Italian lawyer Auletta to lead Court of Arbitration for Sport

GENEVA -- Italian lawyer Mino Auletta was elected president of the Court of Arbitration for Sport on Thursday, defeating former World Anti-Doping Agency chief Dick Pound.

Auletta, who has been acting president of CAS, said by telephone from Monaco that he received a majority of the votes at a meeting of the 19 members of the court's governing body. At least 10 votes were needed to win.

Auletta, who will oversee the appointment of arbitrators for the sports world's top appeals body, also defeated Swiss lawyer Robert Briner and Sweden's Gunnar Werner to get the job.

The result was not immediately announced by CAS, but was confirmed by other members of the board at the meeting.

Auletta has been acting president since the death of Senegalese judge Keba Mbaye last year. He will now fill the role until the end of Mbaye's term in 2010, after which CAS will elect a president for a full four-year term.

Pound, a Canadian lawyer and senior member of the International Olympic Committee, drew fire recently for his outspoken style. The International Cycling Union announced last month that it is suing Pound over comments he made about doping in the sport.

Pound said he will focus on his role as a senior member of the IOC and of WADA's foundation board. He also will remain on the governing board of the CAS.

"I have never had any trouble filling my time," Pound said in a telephone interview. "There are a ton of things going on and a ton of issues needing to be resolved."

Pound said he would consider running again for the CAS presidency in 2010, if nominated.

"The main thing is to make sure that the greater sports community regards CAS as a place where they can have confidence that sports-related disputes will be resolved quickly, expertly and inexpensively," he said.

Among the most high-profile disputes on CAS's agenda is the appeal of double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius of South Africa, scheduled for April 29-30.

Pistorius is seeking to overturn a ruling by the International Association of Athletics Federations that makes him ineligible to compete at the Beijing Olympics or any other able-bodied competition. The IAAF says his prosthetic racing limbs give him a clear competitive advantage.

Next month, CAS will hear the case of Olympic 100-meter champion Justin Gatlin, who is appealing a four-year doping ban. That hearing will be held May 28-29 in New York.

The CAS president has oversight of the nearly 300 arbitrators who rule on about 200 disputes every year. The CAS presidency had been vacant since the death of the 82-year-old Mbaye, who had been the body's only president since its creation in 1984.