Plans afoot for football court in Cayman

| 11/02/2015 | 2 Comments

(CNS): The Cayman Islands could become the home of the first football court in the Americas, which would settle all disputes relating to the game for both the CONMEBOL and CONCACAF football confederations. Although other jurisdictions have been considered, the Cayman Islands has been identified as already having the best infrastructure and has presented the most complete case for selection.

Cayman News Service

Jeff Webb, CONCACAF President

Following a recent meeting in Punta del Este, Uruguay, between the two regional football federations, a committee has been formed to consider setting up the arbitration centre here for all football matters within the Americas region.

Globally, there are only a few centres for arbitration and the president of CONMEBOL, Juan Angel Napout, said it was important to establish a central football court close to home.

“Establishing a single jurisdiction in the Americas for the purposes of hearing disputes related to football is of the utmost importance to both the CONCACAF and CONMEBOL regions. This will provide both confederations with an environment that in which disputes can be arbitrated in a consistent and uniform manner in accordance with internationally accepted standards for arbitration, which is a necessity for us,” he said.

CONCACAF President, Jeffrey Webb, said creating the court here would allow for more efficiencies and cost reductions in the region.

“As a result of recent legislative changes and its rich judicial heritage, the Cayman Islands presents itself as a natural choice in which to centralize the arbitration of all football disputes within the Americas,” said Webb about his home country.

The Cayman Islands’ strengths in enforcement, access to international gateways and its robust legal history also provides more advantages, the football officials said.

“It is envisioned that this process will be fully implemented within the next few months. This is a process that will be especially welcomed as we set our sights on settling a wide range of sports disputes fairly, effectively, quickly and relatively inexpensively,” added Webb.

One element that is critical in the selection process for a Court of Arbitration for Sport is the UNCITRAL Model Law, which has been adopted by Cayman. This law is internationally accepted in the arbitration regime and allows for those parties seeking arbitration to select rules to govern, appoint arbitrators and give instructions as they choose.

The creation of the court will be a boost to Cayman’s legal sector and was welcomed by the chief justice.

“As a major international financial centre, our jurisdiction offers all the established means for the resolution of disputes,” said CJ Anthony Smellie. “Arbitration and mediation are now well-established alternatives to court proceedings for the resolution of commercial disputes. As these alternatives are often quicker and less expensive, access to them will also help to maintain the advantages that this jurisdiction enjoys for the cost-effective and efficient resolution of disputes.

“The modern legislation which the Cayman Islands has adopted will, of course, continue to ensure that access to the courts will be available in support of arbitration proceedings and for the enforcement of awards obtained through arbitration where that is needed,” he added.

Meanwhile, Jude Scott, CEO of Cayman Finance, said the decision by the football federations to choose Cayman was a show of confidence in the jurisdiction and reinforced Cayman’s reputation of having a “strong legislative framework and top quality professionals who provide arbitration, accounting and expert witness services that are respected around the world”.

Currently the only main centre for sports arbitration in the Western Hemisphere is New York but parties are  reluctant to use it as a centre for arbitration.  Identifying this as a problem, Webb had headed up a taskforce to review the situation and make recommendations to the board

As a result of that review he initiated discussions with the CONMEBOL presidents about a single arbitration centre for all football=related matters for this side of the world. With Cayman emerging as the obvious choice, the opportunities are significant and may even see other sports follow suit.

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Comments (2)

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  1. Foreign Hooligans says:

    How fortunate for the Cayman Islands and some very positive news for our little island a pity some amongst us and their imported help don’t appreciate it and working very diligently to undermine our progress, while milking and fleecing us at the same time. Aaah but the unjust shall not go unpunished.

    • DriftwoodRus says:

      I think your own people are very good at fleecing their own. That somehow is worse that when Driftwood do it.

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