arbitrator, claim filing and reply, counterclaim, hearing celebrations, practice and admission of evidence, presentation of arguments, rendering of the award by the tribunal, award supplementary explanations or information, order to pay costs and conclusion of the arbitration process and other procedural aspects. These rules were made taking as reference the rules of Panama CeCAP and Center for Dispute Resolution (for its initials in Spanish (CESCON), who are administrative institutions of arbitration in our country, adjusting their regulations to the particularities of sports claims and the reality of the conflicting parties. TADPAN constitutes an arbitration novelty in Panama, whose success will depend on its promotion between athletes, sports newscasters, and sports organizations. According to our investigation, our country is a pioneer in the region on creating an administrative center of sports conflicts.

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