About

Sport Dispute Solutions Ireland was established by the Federation of Irish Sport (“the Federation”) in response to the increasing prevalence of sporting litigation and the recognition, as endorsed by the High Court, that the courts are not the appropriate forum for the resolution of such disputes. SDSI is an independent specialised dispute resolution service for Irish Sport offering both a mediation and arbitration facility.

Sport Dispute Solutions Ireland is a fair, inexpensive and expeditious method of resolving disputes that remain unresolved after all the procedures owed for within the sport have been exhausted. In particular, the SDSI mediation procedure assists in avoiding more confrontational or costly methods of resolution for disagreements, conflicts or disputes with sport.

As of 2014, Sport Ireland funded bodies are required to be signed up to a dispute resolution mechanism. In many instances SDSI is provided for within the rules of a sporting body for such function.

It is a principal aim of SDSI that the mediation and arbitration processes offered by it will be cost-effective. We recognise that resources for many sports organisations and amateur athletes are scarce. SDSI therefore seeks to provide a more favourable alternative to pursuing what can be an expensive, protracted High Court action with all the potential for adverse publicity and damaging relations, such an action can entail, largely avoided. SDSI has been designed so that the parties need not be represented by lawyers, whether they are a sporting body, a national governing body or an athlete. Parties may of course choose to employ legal representation.

Arbitral awards handed down by SDSI are final, binding and enforceable in favour of and/or against the parties. The only instance in which an appeal against an arbitral award can be made is where the rules of a sporting organisation make provision for an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (“CAS”) in Lausanne.

Proceedings shall be fair and expeditious. All arbitrators and/or mediators serving of the SDSI Arbitration and Mediation Panels are entirely independent, all are accredited arbitrator/mediators and have some interest in sport. The nature of sporting disputes are such that they generally need to be resolved quickly with a decision often required to determine for example, the ability of an athlete to participle in the next event which may only be days away. SDSI will endeavour to facilitate all such situations so that a resolution can be arrived at in a matter of days where required.

SDSI is a company limited by guarantee without a share capital registered in Ireland under company number 431644. Please click on the relevant link to find a full list of the directors of SDSI.

“Sports organisations do best to resolve differences under their own governing codes, rather than recourse to the courts of law. Issues of natural justice are important but the substance of matters rather than their form are important in seeking to resolve internal disputes in such organisations and recourse to the courts should be a last resort, and only in the rarest of cases.”

Smyth.J, Kieran Gould V. Michael Sweeney & Others, High Court, 23rd January 2007