With the news that Valentino Rossi has appealed his Sepang penalty points to the Court of Arbitration in Sport, many have been left scratching their heads as to exactly what the Swiss body does and what it’s role is, as well as the procedure that follows.
With an appeal lodged with the Court, they will now decide firstly whether or not they should suspend Rossi’s penalty points until they’ve had time to hear the case in full. That decision will be made by next Friday, the opening day of action at Valencia.
Then, a full ruling will be made once the Court has had time to hear the case, call witnesses and look at all available evidence. That decision could take anything from three months to a year, and if Rossi fails the CAS may reapply his points, forcing a back of the grid start at the next race.
Furthermore, if they decide that the initial three points was too lenient, they could also enforce a higher sanction on the Italian.
Established in 1984, the Court of Arbitration in Sport sits wholly independent from any sports governing body, with the role of both mediator and ultimate arbiter of legal issues relating to sports.
Drawing from a panel of 300 specialised arbiters to hear its cases; these are selected for their expertise in sporting law. The frequently include former professional sportspeople who have gone on to careers as judges and lawyers.
If either party is unhappy with the decision, there in reality remains no legal recourse, with the only further action a move to Swiss Federal Court that in practice has only been permitted on a handful of occasions.