Former World Anti-Doping Agency chief Dick Pound and Swiss-based attorney Robert Briner have been nominated as candidates to fill the vacant presidency of the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) in Lausanne.
Both nominations were put forward by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The IOC is the only body that can nominate candidates for the CAS presidency, and the 20-member board will make the final decision, which is expected in April. No formal date, however, has been set for the final vote.
The vacancy was caused by the death of Senegalese judge Keba Mbaye in January of last year. The 82-year-old Mbaye had served as CAS president since his appointment in 1984.
Canada’s Pound, an attorney, accountant and senior IOC member, served as head of WADA from 1999-2007. Briner is a former member of the Iran-US Claims Tribunal, based in The Hague, and president of the International Court of Arbitration for the International Chamber of Commerce.
The new president will be responsible for the work of the sports world’s top appeals body and would control the appointment of arbitrators who hear cases before the court.
CAS has nearly 300 arbitrators from 87 countries and handles about 200 cases a year.
An easy transition?
Even before his term expired at the end of 2007, Pound expressed interest in the CAS post. Last November, at the international World Anti-Doping Conference in Madrid, Pound dismissed the possibility that the reputation he built at WADA over the past eight years would affect any role at CAS, noting that his background as an advocate “is very well-suited for the position.”
“That’s my job, to cause things to happen,” he said. “If my job becomes to be a neutral decider, then that will be my job and I can do that. Most good judges were very successful lawyers before they became judges … to be a good lawyer you need to be a good advocate. The role of judge is different, but having been an advocate helps you as a judge.”
“Listen, it would be the first time in 30 years that the IOC has given me a job that I actually understand,” he said.