0081 Ramasar, Life Sports Management, Inc., Diamantopoulos v. Shermadini, BC Panathinaikos

FacebookTwitterGoogle+LinkedInEmailShare

FIBA Arbitral Tribunal (FAT)

ARBITRAL AWARD

(0081/10 FAT)

rendered by

FIBA ARBITRAL TRIBUNAL (FAT)

Mr. Stephan Netzle

in the arbitration proceedings between

Mr. Todd Ramasar

-Claimant 1 –

Life Sports Management, Inc., 179 Haflinger Road, Norco, CA 92860, USA

-Claimant 2 –

Both represented by Mr. Bill J. Kuenzinger, Attorney at Law, 5001 Solero Way, Salida, CA 95368, USA

Mr. Elias Diamantopoulos

-Claimant 3 –

Represented by Mr. Socrates Lambropoulos, Attorney at Law, 37-39 Stefanou Streit Str., 15237 Athens, Greece

jointly referred to as “Claimants”

Av. Louis Casaï 53 Tel: (+41-22) 545 0000

P.O. Box 110 Fax: (+41-22) 545 0099

1216 Cointrin / Geneva info@fiba.com Switzerland www.fiba.com

vs.

Mr. Giorgi Shermadini -Respondent 1 –

Represented by Mr. Bénédict Sapin, Mr. Peter Goetschi and Mr. Nicolas Cottier, KPMG SA Legal, Avenue du Théâtre 1, 1005 Lausanne, Switzerland

BC Panathinaikos, 38 Kifisias Avenue, Paradisos Amarousiou, 15125 Maroussi-Athens, Greece

-Respondent 2 –

Represented by Mr. Michalis A. Dimitrakopoulos, Attorney at Law, 11 Neofitou Douka Str., 10674 Athens, Greece

jointly referred to as “Respondents” Claimants and Respondents also jointly referred to as the “Parties”

1. The Parties

1.1. The Claimants

1. Mr. Todd Ramasar (hereinafter “Mr. Ramasar” or “Claimant 1”) is a certified NBA agent and a certified FIBA agent of US nationality, registered with FIBA under the FIBA agent license No. 2009022179 since 26 October 2009. He represents professional basketball players. He is also the President of Claimant 2. Mr. Ramasar is represented by Mr. Bill

J. Kuenzinger, attorney-at law in Salida, California, USA.

  1. Life Sports Management, Inc. (hereinafter “LSM” or “Claimant 2”) is a Californian corporation with its registered offices at 179 Haflinger Road, Norco, CA 92860, USA. Claimant 1 is LSM’s initial agent for service of process. LSM is also represented by Mr. Bill J. Kuenzinger, USA. 
  2. Mr. Elias Diamantopoulos (hereinafter “Mr. Diamantopoulos” or “Claimant 3”) is a certified FIBA agent of Greek nationality, registered with FIBA under the FIBA agent license No. 2007019283 since 12 November 2007. He advises professional basketball players and is represented by Mr. Socrates Lambropoulos, attorney-at-law in Athens, Greece. 

1.2. The Respondents

  1. Mr. Giorgi Shermadini (hereinafter “Mr. Shermadini” or “the Player” or “Respondent 1”) is a professional basketball player of Georgian nationality. He is represented by KPMG SA Legal in Lausanne, Switzerland, in particular by Messrs. Bénédict Sapin (until 14 July 2010), Peter Goetschi and Nicolas Cottier. 
  2. BC Panathinaikos (hereinafter “Panathinaikos” or “the Club” or “Respondent 2″) is a professional basketball club domiciled at 38 Kifisias Avenue, Paradisos Amarousiou, 15125 Maroussi-Athens, Greece. Respondent 2 is represented by Mr. Michalis A. Dimitrakopoulos, attorney-at-law in Athens, Greece. 

2. The Arbitrator

  1. On 31 March 2010, the President of the FIBA Arbitral Tribunal (the “FAT”) appointed Dr. Stephan Netzle as arbitrator (hereinafter the “Arbitrator”) pursuant to Article 8.1 of the Rules of the FIBA Arbitral Tribunal (hereinafter the “FAT Rules”). 
  2. On the same day, the Arbitrator accepted his appointment and signed a declaration of acceptance and independence. 
  3. None of the Parties has raised objections to the appointment of the Arbitrator or to the declaration of independence rendered by him. 

3. Facts and Proceedings

3.1. Facts leading to this Arbitration

  1. Mr. Shermadini played successfully in the Georgian basketball league until 2007. He then intended to join a professional team of the NBA. His endeavours were supported by his friend and today certified FIBA agent (license No. 2008019573) Mr. Levan Mikeladze (hereinafter “Mr. Mikeladze”). 
    1. Still in 2007, Mr. Mikeladze and the Player liaised with LSM and its president Mr. Ramasar. It was planned that after passing certain preparatory training camps, the Player would participate in the 2008 NBA Draft which took place on 26 June 2008. For reasons which are disputed in this proceeding, the Player was withdrawn from the NBA 
    2. Draft already on the Early Entry Withdrawal Deadline Date (i.e. 16 June 2008). The Player did not participate in the 2008 NBA Draft and was never engaged by an NBA club thereafter.
  2. After his return from the USA, the Player was employed by the Greek basketball club Panathinaikos, where he debuted on 29 November 2008. He has played for Panathinaikos until October 2010 and was then sent on a one-year-loan to KK Union Olimpija in Slovenia1. The Player and Panathinaikos signed two player contracts in 2008, the first on 20 October 2008 (the “Player Contract of 20 October 2008”), and the second on 13 November 2008 (the “Player Contract of 13 November 2008”). By letter dated 11 June 2009, Panathinaikos terminated the labor relationship with the Player but hired him anew by signing another contract on 29 September 2009 (the “Player Contract of 29 September 2009”). 
  3. There is a dispute as to whether Claimants are entitled to the reimbursement of certain advanced payments from the Player and to the payment of agent fees in connection with the Player’s contracting with Panathinaikos. In addition, the Respondents dispute the jurisdiction of FAT. 

3.2. The Proceedings before the FAT

  1. On 19 March 2010, the Claimants filed a Request for Arbitration (together with 14 exhibits) in accordance with the FAT Rules. 
  2. By letter dated 13 April 2010, the FAT Secretariat confirmed receipt of the Request for Arbitration. In the same letter the FAT Secretariat also confirmed the payment of the non-reimbursable handling fee of EUR 3,986.00 and informed the Parties of the appointment of the Arbitrator. Furthermore, a time limit was fixed for Respondents to file their Answers to the Request for Arbitration in accordance with Article 11.2 of the FAT Rules by no later than 6 May 2010 (hereinafter “Respondent 1’s Answer” and “Respondent 2’s Answer”). The letter also requested the Parties to pay the following amounts as an Advance on Costs by no later than 28 April 2010: 

Publicly available information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giorgi_Shermadini

“Claimant 1 (Mr Ramasar) EUR 2,00Claimant 2 (LSM) EUR 2,00Claimant 3 (Mr Diamantopoulos) EUR 2,00Respondent 1 (Mr Sharmadini)(sic) EUR 3,00Respondent 2 (BC Panathinaikos) EUR 3,000

  1. On 29 April 2010, the counsel of Respondent 2 informed the FAT Secretariat that some of the written evidence Claimants had submitted, in particular exhibits 8-14, had not been sent to him and asked that these documents be provided to him. 
  2. By letter dated 4 May 2010, the counsel of Respondent 1 submitted his power of attorney and asked for an extension of the time limit to file Respondent 1’s Answer until 25 May 2010. 
  3. On the same day, the FAT Secretariat informed the Parties about the Arbitrator’s decision to re-distribute to the Parties a full set of the submitted documents and that the time limit to file the Answers was extended to no later than 25 May 2010. Furthermore, the FAT Secretariat confirmed receipt of Claimants’ shares of the Advance on Costs and requested that Respondents pay their respective shares by no later than 18 May 2010. 
  4. On 25 May 2010, the counsel of Respondent 1 applied for a further extension of the time limit for submitting Respondent 1’s Answer. By letter dated 26 May 2010, the FAT Secretariat confirmed receipt of Respondent 2’s Answer and informed the Parties about the Arbitrator’s decision to grant an extension of the time limit for the submission of the Answer by Respondent 1 until 4 June 2010. 
  5. By letter dated 8 June 2010, the FAT Secretariat confirmed receipt of Respondent 1’s Answer and of Claimants’ shares of the Advance on Costs in a total amount of EUR 5,986.00. In the same letter, the FAT Secretariat informed that Respondents had failed to pay their shares of the Advance on Costs. In accordance with Article 9.3 of the FAT Rules, Claimants were invited to substitute for the missing payment of Respondents to ensure that the arbitration could proceed. 
  6. On 24 June 2010, counsel to Claimants 1 and 2 sent an e-mail to the FAT Secretariat and requested that as a result of Respondents’ failure to pay their shares of the Advance on Costs “any responsive pleading that Respondents have filed [shall] not be considered by the Arbitrator”. On 28 June 2010, counsel of Respondent 1 rejected this interpretation and declared that “Article 9.3 of Arbitration Rules does not exclude the right to answer for the Respondent if the latter does not pay the fees advance”. 
  7. By letter dated 5 July 2010, the FAT Secretariat confirmed receipt of the full amount of the Advance on Costs of EUR 11,971.00, namely EUR 7,971.00 paid by LSM and EUR 4,000.00 paid by Mr. Diamantopoulos. In the same letter, the Arbitrator noted that according to Article 9.3 and Article 11 of the FAT Rules the Respondents’ failure to pay their share of the Advance on Costs did not bar them from submitting an Answer. Furthermore, the Arbitrator decided to hold a second round of submissions and asked the Claimants and Respondent 2 to submit several documents by no later than 15 July 2010. 
  8. On 14 and 15 July 2010, Respondent 2 submitted the requested documents. Claimants submitted the document requested from them on 15 July 2010. 
  9. By e-mail dated 22 July 2010, the FAT Secretariat invited the Claimants to comment on Respondents’ Answers by no later than 2 August 2010, especially on the question whether the Player Contract of 20 October 2008 was not valid because it was not ratified according to the applicable Greek Laws and Regulations. By e-mail dated 30 July 2010, the Arbitrator granted an extension of this time limit until no later than 6 August 2010. 
  10. By e-mail dated 9 August 2010, the FAT Secretariat confirmed receipt of Claimants’ joint submission (statement and several copies of e-mails as exhibits) and invited Respondents to comment on it by no later than 20 August 2010. 
  11. Upon the request of Respondent 1, the Arbitrator granted an extension for the submission of Respondent 1’s reply until 30 August 2010. 
  12. By e-mail of 13 August 2010, Respondent 2 informed the FAT Secretariat that it had never received an e-mail with Claimants’ comments and that it was unaware of the time limit to respond thereon. The FAT Secretariat sent Claimants’ statement to Respondent 2 once again, and the Arbitrator granted an extension of the time limit for the submission of Respondent 2’s reply by no later than 10 September 2010. 
  13. By letter dated 30 August 2010, Respondent 1 submitted his reply. On 10 September 2010, the FAT Secretariat received Respondent 2’s reply. 
  14. By letter dated 8 October 2010, the Arbitrator declared the exchange of documents complete and invited the Parties to submit a detailed account of their respective costs until 20 October 2010. 
  15. By emails dated 18, 19 and 20 October 2010, the Parties submitted their accounts of costs. Respondent 1 lists legal costs in a total amount of EUR 11,700.00. Respondent 2’s account sets out legal costs and translation fees in a total amount of EUR 7,000.00. On 3 November 2010, Claimants submitted a corrected account of their costs which states costs of EUR 4,580.00 (legal fees: inter alia draw up of request, telephone conversations, exchange of emails) and EUR 5,000.00 (arbitration fees: i.e. nonrefundable handling fee and Advance on Costs) for Claimant 3, as well as costs in the amounts of EUR 3,000.00 (legal fees) and EUR 10,367.00 (arbitration fees: i.e. nonrefundable handling fee and Advance on Costs) for Claimants 1 and 2. 
  16. On 17 November 2010, the Parties were invited to submit their comments, if any, on the opposing parties’ accounts of costs by no later than 24 November 2010. The Parties did not submit any comments. 
  17. On 16 December 2010, the FAT Secretariat informed the Parties that due to the complexity of the issues in dispute the Arbitrator had determined a supplementary Advance on Costs in the amount of EUR 5,000.00. Therefore, the Parties were requested to pay the following amounts by no later than 23 December 2010: 

“Claimant 1 (Mr Ramasar) EUR 1,00Claimant 2 (LSM) EUR 1,00Claimant 3 (Mr Diamantopoulos) EUR 1,00Respondent 1 (Mr Shermadini) EUR 1,00Respondent 2 (BC Panathinaikos) EUR 1,000

  1. By email of 23 December 2010, Respondent 1’s counsel informed the FAT Secretariat that Respondent 1 had not paid the supplementary Advance on Costs and left it up to Claimants to substitute for it. 
  2. By letter dated 30 December 2010, the FAT Secretariat confirmed receipt of Claimants’ shares of the supplementary Advance on Cost and informed the Parties that Respondents had failed to pay their shares of the supplementary Advance on Costs. In accordance with Article 9.3 of the FAT Rules, Claimants were invited to substitute for the missing payment of Respondents to ensure that the arbitration could proceed by no later than 7 January 2011. 
  3. On 12 January 2011, the FAT Secretariat confirmed receipt of the full amount of the supplementary Advance on Costs in the total amount of EUR 4,970.50, namely EUR 3,320.50 paid by LSM for Claimants 1 and 2 and EUR 1,650.00 paid by Claimant 3 for himself. 
  4. In his Answer, Respondent 1 explicitly stated that no hearing seemed necessary but added that, in case a hearing was going to be held, he would need a Georgian-English interpreter. The other parties did not request the FAT to hold a hearing. The Arbitrator therefore decided in accordance with Article 13.1 of the FAT Rules not to hold a hearing and to deliver the award on the basis of the written submissions of the Parties. 

4. The Parties’ Submissions

4.1. Summary of Claimants’ Submissions

  1. Claimants request from the Player the repayment of a loan for certain advanced expenses, plus interest. Furthermore, Claimants request that the Club pay certain agent fees in connection with the acquisition of the Player, and that the FAT confirm the Club’s obligation to pay further agent fees for the time during which the Player is under contract with the Club, and additional agent fees in case of a buyout of the Club’s contract by either another European team or an NBA team. 
  2. At all procedural stages, the three Claimants submitted joint statements. 
4.1.1 As to the jurisdiction of FAT

38Claimants assert that FAT has jurisdiction to determine their claims because both the Player Contract of 20 October 2008 and the Promissory Note of 22 October 2008 (discussed infra at para. 45) contain a FAT arbitration clause. Furthermore, Claimants 1 and 3 and Respondent 2 are members of FIBA, and therefore subject to jurisdiction of FIBA.

4.1.2 As to the merits of the case
    1. Claimants submit that prior to 17 December 2007, Mr. Mikeladze contacted Mr. Ramasar in order to enter into an arrangement for agent representation of European basketball players and specifically the Player. On 17 December 2007, LSM and Mr. Mikeladze signed a so-called “Independant Contractor Agreement” (sic) by 
    2. which Mr. Mikeladze agreed to assist LSM with the day-to-day management activities related to the Player. Claimants allege that to date neither LSM nor Mr. Mikeladze formally terminated the Independ[e]nt Contractor Agreement.
  1. On 18 December 2007, Claimant 1 and the Player signed a “Standard Player Agent Contract” in accordance with the National Basketball Players Association’s (NBPA) regulations whereby Claimant 1 agreed to represent the Player in individual compensation negotiations with NBA clubs. Among other things the contract stipulates rules for the compensation of services and reimbursement of expenses. 
  2. In March 2008, the Player arrived in the United States to train and prepare for the Reebok Treviso Camp in Italy and the NBA draft. After the training camp in Treviso in the first week of June 2008, the Player returned to the United States and continued training until the Early Entry Withdrawal Deadline Date (i.e. 16 June 2008), when his name was withdrawn from the NBA draft. Claimants submit that all the expenses incurred by the Player and his trainer, including food, housing, training, supplements, airfare, gas, rental car, miscellaneous cash, while training in the United States were paid by Claimant 1 or Claimant 2. It was agreed that these expenses would be reimbursed by the Player upon the signing of a contract with an NBA or overseas team. 
  3. On 15 April 2008 and once Mr. Mikeladze had obtained his license as a FIBA-licensed agent, he and the Player entered into a FIBA Players Representation Agreement which is printed on the letterhead of LSM. At this time, the Player was in the United States for training in preparation of the NBA draft. Claimants submit that Mr. Mikeladze was acting for Claimant 2 as its employee. 
    1. On 20 October 2008, Panathinaikos and the Player signed the Player Contract of 20 October 2008 for four seasons, namely from 2008-2009 until 2011-2012. The agents 
    2. listed in that contract are Messrs. Ramasar and Diamantopoulos. Mr. Diamantopoulos had been negotiating with Panathinaikos regarding the transfer of the Player since August 2008 because he was familiar with the representatives of Panathinaikos and brought them together with Mr. Mikeladze and Mr. Ramasar. After numerous conversations all persons involved accepted the terms of the Player Contract of 20 October 2008. The payments under this contract allowed the Player to repay his debts to the Claimants and to reimburse his share of the buyout amount which was paid by Claimants to the Player’s former club in Georgia, Maccabi Tbilisi. According to Clause 14 of the Player Contract of 20 October 2008 the Club’s obligation to pay the agents shall survive any premature termination of the Player Contract of 20 October 2008 or any termination of the agent services to Mr. Shermadini. The Player Contract of 20 October 2008 further contains a promissory note signed by the Club and its president Mr. Giannakopoulos in favor of Messrs. Ramasar and Diamantopoulos, providing for payment of an amount of EUR 150,000.00 over the term of the player contract (hereinafter “Club’s Promissory Note”).
  4. Also on 20 October 2008, Mr. Ramasar received a spreadsheet by email from Mr. Mikeladze and Mr. Khukhashvili, the owner and general manager of Maccabi Tbilisi and, according to Claimants, at the same time the Player’s “guardian/manager”. The spreadsheet reflects the buyout fees and agents’ commission fees for the full term of the Player’s contract with Panathinaikos. 
    1. On 22 October 2008, the Player signed a Promissory Note in favor of Claimant 2 in the amount of EUR 86,000.00 (hereinafter “Player’s Promissory Note”). This sum was considered to cover the expenses incurred by the Claimants in favor of the Player as of that time. It was also thought to cover the share of the buyout amount due to Maccabi Tbilisi which was to be paid by the Player because Panathinaikos was not willing to pay 
    2. the buyout directly to the former club but was prepared to increase the Player’s salary from which the buyout amount could then be deducted. Claimants assert that as of the date of the Request for Arbitration, the Player had only made one payment of EUR 5,000.00.
  5. Claimants then submit that already on 6 October 2008, the Player executed a “Payment Authorization” to authorize Panathinaikos to pay directly to Claimant 2, on the Player’s behalf, the amount due under the Player’s Promissory Note, i.e. EUR 86,000.00. 
  6. Undisputedly, Panathinaikos paid the contractually agreed agent fee of EUR 10,000.00 for the 2008-2009 season. Although Mr. Mikeladze was not explicitly named as an agent, Claimants 1 and 3 split the agents’ fee into one-third each and equally distributed the agents’ fee among Claimants 1 and 3 and Mr. Mikeladze. 
  7. Referring to the Answers in which Respondents claim that the Player Contract of 20 October 2008 was not ratified by the Greek League (HEBA) and is thus invalid, Claimants submit that the only kind of contract that needs to be ratified by the HEBA are the agreements between players and clubs. Agreements about agent fees are not subject to such a requirement. This is proven by the Ministerial Decision 14485/2001 and the Law 2725/1999. Furthermore, the fact that Claimants did not sign all pages of the Player Contract of 20 October 2008 has no legal bearing. Claimants also note that according to Clause 6 of the Player Contract of 20 October 2008 this contract is the controlling agreement and shall supersede any and all other agreements in the event of a dispute. 
    1. On 11 June 2009, Panathinaikos terminated the employment relationship with the Player without cause. On 29 June 2009, LSM sent a letter to the General Manager of 
    2. Panathinaikos, Mr. Papadopoulos, informing him and the Club of the ramifications of the early termination. By letter dated 10 July 2009, the Player’s attorneys replied and contested Claimants’ legitimacy to act as the Player’s FIBA-agents.
  8. Claimants submit that only after having received the termination notice, Claimant 1 obtained a letter from the Player dated 7 July 2009, whereby the latter notified Claimant 1 that he considered the NBPA Standard Player Agent Contract of 18 October 2007 to be terminated. Claimants submit that this termination letter was a consequence of the Player’s previous request to withdraw his name from the NBA draft and of his decision not to pursue a career with the NBA any further. 
  9. On 29 September 2009, Respondents signed a new contract, the Player Contract of 29 September 2009, the terms of which were exactly the same as the terms of the Player Contract of 20 October 2008, except for the annual salary and the fact that the contractual term was extended to the 2012-2013 season. In this contract, Mr. Mikeladze was mentioned as the sole representative of the Player. Claimants submit that the Player Contract of 29 September 2009 was a mere copy of the Player Contract of 20 October 2008 which was jointly drawn up and negotiated by Messrs. Ramasar and Diamantopoulos. Mr. Mikeladze also took advantage of the excellent, long term professional relationships with the Club which had been built and established by Mr. Diamantopoulos, and tried to collect the entire agent fee, thereby avoiding payment of an agent fee to Claimants 1 and 3. 
  10. Since the Player Contract of 29 September 2009 was just an extension of the Player Contract of 20 October 2008, Panathinaikos owes an agent fee not only to Mr. Mikeladze but also to the Claimants. This agent fee for Claimants 1 and 3, which was due on 1 September 2009, amounts to EUR 30,000.00 for the 2009-2010 season. Furthermore, for each year which is guaranteed under the Player Contract of 29 

September 2009, Panathinaikos is obliged to pay an agent fee of 10% (i.e. 5% to each

of Claimant 1 and Claimant 3).

53. Referring to Respondents’ claim that the Player was not sufficiently skilled in legal

English or Greek, Claimants note that all agreements between the Respondents are in

English and Greek without any indication of the presence of an interpreter.

4.2. The Claimants’ Request for Relief

54. The Request for Arbitration and Claimants’ replies to the Answers contain the following

Request for Relief:

“In the light of foregoing, Claimants request that FIBA Arbitral Tribunal order to the Respondents:

(1)
That PLAYER pay to REPRESENTATIVE on the Promissory Note, the sum of €84.001,18 on the principal balance of the Promissory Note, plus interest which continues to accrue on this balance at the rate of €16,11 per day from and after April 2009 or, in the alternative with interest rate of 5% or, in the alternative, with interest rate decided by the FAT Arbitrator ex aequo et bono.
(2)
That TEAM, pay to REPRESENTATIVE and DIAMOND[DIAMANTOPOULOS] for unpaid agents fees arising from the TEAM Contract and promissory note attached thereto as executed by TEAM, the sum of €30.000 with interest rate of 5% as from September 1, 2009 or, in the alternative, with the interest rate decided by the FAT Arbitrator ex aequo et bono
(3)
Acknowledge that the TEAM has the obligation to pay for each year which is guaranteed under the September 29, 2009 contract, an agent fee equal to 10% to RAMASAR and DIAMANTOPOULOS (5% to each of them according to their agreement).

Upon enquiry by the FAT Secretariat the counsels of the Claimants explained that the word “DIAMOND” in paragraph 2 of the Request for Relief is a clerical error and should have been “Diamantopoulos” but is not a reference to another as yet unmentioned, Claimant.

(4)
To acknowledge that TEAM has the obligation to pay an agent fee equal to 25% to RAMASAR and DIAMTOPOULOS in the event of a buyout of the TEAM’s contract by either another European team, or an NBA team.
(5)
To hold that the costs of the present arbitration be borne by the Respondents alone.
(6)
To order the Respondents to reimburse the Claimants all arbitration fees incurred in this claim, as well as their legal fees and other expenses, to be ascertained.” [sic]

4.3. Summary of Respondent 1’s Submissions

4.3.1 As to the jurisdiction of FAT
  1. Respondent 1 contests the jurisdiction of FAT regarding both the Player’s Promissory Note and the Player Contract of 20 October 2008. 
  2. The Player’s Promissory Note, which was signed exclusively by the Player, only mentions Claimant 1 but not Claimant 2 or Claimant 3. Therefore, the Player’s Promissory Note created a relationship only between Respondent 1 and Claimant 1. The latter was neither a FIBA agent nor a member of FIBA and therefore not in a position to proceed with FAT because the jurisdiction of FAT is restricted to members of FIBA. Besides, as the Player’s Promissory Note was only signed by Respondent 1 and not by Claimant 1, it does not qualify as a valid arbitration agreement. Respondent 1 also submits that he was young and inexperienced and did not sufficiently understand English. He does not remember having signed the Player’s Promissory Note and if he signed it, he did not understand its content. 
  3. Furthermore, the Player Contract of 20 October 2008 was not signed by the Claimants. Neither Mr. Ramasar nor Mr. Diamantopoulos were ever agents of the Player. They 

never signed a FIBA Agent contract with the Player and they never registered him as their player in the official FIBA register. The Player did not even know that Mr. Diamantopoulos was an agent. As far as Mr. Ramasar is concerned, he was not a FIBA-licensed agent in 2008 when the Player Contract of 20 October 2008 was signed. Furthermore, the Player Contract of 20 October 2008 must be considered void for lack of ratification by the HEBA. Therefore, the Claimants cannot rely on the Player Contract of 20 October 2008, neither to ground their claims nor to establish the jurisdiction of FAT.

4.3.2 As to the merits of the case
  1. Respondent 1 submits that the “Independ[e]nt Contractor Agreement” of 17 December 2007 was signed by Claimant 2 and Mr. Mikeladze only, and therefore did not concern the Player at all. Moreover, Mr. Mikeladze terminated this agreement on 15 November 2008. Furthermore, the goal of this agreement was to provide the Player with an official NBA agent for his entry in the NBA but neither Mr. Ramasar nor Mr. Diamantopoulos were supposed to represent the Player outside the NBA. The representation of the Player outside the NBA continued to be assured by Mr. Mikeladze. However, the “Independ[e]nt Contractor Agreement” does not stipulate any reimbursement by the Player, any anticipated signing of a FIBA Contract or any acting of Mr. Mikeladze as a representative of Claimant 2. The fact that the name of Mr. Mikeladze was published on the official website of LSM and that he was using an official email address of LSM (levan@lifesportsmgt.com) does not mean that he acted on behalf of Mr. Ramasar and/or LSM. 
    1. Referring to the NBPA Standard Player Agent Contract, the Player specifically and explicitly contests any expenses exceeding an amount of USD 1,000.00 in relation to the NBA Draft and the preparatory training sessions. Any higher amount was to be 
    2. reimbursed only if Respondent 1 gave his express prior consent. Respondent 1 alleges that he never agreed to such higher expenses. Mr. Ramasar had promised and guaranteed that the Player would participate for free at the pre-draft personal training in the USA and no fee would be charged. Respondent 1 was also promised that he would be drafted no later than in the 2nd round of the NBA Draft, but it was Mr. Ramasar who withdrew the name of Respondent 1 from the NBA Draft without reasons.
  2. The FIBA Player’s Representation Agreement of 15 April 2008 on the letterhead of LSM was never signed by Mr. Mikeladze. The actual and only valid FIBA Player’s Representation Agreement was signed by Respondent 1 and Mr. Mikeladze on 3 July 2008 and indicates Mr. Mikeladze as the Player’s only FIBA representative. 
  3. The Player submits that he was induced by Mr. Ramasar to sign the “Payment Authorization” dated 6 October 2008, but that because of his limited English language skills he was not able to realize what he actually signed. Furthermore, he doubts that he signed it on 6 October 2008 as he was in Georgia on this date and never received such a document there. In addition, the “Payment Authorization” is not signed by Panathinaikos. Moreover, Claimants seek to circumvent the applicable contractual rules of the “NBPA Standard Player Agent Contract” set up to protect players against charges exceeding USD 1.000,00. Therefore, such a document cannot reflect an agreement by Respondent 1 to owe or to pay any such amounts to Claimants. 
    1. The Player also submits that he was misled into signing the Player’s Promissory Note because he was not able to understand the consequences thereof and because he thought that it was necessary for his future career. As Mr. Ramasar was his NBA Agent, Respondent 1 trusted him and signed documents which were submitted by him, even if he did not understand them. Mr. Ramasar always collected Respondent 1’s signature when the Player’s real agent, Mr. Mikeladze, was not available. The Player’s 
    2. Promissory Note is a forbidden attempt to circumvent the contractual rules in the NBPA Standard Player Agent Contract which protects Respondent 1 against expenses exceeding USD 1.000,00.
    1. Respondent 1 also refers to the FIBA Internal Regulations, especially Articles H.5.3.1, 
    2. H.5.4.1 and H.5.6.1. According to these provisions, an agent may represent a player or manage his affairs only if he has a written contract with the player in question, and he must possess a valid license issued by FIBA. Thus, neither Mr. Ramasar nor Mr. Diamantopoulos had the power and authority to validly act as agents of the Player regarding the contract with Panathinaikos. Article 14 of that contract is therefore null and void. The negotiations of the Player Contract of 20 October 2008 were led by Mr. Mikeladze whereas Mr. Ramasar only tried to get in touch with different European agents and sought to employ the Player with their help. One of these European agents was Mr. Diamantopoulos, who did not play any role in the negotiations of the contract between the Respondents. Furthermore, Mr. Mikeladze was never an employee of Mr. Ramasar.
  4. The only valid contract for the Player’s employment by Panathinaikos was the Player Contract of 13 November 2008 which was duly submitted for registration with, and eventually approved by, the HEBA. The Player Contract of 13 November 2008 does not contain any reference to Claimants. 
  5. Respondent 1 also submits that Panathinaikos terminated the employment with the Player in application of Article 5 of the Player Contract of 20 October 2008 which did not require the Club to give reasons. 
  6. Respondent 1 contests that the spreadsheet dated 20 October 2008 which was introduced in the arbitration procedure by Claimants and which is not signed, has any meaning for this dispute. 
  7. Regarding the Player Contract of 29 September 2009, Respondent 1 submits that after the termination of the Player Contract of 20 October 2008 he initiated, duly represented by his FIBA agent Mr. Mikeladze, new negotiations with Panathinaikos and signed a new contract. This agreement is perfectly valid and duly registered with the HEBA and the Claimants are not entitled to claim any compensation since they were not involved in these negotiations and did not represent the Player. 

4.4. Respondent 1’s Request for Relief

68Respondent 1’s Answer and his reply of 30 August 2010 contain the following Request for Relief (sic):

“In the light of the foregoing, the PLAYER requests FIBA Arbitral Tribunal to render the following sentence:

Principally

The Claimants’ request is declared inadmissible due to lack of jurisdiction of the FAT.

Subsidiary

The Claimants’ request is rejected integrally.

Costs and reimbursement

The costs of the procedure have to be borne by the Claimants alone.

Furthermore, the Claimants have to reimburse the PLAYER all arbitration fees in this procedure, as well as his legal fees and other expenses.”

4.5. Summary of Respondent 2’s Submissions

4.5.1 As to the jurisdiction of FAT
  1. Respondent 2 submits that the Player Contract of 20 October 2008 never gained legal validity because it was not ratified by the HEBA according to Greek laws and regulations (Articles 3-5 of the Ministry Decision 14485/13.6.2001 issued according to Article 87 of the Greek Sports Law 2725/1999). According to these provisions, signed contracts must be submitted to the HEBA in a specific form in the Greek and English language. The HEBA reviews and then ratifies the contract, which is evidenced by a stamp. The Player Contract of 20 October 2008 was never submitted to the HEBA. The Club signed the Player Contract of 20 October 2008 and the Club’s Promissory Note trusting Claimants 1 and 3 that they were indeed Respondent 1’s agents. After ascertaining that Mr. Mikeladze was the exclusive FIBA certified agent of the Player, the Club had no intention of registering the Player Contract of 20 October 2008 with the HEBA, but concluded a new contract, i.e. the Player Contract of 13 November 2008 which was then submitted to the HEBA for registration. Respondents would have faced serious sanctions by FIBA according to the FIBA Internal Regulations if they had used the services of a non-licensed agent and/or of more than one agent. 
  2. On the other hand, the Player Contract of 13 November 2008 is fully valid. However, this contract does not contain a FAT arbitration clause and the names of Claimants 1 and 2 are not mentioned therein. Only Claimant 3 is named as “attorney -proxy” but not as “agent”. Therefore, FAT has no jurisdiction to decide the claims submitted to it in this arbitration. 
4.5.2 As to the merits of the case
  1. In addition to the submissions of Respondent 1, Respondent 2 notes that it did not attempt to prematurely terminate the Player Contract of 20 October 2008 but exercised its exclusive option stipulated in Article 5 of the said contract to release Respondent 1 before 1 June 2009 or ten days after the last official game of the 2008-2009 season. Therefore, Respondent 2 has no obligation to pay 10% of the value for the remaining seasons (2009-2012). 
  2. Claimant 1 is not entitled to file a request for arbitration with FAT: he was not a FIBA licensed agent nor a FIBA member. Similarly, Claimant 2 is not entitled to file a request with FAT because it has no further capacities than its sole representative, i.e. Claimant 

1. Furthermore, the Player Contract of 20 October 2008 and the Club’s Promissory Note have neither been signed by Claimant 1 nor Claimant 3. Claimant 3 has no contractual relation with Respondents. Thus, Claimants are not entitled to file a request for arbitration with FAT.

4.6. Respondent 2’s Request for Relief

73Confirming the Request for Relief in the Answer, Respondent 2’s reply of 10 September 2010 contains the following Request for Relief:

FOR THESE REASONWE REQUEST THE FIBA ARBITRAL TRIBUNAL

To fully accept our claims stated above and our claims stated in our Answer.

To reject the Claimants’ March 19th 2010 Arbitration Request and their

application dated 6 August 2010 as inadmissible because none of the Claimants

was legally empowered to fill such a Request, otherwise,

to reject the 19th March 2010 Arbitration Request and their application dated 6 August 2010 due to lack of F.A.T. jurisdiction, otherwise,

to reject the 19th March 2010 Arbitration Request and their application dated 6 August 2010 as unsubstantiated and contrary to the FIBA Internal Regulations.

To acknowledge that Panathinaikos BC bears no obligation towards the Claimants.

To hold that the costs of the present arbitration be borne by the Claimants alone.” [sic]

5. Jurisdiction

  1. Pursuant to Article 2.1 of the FAT Rules, “[t]he seat of the FAT and of each arbitral proceeding before the Arbitrator shall be Geneva, Switzerland (…).” Hence, this FAT arbitration is governed by Chapter 12 of the Swiss Act on Private International Law (PILA). 
  2. According to Article 186 (1) PILA, “(t)he Arbitral tribunal shall itself decide on its jurisdiction.” 
  3. The jurisdiction of the FAT presupposes the arbitrability of the dispute as well as the existence of a valid arbitration agreement between the Parties. 
  4. To file a Request for Arbitration with and to be a party to proceedings before the FAT it is not necessary to be a FIBA member or a licensed FIBA Agent. According to the Preamble of the FAT Rules (Articles 0.1 and 0.2 of the FAT Rules) the FAT has been created to provide parties involved in disputes arising in the world of basketball – and not only within FIBA – with an efficient and effective means of resolving these disputes. In addition, Article L.2.1.3 of the FIBA Internal Regulations states that the “FAT is 

primarily designed to resolve disputes between clubs, players and agents” without any restriction to FIBA-licensed agents or agencies. Neither the FIBA Internal Regulations nor the FAT Rules require a party to the FAT proceedings to be a FIBA member or to be a FIBA licensed agent. Moreover, there is no provision to the effect that the parties in a FAT proceeding have to be individuals rather than legal entities.

5.1. Arbitrability

78The Arbitrator notes that the dispute referred to him is clearly of a financial nature and is thus arbitrable within the meaning of Article 177 (1) PILA.3

5.2. Formal and substantive validity of the arbitration agreement

5.2.1 In General

79The existence of a valid arbitration agreement will be examined in light of Article 178 PILA, which reads as follows:

“1 The arbitration agreement must be concluded in writing, by telegram, telex, telefax or any other means of communication which allow proof of the agreement by text.

2 Furthermore, the arbitration agreement shall be valid if it conforms to the law chosen by the parties, to the law governing the dispute, in particular the principal

Decision of the Swiss Federal Tribunal 4P.230/2000 dated 7 February 2001, cons. 1, reported in ASA Bulletin 2001, p. 523 et seq., with reference to the decision of the Swiss Federal Tribunal dated 23 June 1992, BGE 118 II 353, 356, cons. 3b.

contract, or to Swiss law.”

3 The arbitration agreement cannot be contested on the grounds that the main contract is not valid or that the arbitration agreement concerns a dispute which has not yet arisen.”

5.2.2 Regarding Respondent 1

80. Despite Respondents’ objection to FAT’s jurisdiction, the Arbitrator finds that the jurisdiction of FAT over the dispute between Claimant 2 and Respondent 1 results from Clause 8 of the Player’s Promissory Note, which reads as follows:

8. Dispute Resolution

(a) FIBA. As long as Borrower is under a FIBA contract and except as otherwise provided in this Agreement, any controversy or dispute arising from or related to this Agreement, the interpretation of any of its provisions shall be submitted to the FIBA Arbitral Tribunal (FAT) in Geneva, Switzerland and shall be resolved in accordance with the FAT Arbitration Rules by a single arbitrator appointed by the FAT President. […]”

  1. Indeed, the Arbitrator agrees that FAT has no jurisdiction on disputes arising from the NBPA Standard Player Agent Contract dated 18 December 2007. Clause 7 of said contract which deals with NBA-related disputes does not refer to FAT but contains an arbitration clause which stipulates a different arbitration procedureHowever, Claimant 2 does not request payment based on the NBPA Standard Player Agent Contract but on the Player’s Promissory Note. The latter is in writing and in compliance with Article 178 (1) PILA as well as Article L.2.1.1 of the FIBA Internal Regulations and Article 1.1 of the FAT Rules. 
    1. Moreover, the fact that the Player’s Promissory Note was signed only by Respondent 1 (and not Claimant 2) has no influence because a signature by both parties is not 
    2. required for an arbitration agreement to be valid.It is sufficient if the agreement is in written form (Article 178 (1) PILA). In addition, the arbitration clause in Article 8 (a) of the Player’s Promissory Note can also be interpreted as an offer to Claimant 2 to arbitrate with FAT. By filing the Request for Arbitration with FAT, Claimant 2 accepted this offer and thereby agreed to the arbitration clause. Furthermore, Respondent 1 is still under contract with Respondent 2, playing under the Rules and Regulations of FIBA, thus meeting the requirement to this effect contained in the arbitration clause.
  2. The Arbitrator considers that there is no other indication in the file which could cast doubt on the validity of the arbitration agreement under Swiss law (cf. Article 178 (2) PILA). In particular, the wording “any controversy or dispute arising from or related to this Agreement (…)” in Clause 8 of the Player’s Promissory Note clearly covers the present dispute.5 
  3. The Arbitrator thus finds that he has jurisdiction over the dispute between Claimant 2 and Respondent 1. 
5.2.3 Regarding Respondent 2

85. The Arbitrator also finds that the jurisdiction of FAT over the dispute between Claimants 1 and 3 on the one side and Respondent 2 (but also Respondent 1) on the other results from the Player Contract of 20 October 2008. Clause 5 thereof stipulates that “[a]ny dispute arising from or related to the present contract shall be submitted to

See for instance BERGER/ KELLERHALS: Internationale und Interne Schiedsgerichtsbarkeit in der Schweiz, Bern 2006, N 396.

See for instance BERGER/ KELLERHALS: Internationale und Interne Schiedsgerichtsbarkeit in der Schweiz, Bern 2006, N 466.

FIBA Arbitral Tribunal (FAT) in Geneva, Switzerland and shall be re-solved in accordance with the FAT Arbitration Rules by a single arbitrator appointed by the FAT President.”

  1. According to Art. 178 (3) PILA, the arbitration clause must be considered as an autonomous agreement which is separate from the contract in which it was included. The argument that the arbitration agreement is invalid because the validity of the entire contract is disputed is inadmissible. Whether or not the Player Contract of 20 October 2008 is valid will be determined as a matter of substance in this award. Clause 5 of the Player Contract of 20 October 2008 fulfills the formal requirements of Article 178 (1) PILA. Therefore, the arbitration agreement is formally valid and binding at least upon Respondents. 
  2. It is true that the Player Contract of 20 October 2008 was concluded between Respondent 1 and Respondent 2, but not Claimants. The question therefore arises whether the arbitration agreement can also be binding upon non-signatories such as Claimants 1 and 3. 
  3. The Swiss Federal Tribunal has held in a decision dated 16 October 2003 (BGE 129 III 727) that while the validity of the arbitration agreement between the initial parties was subject to the formal requirements of Article 178 (1) PILA, the validity of its extension to non-signatory parties was not.Therefore, once an arbitration agreement complies with 

Decision of the Swiss Federal Tribunal dated 16 October 2003, BGE 129 III 727, 735, cons. 5.3.1.

the formal requirements with respect to its initial signatories, the extension of that arbitration agreement to other parties does not need to satisfy such requirements.7

89However, an extension of the arbitration agreement requires a legal relationship between the third party and the initial parties to the arbitration agreement, which relationship must be of a certain intensity to justify the extension. The Arbitrator finds that the Player Contract of 20 October 2008 itself refers to a sufficiently strong legal relationship between the Respondents and Claimants 1 and 3, which justifies an extension of the arbitration agreement. Clause 14 explicitly states that Claimants 1 and 3 are considered the Player’s exclusive agents and establishes certain obligations of the Player towards Claimants 1 and 3, namely the payment of the agent fees. Moreover, the Arbitrator finds that although the Player Contract of 20 October 2008 was signed only by the Respondents, at least Clause 14 must be considered as an agreement in favor of a third party, namely Claimants 1 and 3. Under Swiss arbitration law, the conclusion of an agreement in favor of a third party implies the application of the arbitration agreement, by analogy with Article 112 of the Swiss Code of Obligations8.

PHILIPP FISCHER: When can an arbitration clause be binding upon non-signatories under Swiss law?, in: Jusletter of 4 January 2010.

8

Article 112 of the Swiss Code of Obligations says: “A person who, acting in his own name, has entered into a contract whereby performance is due to a third party is entitled to compel performance for the benefit of said third party. The third party or his legal successors have the right to compel performance where that was the intention of the contracting parties or is the customary practice. In this case the obligee may no longer release the obligor from his obligations once the third party has notified the obligor of his intention to exercise that right.” (see English translation on the website of the Federal Authorities of the Swiss Confederation under http://www.admin.ch/ch/e/rs/c220.html); BERGER/KELLERHALS, op. cit., N

514.

  1. The Arbitrator considers that there is no other indication in the file which could cast doubt on the validity of the arbitration agreement under Swiss law (cf. Article 178 (2) PILA). In particular, the wording “Any dispute arising from or related to the present contract (…)” in Clause 5 of the Player Contract of 20 October 2008 clearly covers the present dispute.9 
  2. The Arbitrator finds therefore that the arbitration agreement in the Player Contract of 20 October 2008 applies also to disputes between the Respondents and Claimants 1 and 3 insofar as such disputes relate to the payment of the agent fees. 

6. Applicable Law

6.1Ex aequo et bono

  1. With respect to the law governing the merits of the dispute, Article 187 (1) PILA provides that the arbitral tribunal must decide the case according to the rules of law chosen by the parties or, in the absence of a choice, according to the rules of law with which the case has the closest connection. Article 187 (2) PILA adds that the parties may authorize the arbitrators to decide “en équité”, as opposed to a decision according to the rules of law referred to in Article 187 (1). Article 187 (2) PILA is generally translated into English as follows: 
  2. Under the heading “Applicable Law”, Article 15.1 of the FAT Rules reads as follows: 

See for instance BERGER/ KELLERHALS, op. cit., N 466.

“the parties may authorize the arbitral tribunal to decide ex aequo et bono”.

“Unless the parties have agreed otherwise the Arbitrator shall decide the dispute ex aequo et bono, applying general considerations of justice and fairness without reference to any particular national or international law.”

94Clause 8 of the Player’s Promissory Note and Clause 5 of the Player Contract of 20 October 2008 state:

“The arbitrator and CAS upon appeal shall decide the dispute ex aequo et bono.”

  1. Clause 9 of the Player’s Promissory Note refers also to the laws of the State of California. However, this law shall only apply to “other disputes and other issues not resolved by Section 8 above.” Since the present dispute clearly falls under Clause 8 of the Player’s Promissory Note, the Arbitrator is not required to investigate further what such “other disputes and other issues” might be. 
  2. The Arbitrator will therefore decide the present matter ex aequo et bono. 

6.2. The statutory concept of ex aequo et bono arbitration

97The concept of équité (or ex aequo et bono) used in Article 187 (2) PILA originates from Article 31 (3) of the Concordat intercantonal sur l’arbitrage10 (Concordat),11 under

That is the Swiss statute that governed international and domestic arbitration before the enactment of the PILA. Today, the Concordat governs exclusively domestic arbitration.

which Swiss courts have held that arbitration en équité is fundamentally different from arbitration en droit:

“When deciding ex aequo et bono, the arbitrators pursue a conception of justice which is not inspired by the rules of law which are in force and which might even be contrary to those rules.”12

98. In substance, it is generally considered that the arbitrator deciding ex aequo et bono receives

“the mandate to give a decision based exclusively on equity, without regard to legal rules. Instead of applying general and abstract rules, he must stick to the circumstances of the case at hand”.13

  1. This is confirmed by Article 15.1 of the FAT Rules in fine according to which the arbitrator applies “general considerations of justice and fairness without reference to any particular national or international law”. 
  2. In light of the foregoing developments, the Arbitrator makes the following findings: 

7. Findings

101To determine the outcome of the dispute, the Arbitrator finds that the following questions must be answered:

11

KARRER, in: Basel commentary to the PILA, 2nd ed., Basel 2007, Art. 187 PILA N 289.

1JdT (Journal des Tribunaux), III. Droit cantonal, 3/1981, p. 93 (free translation).

1POUDRET/BESSON, Comparative Law of International Arbitration, London 2007, N 717, pp. 625-626.

  1. Is the Player obliged to reimburse to LSM an amount of EUR 84,001.18? 
  2. Are LSM and Mr. Diamantopoulos entitled to an agent fee of EUR 30,000.00 relating to the season 2008-2009? 
  3. Are Mr. Ramasar and Mr. Diamantopoulos entitled to agent fees in the amount of 10% for each year which is guaranteed under the Player Contract dated 29 September 2009? 
  4. Are Mr. Ramasar and Mr. Diamantopoulos entitled to 25% of the transfer fee in case of a buyout of the Player? 
  5. Are the Claimants entitled to interest and if yes, at which rate and from which date on? 
  6. Depending on the outcome of the case: Who must bear the costs of this arbitration proceeding and does any party have a claim for legal fees and expenses? 

7.1. Is the Player obliged to reimburse to LSM an amount of EUR 84,001.18?

102Claimants claim the amount of EUR 84,001.18 based on the Player’s Promissory Note

which in relevant parts reads as follows:

PROMISSORY NOTE

€86,000.0Dated: 22 October 2008

FOR VALUE RECEIVED, Giorgi Shermadini, an individual with his address located 26th

at May Square #1, Sports Palace, Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia, passport number […] and personal number of […] (“Borrower”), unconditionally promises to pay to the order of Life Sports Management, Inc., a California corporation with its principal address located at 179 Haflinger Road, Norco, California 92860 (“Company”), in lawful money of the European Union and/or the United States of America and in immediately available funds, the principal sum of eighty six thousand Euros (€86,000.00) (the “Loan”) together with accrued and unpaid interest thereon, each due and payable on the dates and in the manner set forth below.

  1. Principal Repayment. The outstanding principal amount of the Loan shall be due and payable in accordance with the payment schedule below and beginning upon entering into any contract for employment to play professional basketball from any club or organization, either within the United States of America or anywhere worldwide. For the purposes of this Agreement, “Year” shall mean each year of player’s (Borrower’s) contract. Borrower hereby authorizes Borrower’s team management to make payroll deductions to ensure that the repayment of the Loan is within the time period specified. Borrower further agrees to execute any and all documents necessary and reasonable to ensure that Company shall be paid by team management. In addition, Company shall have the right in its sole and exclusive discretion to adjust the payment schedule at any time, provided however, that the payments per month shall not be more than the current schedule set forth below: 
  2. Interest Rate. Borrower further promises to pay interest on the outstanding principal amount hereof plus interest at the rate of seven percent (7%) per annum from the date hereof until payment is made in full. In the event that this Note is not paid within three (3) years after the first payment is due, the interest shall increase to ten percent (10%) per annum or the maximum rate permissible by law (which under the laws of the State of California shall be deemed to be the laws relating to permissible rates of interest in commercial loans), whichever is less. Principal and interest shall be due and payable Monthly in not later than the first day of each calendar month and interest shall be calculated on the basis of a 360 day year for the actual number of days elapsed. 
Years 1 and 2 of Borrowers contract with team Ten percent (10%) of Borrowers Salary paid in installments per distribution
Year 3 Eight percent (8%) of Borrowers Salary paid in installments per distribution

[…]

BORROWER:

Giorgi Shermadini”

  1. Respondents submit, however, that the Player did not understand the real meaning and the consequences of this document but thought that it was otherwise necessary for the future of his career. In addition, they argue that the NBPA Standard Player Agent Contract provides that the Player shall only be obligated to reimburse Claimant 1 for expenses of an amount higher than USD 1,000.00 if he gave express prior consent to the agent to incur such expenses. However, no such prior consent was given and the Player was told that the costs of his training and preparation would be borne by Claimants 1 or 2. 
  2. The Arbitrator does not agree with Respondents and finds ex aequo et bono that the Player’s Promissory Note obliges the Player to pay the stipulated amount to Claimant 2 for the following reasons: 
  3. Obviously, the Player signed the Player’s Promissory Note and neither Party contests the authenticity of the Player’s signature. Respondents assert that the Player was “misled” or “induced” to sign this document. However, no evidence of any misleading behavior or statements by Claimants was provided. On the other hand, the Player confirms that he was always in close contact with Mr. Mikeladze and it is difficult to accept that he did not consult with him before signing the Player’s Promissory Note which referred to a considerable amount of money, a fact which in itself did not require advanced English skills to understand. In addition, when signing the Player Contract of 13 November 2008, the validity of which has not been contested by Respondent 1, the Player confirmed in Clause 11.4: 
  4. The Player signed not only the Player’s Promissory Note but also the Payment Authorization, which bears an earlier date but refers to the same amount of money (EUR 86,000.00). 
  5. Finally, it is undisputed that in April 2009, when Mr. Ramasar was in Athens, the Player paid the amount of EUR 5,000.00 relating to the Player’s Promissory Note. Although it can be left open to which extent the Payment Authorization was enforceable, the facts that (i) the Player signed two different documents referring to the same amount of money, (ii) the Payment Authorization required even less English language skills to understand, (iii) the Player did not dispute that he understood the meaning of the English part of the Player Contract of 13 November 2008, and that (iv) the Player paid EUR 5,000.00 in this context, operate against Respondents’ allegation that the Player was misled into signing the Player’s Promissory Note. 
  6. Most legal systems provide for a period of time during which a defect in the conclusion of a contract such as a material error, willful deception or “inducement” can be asserted. Respondents raised such defense arguments only in the FAT arbitral proceedings, i.e. almost two years after the date of signature of the Player’s Promissory Note. In the Arbitrator’s view, this long time lapse adds to the weakness of the allegation that Respondent 1 was misled into signing the Player’s Promissory Note. 
    1. Respondents do not offer any evidence for their assertion that Claimants 1 or 2 promised that the preparation of the Player would be fully and unconditionally financed by Claimant 1 or 2. The Arbitrator finds that the explanation provided by Claimants is considerably more credible: according to this explanation, Claimant 2 and the Player agreed that Claimant 2 would advance the costs of the Player’s preparation until a contract was signed with an NBA team or an overseas club, and that only then the Player would be obliged to restitute the advanced expenses to Claimant 2. This 
    2. condition was met when the Player was engaged by Respondent 2. Only then, and when the amount due could be determined, was the Player in a position to repay the advanced costs and thus the respective promissory note could be signed.
  7. The Arbitrator turns now to Respondent’s argument based on Article 5 of the NBPA Standard Player Agent Contract which limits the Player’s obligation to repay any advanced costs to the agent without prior express consent to USD 1,000.00. Even if the legal difference between the parties to the NBPA Standard Player Agent Contract (Player and Mr. Ramasar) and the promisee of the Player’s Promissory Note (LSM) were to be disregarded in light of the economic identity of Claimants 1 and 2, the Arbitrator finds that the limitation contained in Clause 5 of the NBPA Standard Player Agent contract was not violated because there was indeed a prior understanding between the Player and Claimants 1 and 2 to the effect that the costs advanced by the latter would become repayable once the Player was contracted by an NBA team or an overseas club. Respondents’ undocumented version of the facts, according to which the Player was told that all preparation costs would be borne by Claimants 1 or 2 and would not become due even if the Player would earn a considerable salary is simply not plausible and may not set aside the Player’s Promissory Note. The Arbitrator therefore concludes that when Claimant 2 incurred the costs for the preparation of the Player for the NBA draft (e.g. travel and accommodation, costs of a coach) it could rely on the prior and express consent of the Player that he would eventually have to reimburse these costs. 
    1. According to Clause 2 of the Player’s Promissory Note, the principal amount was due and payable monthly by no later than the first day of each calendar month. Clause 5 (c) of the Player’s Promissory Note stipulates that if the Player fails timely to make any repayments of the principal amount due, “all unpaid principal, accrued interest and 
    2. other amounts owing hereunder” shall be immediately due and payable. It is undisputed that Respondent 1 failed to pay monthly installments despite one payment of EUR 5,000.00 made in April 2009. Therefore, he has not paid “timely” and the entire amount of EUR 86,000.00 plus interest of 7% as stipulated by Clause 2 of the Player’s Promissory Note became due and payable. From the amount paid by Respondent 1 in April 2009, EUR 3,001.18 (and not EUR 3,000.18 as indicated by Claimants) were offset against the outstanding interest then due as provided by Clause 4 of the Player’s Promissory Note and the remaining amount of EUR 1,998.82 was deducted from the principal amount, leaving a principal balance of EUR 84,001.18.
  8. To sum up, the Arbitrator finds that Respondent 1 is obliged to pay to Claimant 2 the amount of EUR 84,001.18, plus interest as determined in section 7.5.1 below. 

“The Basketball Player states that he is able to read and fully understand the English language and especially the terms and obligations undertaken hereunder.”

7.2. Are LSM and Mr. Diamantopoulos entitled to an agent fee of EUR 30,000.00 relating to the 2008-2009 season?

  1. Claimants 1 and 3 claim an agent fee of EUR 30,000.00 based on the Player Contract of 20 October 2008, which mentioned them as agents. 
  2. The Player Contract of 20 October 2008 was concluded between the Respondents for the four seasons from 2008-2009 to 2011-2012. It regulates the matter of agent fees as follows: 

“14) AGENT FEE The parties agree that the Player’s exclusive agent is Elias Diamantopoulos and Todd Ramasar; the CLUB agrees to pay (the “AGENT’S”) a fee equal to ten percent (10%) of the value of the Player’s base salary in the Agreement. The Club’s obligation to pay the AGENT’S shall survive any premature termination of the Agreement or any termination of the Agent’s service by the PLAYER. The CLUB shall not approach the Player about a new contract for additional seasons or extensions without first discussing such proposal with the AGENT’S. For any future contracts between the CLUB and the PLAYER, regardless of the circumstances, the AGENT’S shall be entitled to a 10% agent fee on the base salary set forth therein. In the event of the Agent’s death, all remaining payments owed shall be made to the Agent’s estate or beneficiaries.”

115. In addition, attached to the Player Contract of 20 October 2008 there was the Club’s

Promissory Note which reads as follows:

“PROMISSORY NOTE

For services rendered in connection with the conclusion of a contractual agreemenbetween KAE Panathinaikos BC Basketball (Club) and GIORGI SHERMADIN(Player) for the 2008-2009, 2009-2010, 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 seasonsWe agree to pay against this PROMISSORY NOTE to the order of EliaDiamantopoulos and Todd Ramasar in the Amount of10,000. Euro (Ten Thousand in Euros) for 2008-200940,000. Euro (Forty Thousand in Euros) for 2009-201045,000. Euro (Forty five Thousand in Euros) for 2010-201155,000. Euro (Fifty five Thousand in Euros) for 2011-2012Net of All Greek Taxes upon the execution of the ESAKE Contract, binding thPLAYER to the CLUB Which will be Guaranteed by a Club bank checkPayment shall be made by bank wire transfer or a Club bank check as requesteby the payee:

KAE PANATHINAIKOS BASKETBALL CLUATHENS, GREECE

116. Neither the Player Contract of 20 October 2008 nor the Club’s Promissory Note was

signed by Claimants 1 and 3. However, as held in the context of the discussion of FAT

jurisdiction (see para. 87-89 above), the fact that Messrs. Ramasar and

Diamantopoulos did not sign these agreements does not prevent them from being

beneficiaries of the agreements, and particularly of the agent fees, which they are

entitled to claim on their own behalf. A promissory note is the unilateral acceptance of a

debt which is enforceable upon signing by the promising party only. Hence, signing by

Claimants 1 and 3 was not necessary for the Club’s Promissory Note to be

enforceable.

  1. Respondents submit that Mr. Mikeladze, and not Claimants 1 and 3, was the only official agent of the Player entitled to deal with matters outside the NBA. In addition, the Player Contract of 20 October 2008 was not valid because it had not been registered with the HEBA. Respondents also submit that Messrs. Ramasar and Diamantopoulos falsely introduced themselves to Panathinaikos as the agents of the Player. When Respondent 2 realized that Mr. Ramasar was not a certified FIBA agent and neither of the two had presented a FIBA agent contract with the Player, it stopped the registration procedure with the HEBA because otherwise Respondents would have encountered serious sanctions by FIBA. Instead, the Player Contract of 13 November 2008 was produced and submitted to the HEBA for acknowledgment. 
  2. Respondents’ allegation of a false representation by Claimants 1 and 3 is not supported by any evidence. On the other hand, Claimants’ submission that Respondent 2 paid the agent fee to Claimants 1 and 3 for the 2008-2009 season in the amount of EUR 10,000.00 has not been disputed, which indicates that -at least initially-Respondents acted on the assumption that the Player Contract of 20 October 2008 was a valid agreement. 
    1. The Arbitrator notes that today, both Claimants 1 and 3 are licensed FIBA agents. The fact that Claimant 1 was not in possession of a FIBA agent license when the Player Contract of 20 October 2008 was signed did not make the Player Contract of 20 October 2008 or the duty to pay the amounts due to Claimants 1 and 3 according to Clause 14 of the Player Contract of 20 October 2008 invalid. A violation of the duty to use the services of non-licensed agents does not invalidate the agreement which obliges the club to pay an agent fee but may trigger sanctions against the respective club and/or player (see articles H.5.7 and H.5.8 of the FIBA Internal Regulations governing Players’ Agents). The Arbitrator notes that neither of the Respondents 
    2. claims to have been sanctioned because they made use of the services of, and actually paid, Claimants 1 and 3 when Respondent 1 was engaged by Respondent 2.
  3. The Arbitrator also finds that the fact that the Player Contract of 20 October 2008 was not registered with the HEBA does not invalidate the obligation of Respondent 2 to compensate Claimants 1 and 3. The registration duty lies with the Club and not with the beneficiaries mentioned in Clause 14. The beneficiaries were entitled to count on the Club’s compliance with its formal duties. On the other hand, the Club cannot escape its payment duties by not fulfilling its registration duties. The Arbitrator would consider this as acting in bad faith or venire contra factum proprium. 
  4. Since the Club admittedly did not even submit the Player Contract of 20 October 2008 to the HEBA, the Arbitrator finds that this renders moot the question whether this agreement would have been acknowledged or rejected by the HEBA or whether the HEBA would have imposed certain amendments for recognition. The fact that a few weeks later, the parties decided to sign a new agreement, namely the Player Contract of 13 November 2008, which was indeed registered by the HEBA but which no longer referred to Claimant 1, did not cancel the contractual obligations towards Claimants 1 and 3 which were accepted by Respondent 2 when it signed the Player Contract of 20 October 2008. Under these circumstances there is no need to further investigate the meaning of Article 10 of the Player Contract of 13 November 2008 which mentions Claimant 3 as “attorney – proxy”. 
  5. The Arbitrator therefore rejects Respondents’ argument that there was no duty to compensate Claimants 1 and 3 because the Player Contract of 20 October 2008 was not submitted for ratification to the HEBA. 
  6. Respondents also argue that Claimants 1 and 3 did not deserve the agent fee stipulated in the Player Contract of 20 October 2008 since they were not involved in the negotiations with Panathinaikos. First of all, the mere reference to Claimants 1 and 3 in the Player Contract dated 20 October 2008 and the Club’s Promissory Note in favor of Claimants 1 and 3 would already constitute sufficient grounds to award the promised agent fees to Claimants 1 and 3, without further exploring their contribution to the conclusion of the Player Contract of 20 October 2008. Besides, Claimants 1 and 3 were indeed involved in the negotiations with Panathinaikos as demonstrated by the email correspondence between Mr. Mikeladze and Claimants 1 and 3, which refers to the possible engagement of the Player with Panathinaikos. Particularly the email sent from Mr. Mikeladze to Claimants 1 and 3 on 28 October 2008, i.e. a few days after the successful signing of the Player Contract of 20 October 2008 makes it clear that the engagement of the Player by Panathinaikos was also attributable to the efforts of Messrs. Ramasar and Diamantopoulos: 

“Todd,

We got the papers back signed and sealed this morning. I want to thank you for your visit in Greece as it helped the situation a lot.

I want to thank you Lou as well for the great job you done for Gio and us. Its nice to see Gio’s happy face for me and I know you guys enjoy it as well. We made a great transfer and its historical thing not just for Georgia and its National Team but for Europe and NBA as well. I’m confident that Gio will be a star in a few years…Just thank you guys.

Best Regards,

LEV

P.S. Lou you changed the time. It suppose to be 2023 on the earth. :-)))))))”

    1. To sum up, the Arbitrator finds that Clause 14 of the Player Contract of 20 October 2008 constitutes a sufficient legal basis for Claimants 1 and 3 to claim payment of the 
    2. agent fee stipulated therein. According to the Player Contract of 20 October 2008, Claimants 1 and 3 would be entitled to an agent fee of 10% of the Player’s salary for each season, which salary was initially agreed to EUR 400,000 for the 2009-2010 season. However, Clause 14 of the Player Contract of 20 October 2008 does not stipulate a specified amount but refers to the actual salary of the Player in a given season. The salary for the 2009-2010 season was reduced from EUR 400,000.00 to EUR 300,000.00, and this is the amount on which Claimants 1 and 3 calculated their agent fee. Whether they would have been entitled to a higher agent fee because of the Club’s Promissory Note which indicates an agent fee for the 2009-2010 season in the amount of EUR 40,000.00 can therefore be left open.
  1. Curiously, Claimants request payment of the agent fee for the 2009-2010 season to LSM and Mr. Diamantopoulos, whereas the Player Contract of 20 October 2008 and the Club’s Promissory Note list Messrs. Ramasar and Diamantopoulos as the respective agents. Although LSM is the business vehicle used by Mr. Ramasar, it is still a separate and independent legal entity which was not named as an agent in the Player Contract dated 20 October 2008. However, although in the request for relief LSM is named as one of the two intended recipients of any amounts awarded under this claim, the request was made by all three Claimants, including Mr. Ramasar. This request must therefore be understood as a payment order of Claimants in favor of Claimants 2 and 3. Since Clause 14 of the Player Contract of 20 October 2008 does not allocate any specific quota of the agent fee to Claimants 1 and 3, the agent fees are jointly and severally due, and it is then a matter for the recipients to determine the final amount to which each of the Claimants is eventually entitled. 

7.3. Are Mr. Ramasar and Mr. Diamantopoulos entitled to agent fees in the amount of 10% for each year which is guaranteed under the Player Contract of 29 September 2009?

  1. It is common ground that Respondents and Mr. Mikeladze signed a Player Contract on 29 September 2009 by which they intended to replace the Player Contract of 20 October 2008 and the Player Contract of 13 November 2008. The Arbitrator accepts that the Player Contract of 20 October 2008 was timely terminated according to Clause 5 by termination letter of 11 June 2009, i.e. 10 days after the last official game of the 2008-2009 season, which took place on 1 June 2009. 
  2. The Arbitrator also accepts that the Player Contract of 29 September 2009 was a valid agreement between Respondents 1 and 2 and that a new agent (Mr. Mikeladze) was introduced. There are no indications that the termination of the former and the signing of a new player agreement was a scheme to bypass the claims of Claimants 1 and 3. 
  3. Compared with the Player Contract of 20 October 2008, the Player Contract of 29 September 2009 provides for a lower salary for the Player for the 2009-2010 season, equal salaries for the 2010-2011 and the 2011-2012 seasons and an extension of the contract to the 2012-2013 season. The Player Contract of 29 September 2009 provides for exit options according to which Panathinaikos may terminate the contract after the 2011-2012 season and the Player may buy-out from the second year of the contract. 
    1. Clause 14 of the Player Contract of 20 October 2008 has been qualified as an agreement in favor of a third party, namely Claimants 1 and 3 (see para. 87-89 and 116). The Arbitrator has also recognized that the beneficiaries were entitled to claim the agent fees on their own behalf and not only by the intermediation of one of the contractual parties. It is undisputed that Claimants 1 and 3 are in possession of the 
    2. respective contract and were informed about their claim once the Player Contract of 20 October 2008 was signed. Claimants 1 and 3 already (successfully) claimed the agent fee for the 2008-2009 season and they also insisted on the agent fee for the following seasons by their letter of 29 June 2009.
  4. Under these circumstances, the parties to the Player Contract of 20 October 2008 can neither revoke nor cancel the obligation into which Respondent 2 had entered in favor of Claimants 1 and 3 as beneficiaries. They could not cancel this obligation by terminating the Player Contract of 20 October 2008 or by replacing this contract by a new agreement which did not provide for any payments to Claimants 1 and 3, such as the Player Contract of 13 November 2008 or the Player Contract of 29 September 2009. In fact, Respondent 2 remains bound by its promise to pay to Claimants 1 and 3 an agent fee of 10% of the Player’s base salary as long as there is an agreement between the Player and Panathinaikos. This was also specifically provided by the second sentence of Clause 14 of the Player Contract of 20 October 2008 which provides that “[t]he Club’s obligation to pay the AGENT’S shall survive any premature termination of the Agreement or any termination of the Agent’s service by the PLAYER.” 
  5. However, while Clause 14 of the Player Contract of 20 October 2008 entitles Claimants 1 and 3 to claim agent fees as long as there is an employment contract between Respondent 1 and Respondent 2, the annual salaries on which the agent fees are calculated, are subject to the specific agreement in the respective employment contract in force at the relevant time between Respondent 1 and Respondent 2. Thus, the Player Contract of 29 September 2009 determines the salary and the agent fee due for the 2009-2010 season. 
  6. This finding leads to two consequences: (1) Respondent 2 is obliged to pay the agent fee for the 2009-2010 season in the amount of EUR 30,000.00, and (2) Respondent 2 must pay an agent fee of 10% of the annual salaries paid by Panathinaikos to the Player, which will depend on the employment agreement in place between the Player and Panathinaikos. 
  7. Clause 14 of the Player Contract of 20 October 2008 does not provide for any temporal limitation of the period during which the agent fees must be paid but relies on “any future contracts between the CLUB and the PLAYER”. Claimants however request for the Arbitrator to acknowledge that the Club’s payment duty exists only “for each year which is guaranteed under the September 29, 2009 contract.” Basically, the Player Contract of 29 September 2009 is “guaranteed” until the end of the 2012-2013 season. However, it can be terminated either by Panathinaikos after the 2011-2012 season, or by the Player on or before 1 July 2011, on the basis of the buyout clause (Clause 7). Claimants are therefore entitled to agent fees until the end of the 2012-2013 season, unless the Club exercises its termination right after the 2011-2012 season, in which case the Club’s obligation to pay the agent fees to Claimants 1 and 3 shall end at the same time, or if the Player exercises the buyout option on or before 1 July 2011 in which case the agent fees will be due only until the end of the 2010-2011 season. The Arbitrator is not competent to investigate whether Claimants are also entitled to agent fees if the Player Contract of 29 September 2009 is extended or replaced by another employment agreement, as there has been no request to this effect. 
  8. Claimants 1 and 3 request that the Arbitrator shall determine that 5% of the agent fees (representing 10% of the Player’s annual base salary) payable to Messrs. Ramasar and Diamantopoulos, shall be payable “to each of them according to their agreement.” Clause 14 of the Player Contract of 20 October 2008 which serves as the legal basis 

for the Club’s duty to pay agent fees to Claimants 1 and 3 does not determine the quota of the agent fees to which each of the Claimants shall be entitled. The Arbitrator is therefore not in a position to make such a determination but can only confirm that Claimants 1 and 3 are jointly entitled to an agent fee representing 10% of the Player’s annual base salary as defined in his employment agreement with the Club.

7.4. Are Mr. Ramasar and Mr. Diamantopoulos entitled to 25% of the transfer fee in case of a buyout of the Player?

  1. Claimants do not set out the legal basis for their claim that an “agent fee equal to 25%” would be due to Claimants 1 and 3 in the event of a buyout of the Player. None of the contracts submitted provides for such a participation right of Claimants. In fact, while both the Player Contract of 20 October 2008 and the Player Contract of 29 September 2009 entitle the Player to opt out of the respective contract against payment of a buyout amount, they do not contain any wording which would entitle the agent(s) to obtain an “agent fee equal to 25%”. No further clarification is provided by the Claimants’ submissions either. They neither explain why such an agent fee should be paid nor define the amount on which the “agent fee equal to 25%” should be calculated. 
  2. The Arbitrator can therefore not acknowledge Respondent 2’s obligation to pay any additional agent fees in case of a buyout of the Player. 

7.5. Interest

7.5.1 As to the amount of EUR 84,001.18 based on the Player’s Promissory Note
  1. Claimants ask for late payment interests at a rate of EUR 16.11 per day or, in the alternative, of 5% p.a. or, as a further alternative, at the rate decided by the Arbitrator ex aequo et bono, on the amount of EUR 84,001.18 “from and after April 2009”. 
  2. The Player’s Promissory Note provides in its Clause 2 for an interest rate of 7% p.a., which the Arbitrator deems not being excessive and acceptable under the principles of ex aequo et bono. The amount due under the Player’s Promissory Note is therefore subject to default interest at a rate of 7% p.a. 
  3. Claimants ask for default interest “from and after April 2009”, i.e. since 1 April 2009. This date has not been challenged by Respondents. Furthermore, due to the Player’s failure to timely pay the monthly installments, the entire amount of EUR 86,000.00 plus interest became due and payable before April 2009 (see para. 111). Therefore, the Arbitrator finds that Respondent 1 is obliged to pay interest on the amount of EUR 

84.001.18 at the rate of 7% p.a. since 1 April 2009.

7.5.2 As to the claimed agent fees in the amount of EUR 30,000.00
  1. Claimants ask for late payment interests at a rate of 5% p.a. or, in the alternative, with the interest rate decided by the Arbitrator ex aequo et bono, on the amount of EUR 30,000.00 from 1 September 2009. 
    1. Although the Player Contract of 20 October 2008 does not explicitly provide for the obligation of the debtor to pay default interest, this is a generally accepted principle 
    2. which is embodied in most legal systems. Furthermore, according to FAT jurisprudence, default interest can be awarded even if the underlying agreement does not explicitly provide for an obligation to pay interest on overdue salaries14 and even if a player is entitled to the full compensation after making use of his right to unilaterally terminate15. The Arbitrator, deciding ex aequo et bono, considers the claimed interest rate of 5% p.a. to be fair and equitable in the present case.
  2. Claimants ask for payment of default interest from 1 September 2009. The Player Contract of 20 October 2008 does not provide for a payment date of the agent fees. The Arbitrator does not agree that the agent fee may become due before any payments for the respective season are made to the Player. The Arbitrator finds ex aequo et bono that, absent any explicit regulation in the player agreement, the maturity date of the agent fee shall be in the middle of the season, i.e. at the end of January. Accordingly, the due date of the agent fee for the 2009-2010 season was 31 January 2010 and interest starts running from the following day. 
  3. Therefore, the Arbitrator finds that Respondent 2 is obliged to pay interest on the amount of EUR 30,000.00 at the rate of 5 % p.a. since 1 February 2010. 

1See 0069/09 FAT, Ivezic, Draskicevic vs. Basketball Club Pecsi Noi Kosariabda Kft and 0056/09 FAT, Branzova vs. Basketball Club Nadezhda.

1See 0080/10 FAT, Dacic vs. Besiktas Jimnastik Kulübü and 0062/09 FAT, Harper et al. vs. Besiktas Jimnastik Kulübü and 0027/08 FAT, Dalmau, Paris vs. Ural Great Professional Basketball Club.

8. Costs

  1. Article 19.2 of the FAT Rules provides that the final amount of the costs of the arbitration shall be determined by the FAT President and may either be included in the award or communicated to the parties separately. Furthermore, article 19.3 of the FAT Rules states that the award shall grant the prevailing party a contribution towards its reasonable legal fees and expenses incurred in connection with the proceedings. 
  2. On 13 January 2011, considering that pursuant to Article 19.2 of the FAT Rules “the FAT President shall determine the final amount of the costs of the arbitration which shall include the administrative and other costs of FAT and the fees and costs of the FAT President and the Arbitrator”, and that “the fees of the Arbitrator shall be calculated on the basis of time spent at a rate to be determined by the FAT President from time to time”, taking into account all the circumstances of the case, including the time spent by the Arbitrator, the complexity of the case and the procedural questions raised, the FAT President determined the arbitration costs in the present matter at EUR 16,941.50. 
    1. In the present case, the costs shall be borne by Respondents alone in line with Article 
    2. 19.3 of the FAT Rules, as Claimants have been awarded their claims almost in their entirety and there is no indication that either the financial resources of the Parties or any other circumstance compel otherwise.
    1. Given that Claimants paid the entire Advance on Costs, the Tribunal decides that: 
      1. Respondents shall reimburse the Advance on Costs paid by Claimants, i.e. EUR 16,941.50. 
      2. Furthermore, the Arbitrator considers it adequate that Claimants are entitled to the payment of a contribution towards their legal fees and other expenses (Article 19.3. of the FAT Rules). The Arbitrator deems it appropriate to take into account the non-reimbursable fee when assessing the expenses incurred by Claimants in connection with these proceedings. Having reviewed and assessed all the circumstances of the case at hand including the contributions of the parties at the different stages of the proceedings, the Arbitrator finds it adequate to fix the contributions to the legal costs at the same amount for Claimants 1 and 2 on the one hand and Claimant 3 on the other hand. Thus, the contribution towards the legal fees and expenses of Claimants 1 and 2 is fixed at EUR 6,000.00 (contribution to the legal costs of EUR 3,000.00 plus the paid non-reimbursable handling fee of EUR 3,000.00) and the contribution towards the legal fees and expenses of Claimant 3 is fixed at EUR 4,000.00 (contribution to the legal costs of EUR 3,000.00 plus the paid nonreimbursable handling fee of EUR 1,000.00). 

9. AWARD

For the reasons set forth above, the Arbitrator decides as follows:

  1. Mr. Giorgi Shermadini is ordered to pay to Life Sports Management Inc. the amount of EUR 84,001.18 plus interest at a rate of 7% p.a. since 1 April 2009. 
  2. BC Panathinaikos is ordered to pay jointly to Life Sports Management Inc. and Mr. Elias Diamantopoulos the amount of EUR 30,000.00 plus interest at a rate of 5% since 1 February 2010. 
  3. BC Panathinaikos is obliged to pay jointly to Mr. Todd Ramasar and Mr. Elias Diamantopoulos an agent fee equal to 10% of the annual salary of Mr. Giorgi Shermadini for each year which is guaranteed under the contract between Mr. Giorgi Shermadini and BC Panathinaikos dated 29 September 2009 (i.e. starting at the 2009-2010 season until the end of the 2012-2013 season, or until the end of the 2011-2012 season if terminated according to Clause 6 of said contract, or until the end of the 2010-2011 season if terminated according to Clause 7 of said contract). 
  4. Mr. Giorgi Shermadini and BC Panathinaikos are jointly and severally ordered to pay jointly to Mr. Todd Ramasar and Life Sports Management Inc. the amount of EUR 11,291.50 and to Mr. Elias Diamantopoulos the amount of EUR 5,650.00 as a reimbursement of the advance of arbitration costs. 
  5. Mr. Giorgi Shermadini and BC Panathinaikos are jointly and severally ordered to pay jointly to Mr. Todd Ramasar and Life Sports Management Inc. the amount of EUR 6,000.00 and to Mr. Elias Diamantopoulos the amount of EUR 4,000.00 as a reimbursement of their legal fees and expenses. 
  6. Any other or further-reaching claims for relief are dismissed. 

Geneva, seat of the arbitration, 17 January 2011

Stephan Netzle (Arbitrator)

Notice about Appeals Procedure

cf. Article 17 of the FAT Rules which reads as follows:

17. Appeal

Awards of the FAT can only be appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), Lausanne, Switzerland and any such appeal must be lodged with CAS within 21 days from the communication of the award. The CAS shall decide the appeal ex aequo et bono and in accordance with the Code of Sports-related Arbitration, in particular the Special Provisions Applicable to the Appeal Arbitration Procedure.”