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Australian Bobsleigh let in – Court recommends Irish compete as 21st team

February 9th, 2010 · 2 Comments · Sport

Olympic Council CEO Stephen Martin with Aoife Hoey (centre) Claire Bergin (left) and Leona Byrne (right – alternate brakewoman)  at the launch of the OCI bob in Igles last year.

The Australian Olympic Committee have won their appeal against the Bobsleigh and Tobogganing Federation and their women’s bobsleigh team are allowed compete in the Winter Olympics.

The Court of Arbitration has recommended that the Irish are permitted to compete as a 21st team.  No word yet from the International Olympic Committee if this will be permitted. If there is any word from Pat Hickey I’ll update the post.

Vancouver, 9 February 2010 – The ad hoc Division of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has upheld the application filed by the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) which claimed that the International Bobsleigh & Tobogganing Federation (FIBT) did not apply its qualification system for
the Olympic Winter Games 2010 properly. The AOC argued that the FIBT qualification system provided for the qualification of NOCs of non-represented continents with a maximum of one men’s bob team and one women’s bob team per continent, subject to minimal performance requirements.

The FIBT contended that continental representation was applicable only in case a NOC does not take up a place it earned according to the FIBT Ranking. The Irish Olympic Council, which was heard as an interested party considering that the Irish team was the last team qualified on the basis of the performance criteria, contended that the continental representation rule was applicable to either the men’s or the women’s bobsleigh event and that it should take place only at the stage of the reallocation of unused quota position.

A CAS Panel composed of Prof. Michael Geistlinger, (Austria), President, Mr Henri Alvarez QC (Canada) and Prof. Ulrich Haas (Germany) heard the representatives of each party and interested party, either by video conference, telephone conference or in person on the afternoon of 8 February

The CAS Panel found that the clear wording of the qualification system implemented by the FIBT reflected the intention of representation by one men’s bob team and one women’s bob team from non-represented continents and could not be interpreted otherwise than as formulated. Accordingly,
the application of the AOC was granted and the FIBT was ordered to allocate a continental representation quota place to the AOC for participation of the pilot Astrid Loch-Wilkinson in the 2- man Women’s Bob Event in the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.

Nevertheless, considering the situation of the Irish athletes, who expected legitimately to be entitled to participate in the Olympic Winter Games 2010 after their entry had been validated by the FIBT and the IOC, the CAS Panel has recommended to the IOC and VANOC the inclusion of a 21st team in the women’s bobsleigh event which is scheduled for 23 February 2010.

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