The appeal to the Olympic Council of Ireland’s Appeal Tribunal by Catriona Cuddihy against the decision of an Athletics Ireland Appeal Panel (AIAP) to de-select her from the Women’s 4 x 400m relay team for the Olympic Games has been successful.
The OCI’s Appeal Tribunal held an in person hearing on Thursday night last, July 19 in Dublin city centre and heard submission from legal representatives of Ms Cuddihy, Athletics Ireland and Joanna Mills.
Ms Mills prior appeal to Athletics Ireland against her non-selection for the relay team had been upheld and it was this against this decision which Ms Cuddihy appealed.
The OCI Appeal Tribunal was chaired by Susan Ahern (Executive Member) along with William O’Brien (first Vice-President) and Dermot Sherlock (Hon.
The Appeal Tribunal found that process for the original selection by the AI High Performance Relay Selectors had been carried out in a fair and proportionate manner. The AIAP in reaching its decision differed with the interpretation of the Selectors in the application of two of the eight selection criteria for the Women’s relay team on the grounds that their application had been too narrowly applied.
The Tribunal in reviewing the selection criteria and the AIAP decision found that it did not agree with the AIAP conclusions.
The Tribunal found that the Selectors did follow and apply the selection policy outlined in the Relay Programme and did so with diligence and acumen.
This Tribunal finds that the AIAP did not properly construe Selection Factor No.1 [overall relay experience] and by imposing the interpretation it did, the AIAP itself applied a narrow interpretation which was not contemplated under the Selection Factors.
The Tribunal further finds in relation to Selection Factor No.2 [overall experience in major championships (individual and relay)] while a broader interpretation could have been applied to the scope of this criteria, namely to include pre-2011 major championship experience including at junior level, that the additional weighting accorded by the AIAP to the experience of Ms Mills in this regard was disproportionate when the totality of the components within Selection Factor No.2 and the weighting accorded to the other athletes based upon their major championship experience and contribution to the relay team were considered.
Based on these findings the Tribunal upheld the appeal of Catriona Cuddihy, and her original nomination to the OCI as an athlete on the Women’s 4 x 400m relay is reinstated.
Nothing in the decision prevents recourse by the parties to the Court of Arbitration for Sport(CAS).
The decision of the Appeal Tribunal can be found on the attached document.