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PLMJ wins historic victory in international sports arbitration

07/12/2017
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The Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland has just issued an award upholding the claim by the Peruvian football club, Real Atlético Garcilaso de Cusco, represented by PLMJ, against the Peruvian Football Federation (PFF) and the local clubs Club Sport Alianza Atlético de Sullana and Club Juan Aurich.

The case involved an appeal against the decision of the PFF which declared that the registration of the player Carlos Ariel Neumann Torres was invalid following the extension of his temporary loan by the Paraguayan club, Guarani. This decision led to the deduction of six points from Club Real Atlético Garcilaso de Cusco, which it had won in games against its opponents Club Sport Alianza Atlético de Sullana and Club Juan Auric. The Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld the argument presented by PLMJ Arbitration’s multidisciplinary sports law team, which represented the Peruvian club and managed to demonstrate the validity of the registration of the player in question. The decision of the PFF was, therefore, overturned, and the six points deducted were returned to Club Real Atlético Garcilaso de Cusco. This decision made it possible for the club which was only founded recently, qualify for the next Copa dos Libertadores da América.

The team included PLMJ lawyers António Júdice Moreira, José Miguel Albuquerque and Ana Carolina Dall’Agnol, together with co-counsel Bernardo Morais Palmeiro, as a specialist in international sports law (he was counsel at FIFA until the beginning of 2017). This was the first Latin American international sports arbitration case handled exclusively by a team of Portuguese lawyers.

This arbitration case was particularly challenging, not only because of the issues raised, which have hardly been addressed, either academic legal writing or in case law, but also, but also because it was necessary to carry out the very demanding preparation in a short space of time. PLMJ managed to put together a team of specialists in international arbitration and in sports law in record time. Besides preparing the client’s defence, they represented it at the hearing in Lima. The Peruvian Football Federation and the two other clubs involved were also represented at this hearing. The PLMJ team also faced the added challenge of dealing with a great deal of pressure from the local you, which generally considered that Real Atlético Garcilaso de Cusco was very likely to lose the case.

The award handed down in these arbitration proceedings will undoubtedly make history, because it represents the continued rise of a recently founded club against clubs with longer histories. It will also be remembered for what it represents in footballing (and financial) terms, because it puts Real Atlético Garcilaso de Cusco in the next Copa dos Libertadores.

For Antonio Júdice Moreira and José Miguel Albuquerque, the PLMJ lawyers who coordinated this case, the victory represents "an important milestone in the internationalisation of PLMJ’s law team, which was selected by the Peruvian club, Real Atlético Garcilaso de Cusco to represent the in an international sports law arbitration case with no connections to Portugal. PLMJ Arbitration won a resounding victory for its client, which saw justice done was rewarded for its merits by qualifying for the Copa dos Libertadores, a competition that brings together the best teams in South America."

PLMJ’s victory was highlighted in the Portuguese press: Jornal Record wrote "Libertadores: Portuguese lawyers 'qualify' Real Garcilaso", while in its printed edition Jornal Económico said "PLMJ takes Peru’s Real Atlético to the Copa dos Libertadores".

Today, the PLMJ Arbitration team has 20 specialist lawyers (including eight partners), of six different nationalities, who are fluent in five languages. All the lawyers have doctorates or master’s related to arbitration, as well as vast domestic and international experience. For this reason, the team has been recognised by the Global Arbitration Review and has been on this publication’s list of the world’s 100 leading law firms in arbitration since 2014.

The team has just launched Portugal’s first arbitration review. If you would like to receive a copy in digital format, please send your contact to revistaplmjarbitragem@plmj.pt

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