ECA decision on the Lemme/Ullrich case
On 30 July 2009, Frank Lemme and Bernd Ullrich were suspended by the EHF Arbitration Tribunal, the arbitration and disciplinary body of the EHF, from their EHF referee functions for a period of five years.
Frank Lemme and Bernd Ullrich were sanctioned by the EHF legal body for serious misconduct damaging the image of handball. The EHF referees failed to report the following incidents at the 2005/2006 Men’s Cup Winner’s Cup Final between Chekhovskie Medvedi and Balonamano Pevafersa Valladolid on 29.04.2006 in Chekhov:
Frank Lemme was offered money before the match to “fix” the result,
Bernd Ullrich was arrested with $50,000 in his hand luggage at the custom control of the Moscow international airport after the match.
The incidents were reported by the media in March 2009 and Frank Lemme and Bernd Ullrich confirmed them. However they denied having accepted any money.
The EHF requested video analysis of the game from a refereeing expert who dismissed any influence by the referees on the game.
EHF Court of Arbitration decision
In August 2009, Frank Lemme and Bernd Ullrich filed a claim against the decision of the EHF Arbitration Tribunal to the EHF Court of Arbitration (ECA).
The ECA, an independent arbitration court set-up to offer an alternative to civil proceedings in case of disputes over the decisions of the EHF legal body, has reviewed the case.
The ECA panel decided by majority of its members (2:1) to uphold the claim of Frank Lemme and Bernd Ullrich and set aside the decision of the EHF Arbitration Tribunal on procedural grounds.
The panel found that the misconduct of the former referees (failing to report serious incidents) was time-barred according to the EHF Arbitration Regulations. Proceedings against the former referees could not have been started more than two years after the incidents took place.
The other arguments of the parties and other aspects of the case were not examined further. The ECA decision is binding for all parties.
The EHF takes note of the decision of the EHF Court of Arbitration, an independent and external arbitration court, and draws special attention to the fact that the decision after a 10-month period refers to procedural circumstances without taking reference to the content of the case.
The EHF also points out that the 2009 EHF Congress in Limassol adopted the Anti-corruption and Fair Competition Act, which forsees longer periods of limitation for cases with crucial impact on handball sport.