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Rio 2016 - Murdoch confirms that he won't Appeal tight selection call

by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World.com NZL on 12 May 2016
Andrew Murdoch pictured ahead of the 2016 Finn Europeans SW
Double Olympian Andrew Murdoch has confirmed that he will not Appeal the decision of the Yachting New Zealand selectors who gave the nod for Rio 2016 to Josh Junior, who will be on his first Olympic regatta.

Back in November, Murdoch tied on points for the Bronze medal in the 2015 Finn Gold Cup, while Josh Junior placed 14th. The pair were one place apart in the 2014 event. However, Junior placed fourth in the 2016 Europeans in Barcelona, while Murdoch was 19th. Junior's run of form has continued throughout 2016, and his selection was not unexpected.

'I don't think I would get a result in my favour out of the back end of it,' Murdoch told Radio Sport. ït would also hinder Josh's preparation as well.'

'We are under 90 days to when Rio starts. I don't think an Appeal would do anyone any good.'

The Finn and Laser selections while both close are quite different from the Womens Singlehander and Windsurfer decisions where the call was not to send any competitors at all, despite New Zealand having made the cut in the first round of Olympic Qualification back in September 2014.


This is the second time that Murdoch has run a very close second in an Olympic selection. He missed out in 2004, taking the decision to Appeal. He then represented New Zealand in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics in the Men's Singlehander (Laser), finishing a very creditable fifth in each, before switching to the Finn this Olympic cycle, where he has been very successful.

In 2004, three crews appealed selection decisions of Yachting New Zealand to the newly established Sports Tribunal.

Murdoch appealed his nonselection in the Men's Singlehander (Laser), Jan Shearer and Melinda Henshaw appealed their non-selection in the Womens Doublehander (470), and 2002 World Champion in the Mens Doublehander, Simon Cooke and crew Alistair Gair appealed their non-selection in the Mens Doublehander (470).

The Sports Tribunal, containing two QC's, upheld Murdoch and Cooke/Gair's Appeals, overturning the decision of the Yachting New Zealand Olympic Selectors.

Yachting New Zealand then appealed the Sports Disputes Tribunal decisions to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which found that the Sports Disputes Tribunal had 'trespassed into the forbidden field of reviewing the decisions of the Panel on the merits...'


In other words, the Sports Disputes Tribunal could not stand in the shoes of the selectors and review the merits or otherwise of the Olympic aspirants, but must confine itself as to whether the selection process had followed the prescribed selection criteria.

The Hearings came at a cost. Yachting New Zealand replaced its lawyers in the SDT Hearing, hiring one of NZ's top barristers, the late Richard Craddock QC, to argue its casein masterful fashion before a very distinguished CAS Panel. The costs that Yachting New Zealand claimed amounted to just over $62,000, including Senior Counsel's fee of $40,000. The Court awarded YNZ a total $10,000 costs against the two crews, the burden to be split equally.

However after several months Yachting New Zealand dropped this claim completely. At the Annual Meeting following the Hearings a remit moved by Andrew Murdoch's club was passed by the Meeting, saying that in future the parties should carry their own costs.

For its part, Yachting New Zealand changed the selection criteria for successive Olympiads to be more subjective than objective.

The two sailors who have indicated they will Appeal will be the first since 2004. However, the current appeals are about the non-selection of any competitor in the two Olympic-qualified classes rather than the selector's preference of one competitor over another, as was the case in 2004.


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