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Why Has Mediation in Sports Disputes Increased?

One of the most effective ways for resolving disputes in sports is mediation, which is proving useful in many critical situations these days. This process may be completed in multiple steps, but every mediation involves three parties to succeed. The first two are the complainant and respondent, while the third party under whose supervision they discuss their problem is called the mediator. The mediator’s job is to establish a common ground for the resolution of disputes, so his knowledge is always critical for the success or failure of a mediation process.

According to immediation.com, the mediation sessions provide critical ground for resolutions of contractual misunderstandings between sports associations, clubs, players, sporting boards, etc.

Mainly, when the issues become so significant that there is no way to resolve the problem through one-on-one discussions, the involvement of the third party known as mediator can find common ground upon which all will agree. And when this common ground is seen, an agreement is written that goes out in the shape of a dispute resolution agreement. But, on the other hand, when So basically, this is like negotiating a settlement to resolve a dispute.

Negotiation helps when parties have difficulties resolving disputes and do not want to go to court because this will likely take several months to get a decision. In the opinion of lawyers, mediation is always a confidential but voluntary type of legal practice that offers alternative ways to settle disputes in no time. It should be the first step when parties cannot negotiate appropriately due to their lack of law knowledge and resist confrontations.

Outlook of a Mediation Process

Whether you are about to attend a mediation session under a court’s order or the opposing party has dragged you to it, knowing how mediation happens can be critical. Every successful mediation starts and ends in five essential steps. First, it begins with an introduction that follows a problem statement. In the third step, the mediator speaks with parties to identify the root of a problem. On this basis, bargaining happens that defines the final statement.

Let us see how a mediation session looks in real life.


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First Meeting – Introduction

Before starting a mediation session, the priority is to make all parties feel comfortable with the matter they’re going to discuss. That’s why the first step of the mediation process is the step of introduction. During this process, the mediator introduces himself to both parties, explains his role, and shares points to ensure neutrality regarding the dispute. If the mediator is getting any pre-mediation documents by either party, a general statement needs to be made regarding those documents. Then, leading the discussion forward, the mediator explains the entire process to both parties and tells how the problem is going to be discussed plus what communication protocols should be followed.

Second Step – Problem Statement

After the introduction has happened, the mediator provides an opportunity to speak to each party so that they can explain their perspective of the problem. No party can remain silent during this step. If the other party remains silent, the mediation session cannot proceed further. From this story-telling of the problem from both sides, the mediator aims to develop an understanding of the problem. The same problem is called a problem statement.

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Third Step – Gathering Critical Information

The mediator creates his notes from the discussion he had so far with both parties. If he needs any additional information in the shape of a document, he will ask the respective party to provide those documents. These documents are considered as evidence, so the mediator is bound not to share the documents of either party with the other – without seeking their permission. In addition, the mediator will ask more questions to both parties to understand how the problem was created. For this reason, he will hold separate sessions with both parties to get further clarifications regarding the points he wrote during the second step.

Fourth Step – Problem Identification

This is a self-explanatory step because the mediator recalls from the notes he created to reach the heart of the issue. Then, he explains to both parties what he thinks is the root cause of the problem. And he uses evidence submitted plus the dialogue notes to establish the root of his opinion.

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Fifth Step – Bargaining Starts And Ends With Dispute Resolution Statement

After the root causes of the problem have been determined and parties know their position, bargaining will start. This step is always the most creative of all. Both sides will argue to defend their position, while the mediator watches to lead the discussions forward. He makes sure that no party entrenches into their initial stance so that the dispute cannot be solved. This is where the mediator’s job becomes successful when he has already walked some parties to a successful dispute resolution statement.

If these efforts of the mediator are successful, he provides a proposed settlement, and both parties discuss its points to reach a commonly agreeable ground. During this process, the mediator can meet both parties separately to prepare them for making compromises. Changing from the previous stance can compromise the position in a dispute, so each party should get clear information regarding the consequences of approaching with a different stand. For this reason, the mediator should clear both parties of all their doubts so they do not hesitate to sign the dispute resolution statement.

After Mediation

Mediation is the cheapest way for resolving sports disputes, and it is also the fastest way to settle any differences. Typical sports disputes get solved quickly through mediation, but its most significant advantage is not budget and time friendliness. Instead, it is the preserving of relationships between the parties at dispute. The final dispute resolution becomes legally acceptable by a court only after both parties have signed it. Otherwise, nothing shared as an argument during the mediation session will be permissible as a shared piece of evidence in a court.

Furthermore, both parties and the mediator are bound to destroy the notes and documents presented during the discussion, arguing, and bargaining stages. That’s why even courts have started ordering the parties to conduct mediation before bringing the dispute for a legal hearing. A court ensures that the disputants and respondents have their opponent’s side of the story with this action. Due to having this understanding, more than 20% of cases get solved after mediation.

Jean Janes