Tarek Badawy
Tarek Badawy
Partner
Salma Abdelaziz
Salma Abdelaziz
Senior Associate

The Cairo office of Meysan successfully represented professional squash player, Moustafa El Sirty, resulting in his return to the courts with immediate effect after the International Testing Agency (ITA) had sought to impose a two-year suspension.

In January of 2023, the ITA informed El Sirty that he had triggered an Adverse Analytical Finding by testing positive for terbutaline, a World Anti-Doping Agency-prohibited substance commonly found in cough medicine. El Sirty had been suffering from a severe cold during a competition in November 2020, when his long-term physician prescribed him cough medicine that contained the substance, something El Sirty was unaware of, especially since the medicine is regularly prescribed to children in Egypt.

As a result of the finding, El Sirty entered into a voluntary provisional suspension in March 2023, while awaiting a final decision from the ITA. The contemplated two-year suspension would have been nothing short of a career death sentence. In addition to the major blow to his career, El Sirty risked losing his scholarship at the University of Birmingham due to his inability to compete at the university level as a result of the suspension.

El Sirty retained Meysan shortly before the deadline due to submit his formal defense to the ITA.

The Meysan team included sports disputes specialists Tarek Badawy and Salma Abdelaziz, who regularly act for sports associations and marketing agencies in high-stakes arbitrations and competition investigations, as well as Bader El-Jeaan.

Armed with various precedents from several anti-doping agencies of sports federations and decisions of the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS), the team was able to obtain extensive witness and medical expert testimony to corroborate El Sirty’s story, draft and file the explanation to the anti-doping rule violation and engage in constructive dialogue with the ITA, all within two weeks of its retention. The ITA was ultimately convinced that El Sirty had committed an innocent mistake and reduced the contemplated two-year ban to six months only, to be applied retroactively. Given El Sirty’s voluntary provisional suspension, the athlete was allowed to return to the court immediately upon signing an acceptance of consequences agreement with the ITA, on behalf of the World Squash Federation.

Speaking of the case, Salma Abdelaziz expressed immense relief, and recalls the moment she called El Sirty to give him the news as “by far one of the best moments of my career”, adding that “hearing his reaction truly made all the hard work worth it”. Tarek Badawy echoed Salma’s sentiment and commended the ITA for its “reasonable approach to dealing with an inadvertent mistake by a bright star that could have been deprived of the opportunity to shine on the international stage”.

El Sirty stated, “I am grateful to the ITA for their understanding in this matter. As for Meysan, they were truly phenomenal, both in their empathy to me, and in their professional approach to explaining and dealing with complicated sports disputes.”

El Sirty’s return to the courts was crowned with a victory at the Madeira International 2023, the first tournament he competed in after being cleared to play.

Meysan is one of the first law firms in the region to establish a specialist sports team, and its team includes sports law experts with both local and international expertise.  The experience of its lawyers include:

  • Successfully defended the Confederation of African Football (CAF) against a sports marketing agency an ICC Emergency Arbitration under Swiss law concerned the alleged unlawful termination of a one-billion-dollar sports broadcasting and marketing contract (ICC Case No. 24925/DDA(EA)
  • Successfully defended a European sports marketing company before the COMESA Competition Commission with respect to its alleged breach of COMESA Competition Regulations following its execution of a multi-million-dollar global sports broadcasting contract with a Switzerland-based international sports association.
  • Successfully represented a world-ranked professional squash player in an anti-doping investigation before the International Testing Agency
  • Successfully represented the Confederation of African Football (CAF) before the COMESA Competition Appeals Board with respect to CAF’s alleged breach of COMESA Competition Regulations following its execution of a one-billion-dollar sports broadcasting and marketing contract with a sports marketing agency.
  • Successfully defended a regional sports association in the investigation of its multi-million-dollar sponsorship agreements by the COMESA Competition Commission
  • Act for the Confederation of African Football in various antitrust investigations relating to its existing sports broadcasting contracts.
  • Represent the President and Secretary General of a regional sports association in multi-million-dollar antitrust claims before the Egyptian Economic Courts
  • Drafted the Procedural Rules and the Articles of Associations of NSAT the National Sports Arbitration Tribunal in Kuwait – Sports Courts
  • Acting as arbitrators at the National Sports Arbitration Tribunal in Kuwait (NSAT) – Sports Courts.
  • Represented Kuwait AL Arabic Football Club in a dispute relating to AGM annulment lawsuit filed by some of the members of the general assembly.
  • Successfully represented members of Al-Nasr sports club of Kuwait in the case filed against the board of directors concerning the invalidity of the elections.
  • Represented Formula One Management, the commercial rights holder of the Formula One World Championship, advising it and its related companies on various issues, including:
  • Disputes with F1 teams and others relating to the F1 World Championship (including operation of the so-called “Concorde Agreement” (the commercial agreement between the stakeholders in the championship);
  • Disputes with broadcasters and other commercial partners;
  • Protection of intellectual property rights.
  • Successful representation of the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (“FIA”) in a high profile dispute with a Formula One team concerning its plan to run its two cars in the livery of different tobacco sponsors.
  • Representation of the promoter of the Formula One Turkish Grand Prix in disciplinary proceedings brought by the FIA as a consequence of the presentation of a trophy by the President of the Republic of Northern Cyprus.
  • Advising a Serie A Italian football club on English law issues in a dispute concerning the transfer of a player to an English Premier league club.
  • Representing an English professional rugby club in disciplinary proceedings brought by the Rugby Football Union.
  • Acting as Arbitrator in two disputes relating to the broadcasting rights in two global cricket tournaments.
  • A member of the Arbitration and Appeals Panel of the FA Premier League, adjudicating on disputes involving teams, players and others under the Premier League rules.
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