BCDR releases draft of sports arbitration rules

The Bahrain Chamber for Dispute Resolution (BCDR) announces the release of a draft of the English language version of its new sports arbitration rules, which may be downloaded here.

The draft rules have been posted to BCDR's website with the aim of encouraging public review and feedback from sporting bodies, practitioners and other interested parties.

BCDR aims to develop, and ultimately to adopt, a set of arbitration rules dedicated to resolving disputes arising in the sporting world, so contributing to the development of sports law and arbitration in Bahrain and, over time, attracting a wide range of sports arbitration cases locally and internationally. The sports arbitration rules will eventually be adopted in Arabic, English and French, with all three versions being equally authoritative.

The English version of the draft rules, currently under consideration by BCDR's Board of Trustees, was prepared by a committee comprising former LCIA Director-General, Adrian Winstanley; BCDR Senior Case Manager, Salim Sleiman; and BCDR Case Manager, Hasan Albuainain. The committee's work was overseen by BCDR's Chief Executive Officer, Nassib G. Ziadé, who reviewed and approved the final draft before its submission to the Board.

The draft rules cater for the specific needs of sports arbitration, drawing inspiration from the specialized rules of global leaders in the field, while also being substantially based on the 2017 BCDR Rules of Arbitration ("2017 BCDR Rules"), from which identical, or closely parallel language has been adopted as appropriate.

Given their emphasis on sports arbitration, the draft rules differ from the 2017 BCDR Rules in several respects, in particular:

  • the articles in the sports rules are grouped into distinct sections devoted to the key elements of the proceedings, rather than following the broadly chronological pattern of the 2017 BCDR rules;
  • an arbitration agreement under the sports rules may be either contractual, or contained in the statutes or regulations of sporting bodies (draft article 1.2);
  • arbitrations under the sports rules may be either a first instance resolution of a dispute, or an appeal of a decision issued by a sporting body or of an award rendered by an arbitral tribunal, subject to an express written agreement that an appeal is allowed (draft articles 1.1 and 35.5);
  • only arbitrators listed in a BCDR-approved roster may be appointed to adjudicate disputes or hear an appeal under the sports rules (draft article 12.1); and
  • the entire arbitration process under the sports rules is focused on expeditious procedures at every stage, so obviating the need for any specific provisions aimed at expedited arbitration or summary determination.

BCDR's goal for these sports arbitration rules is to meet the expectations of all stakeholders, and it looks forward, therefore, to receiving comments on the English draft from all interested parties. Comments should be submitted no later than 14 November 2021 and may be sent by email to [email protected].