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FIFPro today announces it will financially support German speed skater Claudia Pechstein, who is leading a legal battle in sports arbitration and ordinary courts to defend her innocence and her right to a fair and impartial legal procedure since 2009.

Ms. Pechstein has shouldered a heavy financial burden over the course of the last 6 years in her struggle through the justice systems, FIFPro, alongside the German trade union of policemen and –women, as well as private donors, will help carry the cost of the procedure in front of the German Federal Court of Justice.

These funds will allow this possible landmark case, which asks crucial questions for the future of athletes’ rights and democratic sport governance to receive a due and final decision.

FIFPro expresses its political and moral support for Ms. Pechstein, whose fight for her own rights can positively impact those of thousands of professional athletes around the world, among them the 65.000 footballers represented by FIFPro.

Every athlete as a citizen and worker has the right to a fair process and to be judged in an independent and impartial court. The decisions of the regional courts in Germany in Claudia Pechstein’s case have confirmed that this right was not duly granted by CAS at the time of her anti-doping case.

FIFPro is firmly of the view that also today CAS does not provide footballers and other athletes with a structure and process that is fair to the athletes.

Even after CAS’ structural reform, the composition of ICAS, the appointment of arbitrators and chairmen do not provide athletes with equal representation of arbitrators and independence of the tribunal. Other concerns such as procedural cost and the application of Swiss law to conflicts between EU-based parties have been criticized before.

Also read: Does football need CAS?

CAS has played a central role in adjudicating various fields of disputes, whereby amongst others fundamentally shaping the football transfer market system, which continues to operate with detrimental effect on the players’ rights.

FIFPro fully supports the principles Ms. Pechstein is pursuing with admirable patience and dedication. Urgent reform of the sports arbitration system is needed in which athletes must play an active and equal role. FIFPro is convinced that Ms. Pechstein with our support will take a historic step in the near future to help install an arbitration system, which respects the rights of all athletes.

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