Dominican Republic to Appeal Olympic Qualifying Case to CAS

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Yvonne Losos de Muñiz riding Liebling II in her quest to qualify for the London Olympics. © 2012 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

The Dominican Republic filed an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport Friday against the FEI Tribunal’s decision rejecting its protest over individual Olympic selection procedures that led to Brazil being the top ranked nation in Central and South America and thus compete at the Games in London.

A joint appeal to the independent court was filed by the Dominican Republic federation and Yvonne Losos de Muñiz, the rider who placed second in the rankings. (click here for the report on the FEI Tribunal decision.)

Dressage competition at the Olympics begins in London Aug. 2, less than three months away.

Central to the issue is that Brazil’s Luíza Tavares de Almeida became the top ranked individual in Latin America by accumulating points in shows in Brazil, the majority of which had ground juries made up of three Brazilian judges and two foreign judges in the Olympic qualifying year to Mar. 1, 2012.

The FEI, the International Equestrian Federation, approved the “exceptions” to the rule requiring three foreign judges based on a 2010 memo designed to ease qualifying procedures for non-European nations at the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky. Although the memo specified the “exception” was for 2010, the FEI extended it through 2011 and 2012.

The three-member FEI Tribunal panel rejected the Dominican Republic protest and ruled in favor of Brazil and the FEI.

In a statement issued Friday, the Equestrian Federation of the Dominican Republic said it “has exercised its right to appeal the FEI Tribunal´s decision with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

“After careful review of the FEI Tribunal decision by our legal counsel, the DOM NF and Yvonne Losos de Muñiz have filed a joint appeal today at CAS headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland.

“The DOM NF entirely disagrees with the decision issued by the FEI Tribunal, and understands it is in the obligation to continue with the process at CAS not only to protect the interests of its rider Yvonne Losos de Muñiz, but also to defend the ideals of fairness and rule compliance in equestrian sport, as well as the position of other small nations that might find themselves in a similar situation in the future.”