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24 May 2013
EventingSA: The new face of eventing in South Africa
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You might have been wondering about what has been happening with the imminent change in our equestrian structures that have been put upon us by government sport requirements.
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View: News Item: Crisis for South African Eventing Olympic AspirationsPosted: 24 July 2012 at 10:16
South African Olympic Eventing Dreams have been shattered by a crisis that has risen to the fore over the last 24 hours.
South Africa has one place for an event rider at the 2012 London Olympics. Two riders, Paul Hart and Alexander Peternell, were qualified for the place, and Paul Hart was put forward to SASCOC. Alexander Peternell, who is qualified, and is ranked higher on the FEI international rankings, appealed the selection. The end point of the appeal process was the Council for Arbitration in Sport (CAS), an international council which arbitrates over such disputes. The CAS upheld the appeal, and ruled that Alexander Peternell should have been selected.
The South African Equestrian Federation, who is responsible for the selection of Paul Hart, has refused to select Alexander Peternell in his place, and so no South African rider will be put forward by SASCOC for the 2012 London Olympics.
This is a sorry state of affairs for South African Eventing.
Attached, please find salient information regarding this crisis. There is a lot of false information and judgemental information available on the internet. All people with an interest in South African Eventing are urged to read the attached judgement, and keep an open and objective mind.
SASCOC Press Release
Statement on CAS equestrian ruling
July 22nd, 2012
SASCOC Chief Executive Officer Mr Tubby Reddy on Sunday moved swiftly to act on the equestrian selection issue in Team South Africa’s 2012 Olympic Games team.
Two riders – South African based Paul Hart and Alex Peternell who is based in England – were both competing for the one eventing spot allocated to South Africa.
Hart’s name was submitted to Olympic governing body SASCOC as the nominee for that spot by the SA Equestrian Federation.
Peternell however disputed that selection and took the matter to the Council of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) which ruled that he had fulfilled SAEF’s selection criteria.
Reddy said on Sunday: “SASCOC followed due process in terms of selection procedure and were guided by the equestrian code’s submission, however in view of the CAS ruling, the equestrian federation’s submission to SASCOC and SASCOC’s subsequent ruling of 2 June 2012 was also set aside. CAS ruled that Peternell had fulfilled the selection criteria.
“In light of the above, I have written to the equestrian federation asking them to let us have their nomination in terms of our articles and requirements and await their submission.”
“Once we receive that recommendation only then will I be able to consult with the SASCOC Board at the earliest opportunity and we will take the matter forward from there.”
Press Release from SAEF
South African Olympics Team
We refer to the decision made by the Court if Arbitration for Sport (CAS) which overturned the SAEF’s (South African Equestrian Federation) nomination and SASCOC”s previous selection of Mr Paul Hart on the basis that Mr Alexander Peternell had satisfied the relevant selection criteria of the SAEF, (in terms of the FEI Regulations).
The SAEF stands by the South African Equestrian Association and its eventing selectors in its decision to select Mr Paul Hart and have advised SASCOC that we are unable to nominate a candidate for selection. The SAEF has reviewed the selection process and is satisfied that it met the requirements for the selection of Mr Hart as the preferred candidate.
SASCOC have advised the SAEF that they are therefore unable to comply with the Memorandum of Association which stipulates selection on recommendation from the National Federation for an athlete to compete in the Olympic Games.
Furthermore, SASCOC have advised the SAEF that South Africa will not be presenting a candidate for the Eventing Competition at the London Olympics.
President: South African Equestrian Federation
Statement by Alexander Peternell
As some of you will know, I have been in the process of appealing against the decision not to select me for the London 2012 Olympics. The selection criteria set by the Selectors was completely clear and objective - the highest FEI ranked rider who qualified would be offered the place.
I am the highest ranked qualified rider at 164 with 76 points. Paul Hart was selected in my place, ranked 442 with 5 points. I did not understand why I had not been chosen. After a lengthy internal appeal process, I made the difficult decision to take my case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. I felt appealing was the right thing to do, given there was evidence the correct process had not been followed for the selection and also given the clear criteria under which I should have been the selected rider.
My appeal was upheld and the court set aside the selection decision to choose Paul Hart. In court, the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) admitted I had been misled as to the process, sometimes deliberately so. The effect of the decision is that SASCOC must now decide whether to select me. The court held that I am the only rider SASCOC can select, as I am the only one who fits the criteria. I am desperately hoping they will confirm a selection decision very soon.
I have every sympathy for the position of Paul Hart and his connections. I know only too well the heartache of being told you are not going to the Olympics when you had fully expected to be there. This appeal was never about the riders involved, but about ensuring the correct processes are followed and that no one has to go through the devastation I have been through. From being encouraged over a long period by the authorise involved to believe I would be going as the highest ranked rider, to being told
completely out of the blue and with no reasons, that this was not the case. It is the actions of the authorities involved in the decision making process that have left both Paul and myself in this terrible position so late in the day, and my heart really does go out to him and all his supporters. But as hard as it may be on others, I must look to protect my own position in this, and that of my fully deserving horse and extremely supportive owners and team.
We are all hoping that SASCOC will now move to confirm the decision that will enable me to compete otherwise, heaven forbid, there will be no South African eventer at the Olympics.
SASCOC update on Games equestrian selection
July 23rd, 2012
South Africa’s Olympic governing body SASCOC await the SA Equestrian Federation’s final decision on the selection issues over the allocated eventing spot at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
Two eventers – Alex Peternell and Paul Hart – met the qualifying standards. But the Federation submitted Hart’s name as the nominated competitor.
Peternell then took the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) who ruled that he was the better qualified individual with eligibility for selection.
SASCOC then referred the matter back to the Federation to review their nomination as per CAS decision of Saturday, 21 July 2012.
“The Federation maintain that in their opinion Paul Hart is the correct choice and therefore have not seen their way clear to submit a nomination for Alex Peternell,” said SASCOC Chief Exeutive Officer Tubby Reddy on Monday night.
‘Given this scenario and in keeping with Article 6.3.3 from SASCOC’s Articles of Association, the SASCOC Board has decided that we will not utilise the one slot available to the eventing discipline at the Olympic Games. The Board therefore maintains that the sport of Equestrian will not have any representation at the Olympic Games.’
“The Board is fully aware that A Peternell may go back to CAS for an urgent hearing and we are prepared to defend our case, while noting that CAS’s ruling on the new appeal may have to be adhered to by ourselves.”
Statement from the South African Equestrian Association – Administrative Body of Eventing
25 July 2012
The SAEA, as a constituent member of SASCOC through the South African Equestrian Federation is bound by their rules and protocols and therefore has not been in a position to make a statement regarding the Eventing issue until SASCOC made their final ruling on the matter.
South Africa did not qualify an Eventing team, and was only afforded one slot for an Eventing Individual for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
The selection process for the Eventing athlete was initially carried out in accordance with the criteria as interpreted by the National Eventing Committee and its selectors and within the time frame as set out by SASCOC – with the deadline being 30th April 2012 and meeting the deadline for final submission to SASCOC by the 28th May 2012.
The previous month Alex Peternell declared to the National Eventing Committee that his horse AP Uprising was “unfit to compete at the Olympics” and consequently Paul Hart was put forward by the selectors to the SAEF as the athlete to represent South Africa at the Games.
The SAEF in turn submitted Hart as their selected athlete to SASCOC. From that point on the selected athlete has been under the jurisdiction of SASCOC as part of Team South Africa.
Peternell was informed of the selection on the 24th May, but was encouraged to pursue qualification on his new horse so that, in the event of any mishap befalling Hart or his horse, South Africa would still have an alternative athlete.
Subsequently Peternell qualified his new horse ASIH on the 10th June, within the time frame allowed by the FEI but past the 30th April deadline set by SASCOC.
After an objection by Peternell, and on request from SASCOC the SAEA National Eventing Committee asked its selectors to re-considered their selection, taking the new qualification into account. Their decision stood that Heartbreak Hill and Paul Hart were a more experienced combination than Alexander Peternell on his new ride ASIH and had obtained better results. It was also determined that Peternell was ineligible by not meeting one of the three general criteria stipulated for Federations by SASCOC; to compete in the International Championships, to compete in the World Championships, or to officially represent South Africa through the selection process as defined by SASCOC. This was conveyed to SASCOC via the SAEF.
Peternell then submitted an appeal against the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The matter was heard on Friday 20th July and a ruling was handed down on Saturday 21st July. His appeal was upheld and SASCOC referred the matter back to the National Eventing Committee and its selectors on the 23rd.
The National Eventing Committee and its selectors, taking everything into account, still stand by their original selection.
SAEA respects the fact that, as we fall under the jurisdiction of SASCOC we support its decision not to send an equestrian athlete at all. However this is a tragic outcome for Equestrian sport in South Africa.
For more information please contact 083 680 9605
Statement from Paul Hart
25 July 2012
Until now, a slight chance existed that SASCOC would again offer me the privilege of representing South Africa at the Olympic Games. This was contingent upon Alex Peternell withdrawing his appeal against my selection. Unfortunately not only did Alex elect not to do so but also pursued a further appeal in the CAS against SASCOC electing not to have a South African rider compete in the eventing discipline. We have just been notified that this appeal was also successful and that SASCOC must abide by this decision. As such, Alex will be representing South Africa at the Games.
It is at this juncture that I must express my incredible sadness and disappointment at both the outcome of these proceedings and the means used to achieve it. I sincerely believe that my selection for the Games was completely justified as Harry and I are the highest qualified combination.
The Olympic Games are an event that symbolise far more than competition between sportsmen. They are a symbol of hope, integrity and togetherness; a celebration of national pride. My representing South Africa, on a locally-bred horse would have paved the way for other riders to do the same and would have provided invaluable learning opportunities for me to share upon my return. The controversy surrounding my selection has cast a shadow over South Africa's perceived ability to contribute to the sport on an international level which will have long-term negative repercussions on the development of the sport.
My road to the Olympics came at immense personal cost to me: I was forced to forgo other opportunities, lost valued sponsorships and a substantial part of my income due to the necessary prolonged stays overseas. Nevertheless, I believed that the privilege of being selected to represent my country outstripped the risks and the negative repercussions of doing so. The capital outlay required for qualification and competition at the Games in the eventing discipline is monumental. Being denied the chance to compete at such short notice, and on what I sincerely believe to be wholly unjustified grounds as well as having to bear the costs associated with two CAS appeals will have grave financial ramifications for both myself and my sponsors.
While I cannot express my gratitude for the outpouring of support I have received with hundreds of posts, letters of support and other contributions to various fora, it fills me with grief knowing that South Africa's interests will not be represented at the Games. I sincerely apologise to everyone who might be disappointed by the outcome of these proceedings: to my mentors, pupils, sponsors, fellow equestrians, friends, family and supporters. Although I have done everything in my power to realise my dream, it was suddenly and summarily rendered impossible for me to do so.
Despite the tragic circumstances that prevent me from competing in the upcoming games, I urge aspirant riders to pursue their Olympic dreams in the future. To this end, I urge the South African Equestrian Community to ensure accountability and transparency on the part of duty-bearers responsible for the selection of athletes to prevent future candidates from experiencing the turmoil to which I have been subjected. Mr Peternell got through a loophole in our Federations selection criteria which he and his legal team exploited shamelessly.
Documents Attached to: Crisis for South African Eventing Olympic Aspirations
|CAS Ruling: Alexander Peternell v SASCOC and SAEF||122.27kb|