There was a time when there was an intense debate on the validity of arbitration agreements which athletes were required to sign in order to be allowed to compete. As part of the larger discussion on “forced” arbitration, it was called into question whether or not the athletes' consent was genuine.1 However, slowly but surely that debate seemed to have lost much of its momentum. In fact, after the Swiss Federal Tribunal (“SFT”) had ruled in the famous Cañas case2 in 2007 that such arbitration agreements were valid, one might even have thought that the discussion had been laid to rest for good.3 Due to a decision of the Regional Court of Munich,4 Germany, dated 26 February 2014,5 it now appears likely that the debate will see a surprising revival. To the author's knowledge, it is the first decision in a European country that deemed such widely used arbitration agreements void for lack of true consent on the part of the athlete.6 And, as will be argued in the analysis of the decision, the decision could have far-reaching consequences also beyond Germany and outside sports.
A professional German athlete was suspended for two years by the competent International Federation (“IF”) for a violation of its anti-doping rules.