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America's Cup- ISAF refuses to uphold de Ridder Appeal over exclusion

by Richard Gladwell on 15 Sep 2013
Oracle Team USA after rounding Mark 2 of race 6, Kyle Langford (AUS) had to step into de Ridder’s place after his exclusion from the 34th America’s Cup, just four days before the start of the regatta. © Richard Gladwell www.richardgladwell.com

The International Sailing Federation's Review Board, has not upheld an Appeal by Oracle Team USA wing trimmer Dirk de Ridder over his exclusion from the 34th America's Cup.


In an earlier version of this story Sail-World incorrectly identified Matt Mason as being involved, when it should have been Matt Michell. The error has now been corrected. Sail-World wishes to make it absolutely clear that Matt Mason was not involved in this incident, and makes the sincerest apologies for any reference to Matt Mason.

Earlier de Ridder was one of five Oracle Team USA people named in a decision handed down four days before the start of the 34th America's Cup over measurement tampering during the last four events of the America's Cup World Series.

The investigation by the International Jury lasted almost six weeks. Three of the Oracle Team USA crew received suspensions from the event for their part in the affair, including Matt Mitchell (NZL) who was suspended from sailing for four days. A member of the shore crew, Andrew Walker (NZL) was excluded for the remainder of the America's Cup Regatta. Dirk de Ridder (NED) wingsail trimmer was also excluded for the remainder of the America's Cup Regatta.

In its Decision the five person Review Board, who met under urgency stated:

The Review Board does not consider that Mr de Ridder’s Competition Eligibility and/or ISAF Eligibility have been suspended (see definition of 'eligibility' in Article 79.1 of the ISAF Constitution and the definitions of those terms in ISAF Regulation 19). Exclusion from the event under RRSAC 69 is not a suspension of Competition Eligibility or ISAF Eligibility.

Only an ISAF Member National Authority or ISAF itself (acting through the Disciplinary Commission) may suspend eligibility and neither body has done so at this stage.

With respect to the decision of the International Jury under RRSAC 69, the Review Board notes the decision of the International Jury is 'final and binding' as per Article 15.13 of the Protocol governing the 34th America’s Cup.

Consequently the jurisdiction of the Review Board is not engaged at this time and it has no authority to grant the relief Mr de Ridder seeks. If Mr de Ridder’s Competition Eligibility and/or ISAF Eligibility are suspended at a later date by his Member National Authority or the ISAF Disciplinary Commission, then the right of appeal to this Board will arise.


The full Decision can be read by clicking here

In summary, the Review Board upheld the authority of the International Jury to suspend sailors from the America's Cup Regatta. The suspensions do not constitute a suspension from the sport, for which the International Jury does not the authority.

That can only be done by the individual sailor's National Authority in the case of Walker and Mitchell, Yachting New Zealand and in the case of de Ridder, the Dutch National Authority (Koninklijk Nederlands Watersport Verbond). Both national bodies will consider the Report received from the International Jury before making a decision as to whether further action will be taken against the three. If they do decide to recommend to ISAF that they be suspended from the sport for a period, that decision gets passed onto the the International Sailing Federation who can uphold the decision, decline it, or modify. Ultimately it is only the International body that can make a decisions to suspend a sailor from the sport - not a Protest Committee or Jury, or a National Authority.

Four sailors are currently under suspension ranging from a few days to five years.

In addition to the $250,000 penalty levied against Oracle Team USA by the International Jury, the team has been charged $30,000 in Jury costs. Emirates Team NZ has also been charged $5,000 for Jury costs over an unrelated measurement application to the International Jury which was not upheld.

PS: This story earlier
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