Sports Mediation

Our mediation service provides a quick and cost-effective way of resolving all kinds of sports disputes where it is important for the resolution to remain confidential and for the relationship between the parties to be preserved.

From a multimillion dollar sponsorship contract to deterioration of relationships within the board room, between a player and a coach, whether at international or national level, most sports disputes are suitable for mediation, particularly where there is a working relationship to maintain between parties.

Mediation is led by a neutral facilitator who works collaboratively with the parties to reach a joint settlement. 

The service includes:

  • Nomination and appointment of an experienced mediator who has a good understanding of sport
  • Assistance in setting up and organising a mediation via our mediation procedure and mediation agreement
  • Assistance in finalising a settlement agreement between the parties

Examples of sports disputes that we have successfully resolved by mediation include:

  • Termination of coaching contracts
  • Deterioration of relationships within the board room or dressing room
  • Issues arising from commercial contracts and agreements
  • Rights and entitlements to govern sport and competitions
  • Discrimination issues


What is mediation?

Mediation is a confidential and voluntary type of alternative dispute resolution whereby an independent mediator assists the parties in negotiating a settlement of a dispute.

What does this mean in practise?

With the consent of the parties, an independent mediator is appointed to assist them to find a resolution to their dispute. Although Sport Resolutions has a Mediation Procedure (see Related Documents) to guide mediations, they can take many different forms.

The key component is voluntary involvement from participants, with a view to actively resolving the issue(s) between them. 

Can a party be required to mediate?

The default position in the UK is that mediation is a voluntary process. It is rarely compulsory. Sport Resolutions will arrange mediation only with the consent of all parties which is secured by signing a mediation agreement (see Related Documents) And a party is free to walk away at any time before a settlement agreement has been signed.

How does Sport Resolutions become involved in a mediation process?

To commence mediation, the parties to a dispute must consent to bring the matter to Sport Resolutions. This is typically achieved by one of two ways: 

1) Such agreement may be automatically incorporated into a relevant regulation, rule or pre-existing contract, or;
2) The parties may enter into an ad hoc mediation agreement.

The effect of the consent is to confer jurisdiction on Sport Resolutions to work with the parties to resolve their dispute by way of mediation, and without jurisdiction Sport Resolutions is unable to become involved. 

As stated above, any party is free to walk away at any time of a mediation.

What is a mediation agreement?

A contract between the parties which binds them to the mediation process. It usually sets out the details of the parties, including the designated point(s) of contact and contains agreed mediation objective(s), that the mediation will look to work towards. Sport Resolutions has a standard mediation agreement template (see Related Documents) to assist the parties in drawing up an agreement.  

What role does the mediator play?

The mediator uses learned techniques to assist the parties to settle their dispute. He or she will generally ask the parties to prepare for mediation by describing the dispute in a brief written statement, focusing on the outcomes sought, and the impact that success or failure in achieving those outcomes might have on others.

In discussions pre-mediation, and on mediation day, the mediator will explore the views of the parties in joint and/or private confidential sessions. The mediator will challenge preconceptions by testing thought processes. It is important to remember that the mediator remains independent and neutral throughout.

What are the main features of the mediation process?

Sport Resolutions has a standard Mediation Procedure (see Related Documents) which governs the process for any mediation referral. This provides a structure for what remains a flexible process. The process is confidential and generally without prejudice to ongoing proceedings and/or discussions relating to the dispute in question. All parties sign a mediation agreement promising not to discuss what happens at mediation outside the mediation room.

Sport Resolutions’ procedure also provides for written statements to be provided to the mediator in advance, which can be confidential and will not be disclosed without consent. 

The parties can say what they like without fear of the information being used against them at a later date.

Throughout the process Sport Resolutions acts as secreteriat to the panel and all communication with the panel is made through the Sport Resolutions office. 

How is a mediation settled?

If settlement is reached, the mediator will assist the parties to draft a written settlement agreement, which -once signed- is binding on the parties. If a case does not settle on the day, this should not be seen as failure. The parties will at least have explored their differences, and may have greater understanding of the issues between them, leading to settlement shortly afterwards.

How much does mediation cost and who has to pay?

The cost of the mediation is usually linked to the value of the dispute and to the financial means of the parties. The total cost of a mediation ranges from £1,000 to £6,000 (exc. VAT) and is split equally between the parties, unless the parties agree otherwise. Each party is responsible for payment of his own costs, including legal fees.

Appointing the Mediator

Sport Resolutions provides a shortlist of experienced sport specialist mediators for the parties to choose from. If the parties cannot agree or would prefer Sport Resolutions to appoint the mediator, then we are able to do so.

How long does mediation take?

Mediation usually lasts for a single day and sometimes goes on into the evening and early hours of the morning in order to reach a settlement agreement.

Where does mediation take place?

The parties need to agree between them where the mediation should take place. We are able to host mediations at the International Dispute Resolution Centre (where also SR office is based) at 1 Paternoster Lane, St Paul's, London. Mediation can also take place virtually with the consent of the parties.