FIFPro has taken a stand against the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) by providing speed skater Claudia Pechstein with financial backing in her legal battle following a doping sanction.
The union, which represents 65,000 footballers worldwide, is supporting the five-time Olympic champion speed skater in her quest for £2.8million in damages after she was hit with a two-year ban in 2009 amid accusations of doping.
Pechstein, who has never failed a drugs test, had appeals against the International Skating Union’s ruling rejected by the Swiss Federal Tribunal and CAS.
However, a German court ruled Pechstein could go ahead with her lawsuit back in January, although CAS stated she received a fair trial and that “the basic principles of international arbitration would be compromised” if the arbitration agreements were considered to be invalid by state courts.
But FIFPro argues CAS does not provide athletes with a fair structure and process and is keen for reform of the sports arbitration system.
A statement read: “FIFPro expresses its political and moral support for Ms. Pechstein, whose fight for her own rights can positively impact those of thousands of professional athletes around the world, among them the 65,000 footballers represented by FIFPro.
“Every athlete as a citizen and worker has the right to a fair process and to be judged in an independent and impartial court. The decisions of the regional courts in Germany in Claudia Pechstein’s case have confirmed that this right was not duly granted by CAS at the time of her anti-doping case.
“FIFPro is firmly of the view that also today CAS does not provide footballers and other athletes with a structure and process that is fair to the athletes.
“Urgent reform of the sports arbitration system is needed in which athletes must play an active and equal role. FIFPro is convinced that Ms Pechstein with our support will take a historic step in the near future to help install an arbitration system, which respects the rights of all athletes. “