British Gymnastics decision not to nominate a rhythmic gymnastics group for London 2012 has been overturned by an independent arbitrator.
Sports Resolutions UK, an independent body established to adjudicate sporting disputes, has upheld the appeal made by the rhythmic gymnastics group for a host country nomination to the London 2012 Olympic games.
In announcing a decision, sports arbitrator Graeme Mews has determined the result of the appeal on eighty-three separate points, which included the following,
“I am not persuaded either that the appellants and their coaches must have known that selection would be based only on the qualification stage because only that stage would replicate the pressures of Olympic qualification competition (the Olympic qualification of other teams participating was dependent only on the first two days of competition). The GB Group, however, was in a different position. They were not competing with the other teams for a place. Rather, they were competing against the benchmark”.
As a result, British Gymnastics will now nominate a rhythmic group to the British Olympic Association (BOA) who in turn are expected to accept the host country position offered under the rules of the international gymnastics federation (FIG).
In response to the arbitrator’s decision, handed down following the appeal hearing on Wednesday 29th February, Chief Executive Officer of British Gymnastics, Jane Allen, made the following statement,
“British Gymnastics respects the rights of its athletes to appeal selection procedure. We were confident that we had put in place a transparent, fair and equitable selection policy and associated qualifying score to allow a rhythmic group to self-determine their nomination to the BOA and subsequent participation in the London 2012 Olympic games.
The selection policy and its associated procedures have been thoroughly examined by an independent arbitrator and we accept his ruling”.
It is worth noting that in his concluding notes, the arbitrator, “was left in no doubt at all that BG has at all times endeavoured to maintain the integrity of the sport and to act in the best interests of its athletes and coaches. BG’s decision not to nominate the GB Group was doubtless a hard one to make, but it was a decision made in good faith and in the belief that it was correct”.
British Gymnastics will now work with the BOA to take the necessary steps to secure a host country place for Great Britain in the rhythmic gymnastics group competition at London 2012.
This will include finalising the selection and composition of the group bestowed with the responsibility of representing Great Britain and ensuring that they are fully supported in the final stages of their preparation for the Games.
The rhythmic gymnastics group competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games, will take place at Wembley Arena from 10 - 12 August 2012.