Generally speaking, a dispute may be submitted to the Court of Arbitration for Sport only if there is an arbitration agreement between the parties which specifies recourse to the CAS. Article R27 of the Code stipulates that the CAS has jurisdiction solely to rule on disputes connected with sport. Since its creation, the CAS has never declared itself to lack jurisdiction on the grounds of a disputes not being related to sport (see in this regard the award delivered in the arbitration TAS 92/81 in the Digest of CAS Awards 1986-1998).
In principle, two types of dispute may be submitted to the CAS: those of a commercial nature, and those of a disciplinary nature.
The first category essentially involves disputes relating to the execution of contracts, such as those relating to sponsorship, the sale of television rights, the staging of sports events, player transfers and relations between players or coaches and clubs and/or agents (employment contracts and agency contracts). Disputes relating to civil liability issues also come under this category (e.g. an accident to an athlete during a sports competition). These so-called commercial disputes are handled by the CAS acting as a court of sole instance.
Disciplinary cases represent the second group of disputes submitted to the CAS, of which a large number are doping-related. In addition to doping cases, the CAS is called upon to rule on various disciplinary cases (violence on the field of play, abuse of a referee).
Such disciplinary cases are generally dealt with in the first instance by the competent sports authorities, and subsequently become the subject of an appeal to the CAS, which then acts as a court of last instance.