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Section 9 – Arbitration

91 Agreement to Arbitrate

91.1 Membership of The League shall constitute an agreement in writing between The League and Clubs and between each Club for the purposes of section 5 of the Arbitration Act:

91.1.1 to submit those disputes described out in Regulation 91.2 to final and binding arbitration in accordance with the provisions of the Arbitration Act and this Section of these Regulations;

91.1.2 that the seat of each such arbitration shall be in England and Wales;

91.1.3 that the issues in each such arbitration shall be decided in accordance with English law;

91.1.4 that no other system or mode of arbitration (including arbitration under Football Association Rules) will be invoked to resolve any such dispute.

91.2 The following disputes fall to be resolved under this Section of the Regulations:

91.2.1 disputes arising from a decision of The League or the Board (‘Board Disputes’);

91.2.2 Disciplinary Appeals; 91.2.3 ‘Force Majeure’ appeals pursuant to Regulation 12.3 (Sporting Sanction Appeal); 91.2.4 applications pursuant to Rule 5 of Appendix 3 (Appeal Application and/or Review Applications under the Owners’ and Directors’ Test);

91.2.5 other disputes between The League and Clubs and between each Club arising from these Regulations or otherwise (‘Other Disputes’), unless such disputes were dealt with by way of the following proceedings:

(a) a Player Related Dispute Commission (or subsequent appeal to the League Appeals Committee (if any)); or

(b) proceedings before the Professional Football Compensation Committee;

as the decisions of those bodies themselves are deemed to be final with no subsequent right of appeal or challenge.

91.3 In the case of a Board Dispute, the League Arbitration Panel sits as a review body exercising a supervisory jurisdiction and this section of the Regulations shall not operate to provide an appeal against the decision and shall operate only as a forum and procedure for a challenge to the validity of such decision under English law on the grounds of:

91.3.1 ultra vires (including error of law); or

91.3.2 irrationality; or

91.3.3 procedural unfairness,

and where the decision directly and foreseeably prejudices the interests of a person or persons who were in the contemplation of The League or Board.

91.4 In the case of a Disciplinary Appeal, the League Arbitration Panel sits as an appeal body and the standard of review is:

91.4.1 where required in order to do justice (for example to cure procedural errors in the proceedings before the Disciplinary Commission), the Disciplinary Appeal shall take the form of a re-hearing de novo of the issues raised in the proceedings i.e. the League Arbitration Panel shall hear the matter over again, from the beginning, without being bound in any way by the decision being appealed;

91.4.2 in all other cases, the Appeal shall not take the form of a de novo hearing but instead shall be limited to a consideration of whether the decision being appealed was in error and the burden of establishing the decision was in error shall rest with the appellant; and

91.4.3 in the case of appeal against sanction, the grounds are that the original sanction was too severe or too lenient having regard to all the circumstances.

91.5 The grounds for appeal / review applicable: 91.5.1 to a Sporting Sanction Appeal, are as set out in Regulation 12.3; and 91.5.2 to an Appeal Application and/or Review Application, are as set out in Rule 5 of Appendix 3.

91.6 Other Disputes are dealt with by the League Arbitration Panel as a first instance body.

92 Standing

92.1 A person who is not a party to a dispute may not invoke these arbitration provisions in respect of such a dispute, unless that party can show that they are sufficiently affected by the outcome of the dispute that it is right and proper for them to have standing before the League Arbitration Panel.

93 Commencement of the Arbitration

93.1 An arbitration shall be deemed to have commenced and for the purpose of Regulation 91.1 a dispute shall be deemed to have arisen upon the party requesting an arbitration serving upon the other party a notice of arbitration (the ‘Notice of Arbitration’) setting out:

93.1.1 the names and addresses of the parties to the arbitration;

93.1.2 a brief statement describing the nature and circumstances of the dispute and specifying the relief claimed; and

93.1.3 a statement to the effect that the party wishes to have the dispute settled by arbitration in accordance with this section of these Regulations.

93.2 The party requesting an arbitration shall send a copy of the Notice of Arbitration to The League who shall forthwith send to each party particulars of those persons who have consented to sit on arbitrations in accordance with these Regulations.

94 Appointing the Arbitrators

94.1 Subject to Regulation 94.6, the League Arbitration Panel shall comprise 3 members.

94.2 Within 14 days of service of the Notice of Arbitration, each party shall serve written notice on The League and all other parties to the arbitration of the details of the individual they wish to appoint to act as an arbitrator in the arbitration requested. Any nominee must be:

94.2.1 a solicitor of no less than 10 years’ admission or a barrister of no less than 10 years’ call; and

94.2.2 independent of the party appointing him and able to render an impartial decision.

94.3 Within 14 days of service of the Notice of Arbitration The League shall appoint (or shall ask the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (or such other body as appointed by the Board from time to time) if The League is a party) to appoint) the third arbitrator who shall be a legally qualified person who shall sit as chairperson.

94.4 If a party refuses or fails to appoint an arbitrator when it is obliged to do so in accordance with these Regulations the Board (or the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (or such other body as appointed by the Board from time to time) if The League is a party) shall make the appointment giving notice in writing to that effect to each party.

94.5 Members of a League Arbitration Panel shall be entitled to receive from The League a reasonable sum by way of fees and expenses, as determined by the Board from time to time. Where a party seeks to appoint an individual whose costs exceed those determined by the Board, that party will be responsible for any additional fees and expenses in any event, and such excess amounts cannot be the subject of an order for costs under any circumstances. 94.6 Notwithstanding the provisions of Regulation 94.1, the parties shall be at liberty to appoint a single arbitrator (who must be qualified in accordance with Regulation 94.2.1) in which case written notice of such agreement shall be provided to The League. This Section of these Regulations shall thereafter be interpreted on the basis that the League Arbitration Panel comprises a single arbitrator who shall undertake the duties of the chairperson.

95 Conduct of the Arbitration Proceedings

95.1 The Procedural Rules set out in Appendix 2 shall apply but in the event of any conflict between this Section and the Procedural Rules, this Section of the Regulations shall prevail.

96 Remedies

96.1 The League Arbitration Panel shall have power to:

96.1.1 determine any question of law or fact arising in the course of the arbitration;

96.1.2 determine any question as to its own jurisdiction;

96.1.3 make a declaration as to any matter to be determined in the proceedings;

96.1.4 order the payment of a sum of money;

96.1.5 award simple or compound interest;

96.1.6 order a party to do or refrain from doing anything;

96.1.7 order specific performance of a contract (other than a contract relating to land);

96.1.8 order the rectification, setting aside or cancellation of a deed or other document.

97 Majority Decision

97.1 If the arbitrators fail to agree on any issue they shall decide by a majority and a majority decision shall be binding on all of them. No dissenting judgment shall be produced.

98 The Award

98.1 If before the award is made the parties agree on a settlement of the dispute the League Arbitration Panel shall record the settlement in the form of a consent award.

98.2 The League Arbitration Panel may make more than one award at different times on different aspects of the matters in dispute.

98.3 The award shall be in writing and shall contain reasons for the League Arbitration Panel’s decision.

99 Challenging the Award

99.1 Subject to the provisions of Sections 67 and 68 of the Arbitration Act, the award shall be final and binding and there shall be no right of appeal or further arbitration and the parties exclude irrevocably any right to any other form of appeal, review or recourse in or by a court, judicial authority or other arbitral body, in so far as such waiver may validly be made.

99.2 For the avoidance of doubt, the exclusion extends to any rights that would otherwise arise under:

99.2.1 Sections 44, 45 and 69 of the Arbitration Act; or

99.2.2 Rule K of the Football Association Rules (or any replacement provisions of substantially similar effect).