Disciplinary disputes

Find out what disciplinary disputes are, why you might bring one to us, and how we handle this type of dispute.

What disciplinary disputes are

When a member, for example an athlete or support person, breaks the rules of their sport, the relevant sporting body can impose penalties. Disciplinary disputes can relate to things like:

  • breaches of a sport’s Member Protection Policy
  • match fixing
  • codes of behaviour/conduct infringements
  • disciplinary action against a body which is a constituent part of the sporting body.

Members agree to be bound by the policies and rules of the sporting body when they, for example:

  • join and sign a member agreement, or
  • participate in an event the sporting body runs and sign an entry form that includes the relevant rules.

A disciplinary dispute involves a person or organisation making allegations, or a person or organisation challenging disciplinary action that a sporting body has taken, or proposes to take. A person might challenge:

  • the proposed disciplinary action (penalty), and/or
  • that the breach occurred at all.

How we handle disciplinary disputes

To start the process off, the parties to a disciplinary dispute must agree to bring the matter to us. This agreement may be automatically part of a sporting body’s regulations, rules or a contract. If not, the parties may enter into an agreement about a specific dispute.

Our General Division deals with disciplinary disputes.

We use mediation, conciliation and case appraisal as well as arbitration to help parties deal with disciplinary disputes.

Our Appeals Division can deal with appeals about disciplinary dispute decisions made by our General Division or by a sporting body’s internal tribunal.

Who can apply to resolve a disciplinary dispute

If the dispute is between a person and a sporting body, either one can apply to us. 

If a disciplinary dispute arises in a sporting organisation that is below the national level (for example, a state sporting body), the national sporting body will need to make the application. The national body will then also be a party to the dispute.

When you can apply

If you are applying to the General Division, you must apply within the time period for disciplinary disputes stated in your sporting body’s rules. If the rules do not mention a time period, you must apply within a reasonable period after the event that caused the dispute.

If you are appealing to our Appeals Division against a disciplinary dispute decision, you must appeal within 30 days of the date of the original decision.

Apply to resolve a dispute

See How to apply for details of how to apply to resolve a disciplinary dispute.


For more help, contact us.