Aaron Cook left the GB Taekwondo Academy program last year and
decided to go it alone. He claims that this decision led to him
being refused a place in the British Olympic team in the under 80kg
berth, in favour of world No 59 Lutalo Muhammad, despite Aaron
being recently crowned European champion and a leading athlete in
Aaron decided against challenging the British Olympic
Association's decision in the High Court, stating that the
court was "[expensive], time-consuming and does not have the
experience or expertise in dealing with sports-related
disputes". Instead, Aaron proposed to have his appeal heard
before the Court of Arbitration for Sport, arguing that as an
internationally renowned sports tribunal that often deals with
urgent disputes, it was the appropriate forum.
The BOA took a different view. It refused to go before the CAS
because it said that the CAS only had jurisdiction over athletes
that had already been nominated for the Olympic Games. Aaron
expressed his disappointment, stating that "The BOA may not
agree with [my] case, but it has a legal and moral obligation to
find an appropriate, fair and transparent resolution for
Whilst the decision has now been reviewed and supported by the
World Taekwondo Federation, which wanted the controversy ended
before the Games, Aaron never did manage to appeal the BOA
The CAS is coming to London for the 2012 Olympic Games to
alleviate such financial pressures and to provide a forum for the
quick resolution of disputes of that nature. The CAS has had a
presence at every Summer and Winter Olympic Games since the Atlanta
Games in 1996. The ad hoc service will be presided over by Judge
Torruella of Puerto Rico and Gunnar Werner from Sweden, with 12
other arbitrators from the CAS list being present.
The CAS, working with Sports Resolutions UK, has launched the
London 2012 Pro Bono Legal Service, which provides free advice and
representation to all participants in the Games, including amongst
others all accredited athletes, coaches and team officials.
The service is available from 9 July until 12 September 2012 and
provides advice in the fields of sport, crime, defamation and
privacy, immigration, discrimination and personal injury. The
disputes will be governed by new CAS arbitration rules prepared for
the Games. Participants simply need to fill out an application form
that can be found on the Sports Resolutions website. If in doubt,
Sports Resolutions are providing a 24 hour helpline offering advice
and assistance in making that application.
Charles Russell is a member of the panel of law firms providing
pro bono advice on sports law and defamation and privacy during the
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