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Court of Arbitration for Sport dismisses appeal from Horse Sport Ireland and Cian O'Connor

Monday, 04 January 2016

Cian O'Connor and Irish Chef d'Equipe Robert Splaine. Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.
Cian O'Connor and Irish Chef d'Equipe Robert Splaine. Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.

Horse Sport Ireland has by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) been informed that the appeal they lodged together with Cian O'Connor in relation to an Olympic team place in Rio, has been dismissed. At this stage CAS has only issued the preliminary judgement without providing the reasoning for the decision. It is expected that the full reasoned judgement will follow in a few weeks.

In their media release CAS writes:

"The appeal filed on 11 September 2015 by Horse Sport Ireland and Cian O’Connor against the decision rendered by the FEI Appeal Committee on 22 August 2015 is dismissed and the FEI decision is confirmed. 

The arbitration concerned a protest lodged by Horse Sport Ireland and Cian O’Connor following an incident during the team final at the FEI European Jumping Championships held in Aachen, Germany in August 2015, which counted as final qualifying event for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. The incident involved a member of the ground staff during O’Connor’s round. The FEI Appeal Committee’s decision of 22 August 2015 confirmed an earlier decision taken by the Ground Jury at the Aachen championships in which the protest lodged by the Irish team was dismissed and a ruling was given that the results obtained on the course that day would stand."

Horse Sport Ireland CEO Damian McDonald said that they are very disappointed with the outcome. "We felt that we had made a strong case and we are very disappointed with the outcome. We will await the full reasoned judgement before making any further comment on the outcome."

Also Cian O'Connor expressed his disappointment via his Facebook page: "Court Of Arbitration for Sport have upheld the decision of the FEI appeal committee from Aachen which means Team Ireland do not get a place for the Rio Olympics. I have no regrets. I tried everything possible and left no stone unturned in trying to seek fairness for what I feel was an unsporting decision made by the ground jury in Aachen. It’s time to move on and refocus on the sport rather than getting caught up further in bureaucracy and even more angry with officialdom. Team Ireland are first reserve because of the good performance at WEG in 2014 so there is always a chance that we will get there yet - so best to keep aiming for it I guess!! Another interesting chapter for my book when I get round to it and I look forward to telling the no- holds- barred version!!!"

Source: Press release from Horse Sport Ireland as well as Court of Arbitration for Sport // Picture © Jenny Abrahamsson

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