The Juventus soccer club in Italy has recently been given a very hefty fine for match fixing. They have threatened to bring the matter before an administrative court to plead their case that they do not deserve such harsh penalties. There is a small problem with that course of action, however.

A small bylaw of FIFA (Article 61) states that matters brought before a sports court may not then be brought before an administrative court, and that all national federations are required to also have that stipulation. Should Juventus actually bring the matter to an administrative court, which is allowed in Italy, then FIFA will have to officially recognize that Italy is in violation of their bylaws and will ban any club originating in the country from participating in any world cup games or qualifying games.

I think that somebody very smart wrote that bylaw. It protects FIFA from having its arbitration challenged, and keeps the system as simple as possible. If you go before a sports court, then the decision is final or has to be appealed through the same system. If you don’t, then you are either violating your country’s bylaws for the sport or else you will ban yourself and everybody else for an indefinate period of time.

Whether the system is good or not, I can not really decide. It certainly makes it easier for FIFA as a governing and controlling body for the sport though. I can not imagine that Juventus will go ahead with their appeal, or else the entire country is going to tar and feather them and they will lose a lot more money than they have because of their cheating.

What do you think of the situation? Is FIFA’s bylaws reasonable, or does Juventus have the right to appeal? Do you think they will?

Update: Juventus has put in an appeal, so we will get to see if Italy winds up getting banned after all.