From the Irish Times
THE OLYMPIC Council of Ireland (OCI) is confident the latest challenge to the Irish women’s bobsleigh team’s participation in the Winter Olympics, starting in Vancouver tomorrow night, has come too late.
In a complicated legal challenge, the Brazilian team yesterday appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) to give them a place in the event, citing conflicts in the way the Irish team had qualified.
This followed an Australian challenge, finally resolved on Tuesday night, when Cas ruled that both Ireland and Australia could compete – the only compromise acceptable to both national Olympic Committees. The Australians became the 21st team to qualify. On hearing this, Brazil submited their appeal, even though they had failed when they made the same case to the International Bobsleigh and Tobogganing Federation (FIBT).
Cas will hear this case today, with the Brazilians arguing that they adhered to the qualifying criteria, while Irish team only completed part of their qualification late on in World Cup events.However, following the Cas ruling on Tuesday, it would be highly unlikely the Irish team will be ejected.
If Cas gives the Brazilians a place ahead of the Irish, they’ll be overriding their own ruling. Clearly the issue throughout has been the wording of the qualification rules.
Aoife Hoey, the bobsleigh pilot, will carry the Irish flag in tomorrow night’s opening ceremony.