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Boosting Miami’s Arbitration Profile: FIFA's Strategic Move to Coral Gables

Soccer World Cup Trophy
Photo:, Fauzan Saari

FIFA's Legal Shift: Elevating Miami as a Global Hub for Sports and Arbitration

In a significant move that underscores Miami's growing influence in the international sports and legal arenas, FIFA announced last year that it would relocate over 100 positions from its Swiss headquarters to Florida to support the organization of the 2026 World Cup. This strategic shift includes the entire legal department, as well as the audit, compliance, and risk management teams, moving from Zurich to Coral Gables, near Miami. Miami’s whose status on the global soccer map has been elevated following Lionel Messi’s move to play for Inter Miami in the MLS (Major League Soccer).

Photo from Inter Miami CF Communications (Digital) - March 2024 MIA vs ORL

The relocation, expected to be fully operational by August 2024, will see the new FIFA office in Coral Gables initially sharing space with the FIFA 2026 World Cup team. Secretary General Fatma Samoura, who communicated this plan in an email seen by The Associated Press, noted that this move aligns with FIFA's broader strategy of internalizing World Cup organization and enhancing collaboration by being physically closer to key operational teams.

For the Miami International Arbitration Society (MIAS), this development is particularly noteworthy. It not only highlights Miami’s growing prominence in the sports world but also bolsters the city's status as a hub for international arbitration. FIFA's decision to relocate its legal department to Miami reflects the city's increasing importance in global legal and compliance matters, making it an attractive location for arbitration professionals and counsel.

FIFA emphasized that this move is part of its global vision of making football truly global, bringing the organization closer to its 211 member associations. While the headquarters will remain in Zurich, the new Miami office complements other regional offices, such as those in Paris and the upcoming one in Singapore.

This transition comes at a pivotal time, with the expanded 48-team men’s World Cup in 2026 and the 32-team Club World Cup tournament in 2025 set to be hosted in the U.S., further cementing Miami's role in the international sports and legal landscapes. For the arbitration community, this development underscores Miami's strategic importance and its growing appeal as a center for international arbitration and legal expertise.

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Module 1. 9-12 October 2024 (Miami, USA)

Introduction to the CAS and its proceedings

• CAS: history and structure

• ICAS (International Council of Arbitration for Sport)

• CAS Code of Sports-related Arbitration

• CAS proceedings:

• The Ordinary Arbitration Procedure

• The Appeal Arbitration Procedure

• The CAS Anti-Doping Division Procedure

• Ad-hoc divisions

• Other arbitration models in sport: the Basketball Arbitral Tribunal, the North American professional leagues system, etc.

• Practical exercise: statement of appeal

Module 2. 6-9 November 2024 (Buenos Aires, Argentina)

Fundamental aspects of CAS proceedings

• Initiation of the procedure: seat, language, time limits, formation of the panel, appointment of the arbitrators

• Costs of the arbitration proceedings: amount, advance of costs payment, share of costs

• Procedure: written submissions, bifurcation, jurisdiction, applicable provisional and conservatory measures, additional submissions, hearing, expedited proceedings, applicable law to the merits

• Types of evidence: exhibits, witnesses, expert evidence, request for evidentiary measures, evidentiary measures requested by the panel

• Proof: burden of proof and standard of proof

• Hearing from the arbitrator’s perspective: opening statements, witness and experts’ testimonies, and closing statements

• The award; potential remedies before the Swiss Federal Tribunal

• Practical exercise: appeal brief and answer to the appeal

Module 3. 29 January - 1 February 2025 (Zurich, Switzerland)

Cas leading cases in sport

• CAS landmark decisions in football

• CAS landmark decisions in disciplinary and ethics

• CAS landmark decisions in anti-doping

• CAS landmark decisions at the Olympic Games

• Other CAS landmark decisions

• Practical exercise: moot court case

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