quill.gif (3183 bytes) Fouad Chouki v. Fédération française d'athlétisme , decision n° 03-04672, Tribunal administratif de Strasbourg, 6 avril 2004, AJDA 2004 Jurisprudence p. 1265

Facts: the applicant was the athlete M. Fouad Chouki. He was subject to anti-doping controls at the end of the 1,500 meters world competition of athletics that took place in Paris-Saint-Denis on August 27, 2003. The control revealed the presence of an abnormal rate of "érythropoïétine (EPO)" in the applicant's body. Therefore a disciplinary procedure was taken against him by the French Federation of Athletics (Fédération française d'athlétisme (FFA)). The sanction given to the applicant was a suspension of two years. M. Chouki asked for the cancellation of the decision on the ground that it violated his right to practice athletics, which consisted in his profession.

Holding: the Court ruled against the applicant and upheld the disciplinary sanction taken against him.

Reasoning: pursuant to article 16 of the Law number 84-610 of July 16 1984 regulating the organization and promotion of physical and sportive activities, sportive federations aimed at organizing the practice of one or several sportive activity. The issuance of a license by a federation gave the right to participate to its functioning. Such a federation provided the technical rules concerning its sport relating to the practice of each member. Therefore the FFA has the power to provide disciplinary sanctions. Pursuant to article L. 3631-1 of the Code of Public Health, it was forbidden during sportive competitions organized or authorized by the Federations to use substances modifying physical capacities. Article 16 set the conditions under which Federations could provide for disciplinary sanctions against such a use. The sanctions could go up to the definitive interdiction to participate to sportive competitions ruled by article L. 3631-1. The disciplinary sanctions taken by a registered sportive federation could also have legal consequences and effects outside the French territory and could forbid an athlete to participate to international games when his participation was expected as a member of the federation. Therefore the applicant was duly forbidden to participate to athletics competition even abroad. The sanction was legal.

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