At the beginning of the 1980s, the regular increase in the number of international sports-related disputes and the absence of any independent authority specialising in sports-related problems and authorised to pronounce binding decisions led the top sports organisations to reflect on the question of sports dispute resolution.
In 1981, soon after his election as IOC President, H.E. Juan Antonio Samaranch had the idea of creating a sports-specific jurisdiction. The following year at the IOC Session held in Rome, IOC member H.E. Judge Kéba Mbaye, who was then a judge at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, chaired a working group tasked with preparing the statutes of what would quickly become the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The idea of creating an arbitral jurisdiction devoted to resolving disputes directly or indirectly related to sport had thus firmly been launched. Another reason for setting up such an arbitral institution was the need to create a specialised authority capable of settling international disputes and offering a flexible, quick and inexpensive procedure.
The initial outlines for the concept contained provision for the arbitration procedure to include an attempt to reach a settlement beforehand. It was also intended that the IOC should bear all the operating costs of the court. Right from the outset, it was established that the jurisdiction of the CAS should in no way be imposed on athletes or federations, but remain freely available to the parties.
In 1983, the IOC officially ratified the statutes of the CAS, which came into force on 30 June 1984. The Court of Arbitration for Sport became operational as of that time, under the leadership of President Mbaye and the Secretary General, Mr Gilbert Schwaar.