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European court rejects Pechstein, Mutu appeal about CAS hearings

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ZURICH (Reuters) – The European Court of Human Rights has rejected appeals by footballer Adrian Mutu and speed skater Claudia Pechstein who claimed that their cases were not given a fair hearing by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

However, the court agreed with Pechstein that she should have been given a public hearing, a decision which could force CAS to alter its policy of holding hearings behind closed doors.

Five-times Olympic champion Pechstein was banned by the International Skating Union (ISU) for two years in 2009 over irregular blood results, although the German never failed a drugs test.

In the same year, CAS rejected an appeal by ex-Romania striker Mutu against FIFA’s decision to order him to pay his former soccer club Chelsea 17.17 million euros (15.4 million pounds) in damages following a positive test for cocaine.

While Pechstein has always denied any wrongdoing, in 2008 Mutu described the decision as inhumane and said his offence did not justify such a huge sum.

Both appealed to the European Court of Human Rights in 2010.

“The Court found that the CAS arbitration proceedings to which the applicants had been parties were required to offer all the safeguards of a fair hearing,” the court said in a statement.

However, it added that “that the questions concerning the merits of the sanction imposed on (Pechstein) for doping, discussed before the CAS, required a hearing that was subject to public scrutiny.”

CAS, based in a Lausanne, said in a statement that it is planning a move to much larger premises and “has already envisaged the possibility of having public hearings.”

($1 = 0.8663 euros)

(Writing by Brian Homewood, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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