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Statement on CAS equestrian ruling

SASCOC Chief Executive Officer Mr Tubby Reddy on Sunday moved swiftly to act on the equestrian selection issue in Team South Africa’s 2012 Olympic Games team.

Two riders South African based Paul Hart and Alex Peternell who is based in England  were both competing for the one eventing spot allocated to South Africa.

Hart’s name was submitted to Olympic governing body SASCOC as the nominee for that spot by the SA Equestrian Federation.

Peternell however disputed that selection and took the matter to the Council of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) which ruled that he had fulfilled SAEFs selection criteria.

Reddy said on Sunday: “SASCOC followed due process in terms of selection procedure and were guided by the equestrian code’s submission, however in view of the CAS ruling, the equestrian federation’s submission to SASCOC and SASCOCs subsequent ruling of 2 June 2012 was also set aside. CAS ruled that Peternell had fulfilled the selection criteria.

“In light of the above, I have written to the equestrian federation asking them to let us have their nomination in terms of our articles and requirements and await their submission.”

“Once we receive that recommendation only then will I be able to consult with the SASCOC Board at the earliest opportunity and we will take the matter forward from there.”

 


105 comments
Jain McGuigan
Jain McGuigan

After the devastating disappointment he has suffered over the Olympic Games (#hoofgate) debacle, family and friends of Paul Hart are raising money to help send Paul Heartbreak Hill (aka Harry) to the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials in August this year. If you would like to contribute, please visit paulhart.chocolateshoebox.za.n­et. Any donations no matter how big or small are welcome.

Margie
Margie

Well done Alex and well done for having the balls to stand up and fight for what is right! Have a wonderful olympics and we are rooting for u (not all of us are small minded)!!!!

Nick
Nick

Well Done Alex. thanks for never giving up and fighting for what is right

just me
just me

Ok NOW explain this one. This is from A EVENT RIDER who went through what Alex is going through. Mandy Prince ▶ Alex Peternell Olympics 2012 I know how Alex feels first hand! Let me impart some interesting information- In 2005 I was competing Cloud 9 in 2*. In January we won the New Year event, in March we won GHS Champs, in April we won SA Champs, then later that year went on to win KZN Champs and EC champs and clinched the Bayard Trophy for the Best Event Horse of the Year in October. The worst we faired for the year was a 4th at Springvale in August. The Interprovincials that year were held in Cape Town in November and for obvious reasons, I was selected along with Cindy De Villiers, Graham Winn, Janine Evans and Francois Viljoen to represent Gauteng. Sadly Janine's horse went unsound just days before leaving for the Cape. It would surely then go without question who would be the 4 riders on the team, but Paul (although only competeing in 1* at the time) was asked last minute to go along as the 5th rider as there always needs to be a reserve in place. When we got to Cape Town I was told I was the reserve and that Paul had taken my place on the team!!!!! Now, in my opinion, you do not get more blatantly corrupt than that! What is very interesting is that it is the exact same people involved in the selection yet again and bias towards the same person yet again. I did receive an official verbal apology from the Chairman of Gauteng Eventing at the time Pete Evans, but even after numerous letters etc from many irate eventers, absolutely nothing was done to reprimand the person/s concerned for the blatant favoritism. I must say, I was equally disappointed in Paul that he did not stand for what was fair and right and refuse to ride on the team given the fact that he was not even selected on the original team of 5 in the first place!!! So, although I don't have any answers as I do not know enough of the facts, I put 2 questions out there- had the people responsible for this corruption been dealt with correctly and firmly 7 years ago when they should have, would we be in this position right now? And secondly, I assume it goes without saying that the riders involved are fully aware of the selection criteria, procedure etc taking place? Clearly Alex did as that is exactly the reason why he rightfully appealed it. So, do we feel sorry for Paul for being a victim of this scandal or question him for going along with it? It looks as if it is going to take the harsh actions of higher powers to discipline SA Commitee members through our riders to finally put some integrity in place. Pity the innocent bear the brunt and SA suffers in the long run!

Anne Yorke-Hart
Anne Yorke-Hart

All said and done let the chosen ride!! The hard work, dedication and support have been immense - you deserve it HARRY and Paul

Nick
Nick

For all those that state that you have to live in SA (horse included) otherwise you don't qualify. Heartbreak Hill has been in the UK for the last 3 years, so there goes your theory HART: I hope so but he has been living in England for three years now. So, let’s hope he has acclimatised and ready.

EST
EST

Please raise this 'maladministration' and 'revolting inaccuracy' as you call it with the actual people you are slandering, which is the honourable thing to do, and lets get Steve Rault in to get his side too. I wonder what his version will be....I think people are making some very dangerous and unsubstantiated allegations here that are getting them into very deep water and its time to call it to the attention of the people involved so they can answer.

Tracey
Tracey

Please do not presume to speak for the entire riding community, Karen Liebenberg. There are many people who have supported Alex in the run-up to this. He has always been my first choice, but I would graciously have accepted Paul's selection, and supported him, had it been done properly. To suggest that we should accept a flawed selection process, because it is in the spirit of the "Olympics" is such a South African response. Let's ignore maladministration and corruption when it suits us, shall we? Alex is the only reason Paul COULD have gone to the Olympics! How can any right-thinking equestrian fan claim never to have heard of him? Those of us who follow more than Facebook or the glaringly one-sided dispatches put out by SAEF know who he is, and we admire him terribly. I feel for Paul, but perhaps he should ask his sponsor, and his good mate Steve Rault, why this has happened. Because what was put out in that revoltingly inaccurate newsflash is insulting our intelligence, and our ability to read the CAS decision!

EST
EST

In this whole debacle the one person who was most affected has behaved with the utmost grace and proved himself a worthy Olympian. Well done Paul Hart. The noise and bluster around this will die down and your impeccable behaviour will shine on. Let the others whine and bleat about unfairness - anyone with half a brain and no significant agenda to push will assess whats going on and make up their own minds. Well done - you are an Olympic hero and showing us all what the Olympic ideals really mean.

Carla
Carla

@ Karen Liebenburg, the only thing SA riders need to be ashamed of is people like you. Your criteria are ridiculous and you are slandering a phenomenal man. If all our competitors had to be based here we wouldn't have any representation at the games. Even our hockey sides live outside of SA. Now shush.

Cindy
Cindy

As per Alex's statement, he was the 3rd highest ranked and Paul the 4th, and as said above it was thanks to Mandy Mason that this spot was even available. But I would like some clarity after reading the SAEA statement; Ok, correct me if I'm wrong here: because Alex didn't have a qualified horse at the time he was encouraged to push one through so that even though he is the higher ranked rider, SA would have had an alternative or reserve pair in the event that Paul and Harry were unable to compete? Correct? And this decision was made based on that Paul and Harry are a more set and accomplished partnership that Alex and his new horse? Did I miss something?

Nick
Nick

@Karen Liebenberg I cant wait for his next Clinic, i recon Alex is one of the best instructors we have. How is Alex any less of a Hero than Paul they are both excellent riders and both should have gone to the Olympics, but there was only one slot and the criteria for the slot was the highest ranked rider. Alex fought for what was rightfully his. would you not have done the same?

susan theron
susan theron

Hi Did Alex not qualify SA for the Olympic slot last year? Why does Thailand support its best rider to the extent of getting a horse from the German's 2008 gold winning Olympic Eventing team to ride and the higher ranked SA rider in the FEI rankings has to go to CAS to get a just ruling?

Mary
Mary

KAREN- I am fully with Nick on this! What Tracy has just said sums it up. It is not Alex who is to blame here. There is no need to put Alex's name to shame. You should be ashamed of yourself for having that opinion of him. He will only be "despised" by the likes of yourself, and that doesn't seem like much of a loss to me! I am deeply embarrassed for you...

vc54
vc54

@ Nick: Sorry to contraddict you but the SA slot was achieved by Mandy Mason that was n.1 (82 points) in the F Group. That means that SA have a slot for the Olimpics. Then is up to the SA Federation to choose who is going to fill up the slot.

Karen Liebenberg
Karen Liebenberg

Nick - I would honestly give up now. Alex Peternell will always be despised by the SA riding community. What a hollow victory. The story has the talk of 5FM, 702 and Highveld. And the theme is the same - who the hell does Alex Peternell think he is to have ruined the chances of a true SA sporting hero? I am deeply embarrassed for him. He has done untold damage to his credibility and reputation. I can't imagine he will be running any eventing clinics in SA in future.

tracey
tracey

how pathetic of SAEF refusing to accept the findings/results of CAS and put Alex's name forward, now we have no-one representing SA. I was also angry to hear that Paul had been dropped in favour of Alex as I to had been following Paul & Harry's Quest for the Olympics, but if you go onto the CAS website & read their report, (including e-mails sent to Alex & the dates they were sent) you will understand that SAEF is at fault here not Alex or Paul, they led Alex on to believe that he still stood a chance of being selected & only informed him of changes in the dates at the last minute. If the members of the selection committee who are responsible for this have not (as per the Sowetan) resigned, then they should be fired & forced to apologise to Paul, Alex & the entire equestrian community for all the pain, embarrasement & disappointment they have caused to ALL of us. But not sending anyone to compete at the Olympics is the biggest disappointment.

Nick
Nick

Hi Cindy To start off. the only reason the SA got a spot at the Olympics was because of Alex's qualifying points and because of the events and placing he achieved in Europe. The SAEF criteria was that the highest place rider would be put forward for the spot, Alex having 76 and Paul only having 5. Alex qualified last year and was given the spot, However towards the end of the year Alex's horse went lame but was offered the chance to qualify another which he did, but in the meantime SAEF put through Paul's name to SASCOC. When the announcement that Paul made was going to the Olympic Alex questioned it and the only answer that he was given by SAEF was he was not going no reason, Alex fought this for months until the last resort was to go to CAS.

Cindy
Cindy

I will once again bring up the question of timelines, the dispute is not that either rider isn't qualified! So please can someone clarify: when did Alex qualify for selection and when did Paul? When did their horses qualify (as this is meant to be a partnership)? When did the committees put forward a name and when was the cut off date for selections? When did Alex begin his appeal against the nomination and at that time did not only he, but the horse he was planning to campaign meet the required selection criteria?

Nick
Nick

Hi Susan Yes if it wasn't for Alex SA would not have a spot in the Olympics. @Tracy I am glad that you have the money to fly a horse all over the world and pay for quarantine. just so that you can ride in a show. Alex is based in the UK so that he can ride at all the 4* shows and against the best in the world. most of the worlds top riders are based in Europe even though the represent other countries.

Louise
Louise

What have South Africans been fighting for so long? We want to be selected for our achievements! Not by a popularity contest or by our colour or by who's face appears the most times. We want to be recognised for doing the job the best we can and shouldnt that be the person we want to represent us. The highest qualified person for the job.

Louise
Louise

Look where Aus and NZ riders are based? It's not in their home countries. We have to get our horses overseas to expose them to the sport more than we can do at home. It's a very costly affair to keep shipping horses and riders all over the show. The facts remain, the highest qualified rider gets the spot. There is nothing about where he/she is based.

susan
susan

Did Alex not qualify SA for the Olympic slot last year? Why does Thailand support its best rider to the extent of getting a horse from the German's 2008 gold winning Olympic Eventing team to ride and the higher ranked SA rider in the FEI rankings has to go to CAS to get a just ruling? .

Tracey Wild
Tracey Wild

Sorry, I don't know either rider and made a spelling mistake. Shit happens, Louise! You will never convince me that non-residents should be representing our country. If you haven't the balls to live here then represent the country where ARE living! Mr Peternell should be representing the UK NOT South Africa! The ultimate loser in this fiasco are South African horse riders. I know that if I was a young rider and had witnessed this I would seriously reconsider investing my time and money in trying to get to the Olympics in South African colours.

susan
susan

Did Alex not qualify SA for the Olympic slot last year? Why does Thailand support its best rider to the extent of getting a horse from the German's 2008 gold winning Olympic Eventing team to ride and the higher ranked SA rider in the FEI rankings has to go to CAS to get a just ruling?

Louise
Louise

Well Tracey, if thats were the case, we would never have anyone at the games! Our swimmers are based in USA, we dont have 4* events in SA and maybe it it Mr Peterson's faul whoever he may be. Mr Peternell however, has been working very hard to get where he has for many years. He didn't go out and buy a qualified horse, he had to qualify on them. All our riders have worked very hard to get where they have. At the end of the day, the criteria for the qualification was for the highest ranked rider.

Nick
Nick

Hi Nicky That would be correct, by putting Alex's name forward they would be admitting that the selection process was flawed (even though most of the Selection committee has resign after putting Pauls name forward ((as per the Sotwton)) and we cant have that. At the end of the Day both Paul and Alex have lost out on a great opportunity.

Tracey Wild
Tracey Wild

If you are not resident in South Africa you ought not to be representing our country. Horse and rider form a team and compete as such. Selection should be based on the team, not the rider with money to just go out buy another horse when his goes lame! Why file an appeal at the last minute? Sucks to be a bad loser Mr Peterson! Mr Hart I am so sorry your efforts have been in vain and have been sabotaged by such an idiot!

Louise
Louise

Yes Nicky, you are correct. Very sad day for anyone wanting to fulfill their dream. By the way, Heartbrak hill would not the first SA bred horse to go to the Olympics. Charka D competed at the Beijing Games and is still competing in Europe at 1.60m.

Nicky
Nicky

Am I right in understanding that SAEF won't put Alex's name forward that is why we won't have anyone?

Kenny
Kenny

In sport (and life), there will always be those who are of the opinion that they have been unfairly omitted from teams and positions for which they had been in the running for selection. If every person who felt this way appealed to the CAS, it would no doubt be an extremely busy council. When arbitrators make decisions based on technicalities, and over rule selection committees then no on wins. The appelant in this case has won but still ends up the loser. Luke Watson also won appeals and eventually was included in the Springbok rugby team...but at what cost to his reputation etc.

Cindy
Cindy

@ Just me, surely you must be aware that Equestrian folks are a passionate bunch, and allot aren't seeing the whole mess as corruption. If Alex didn't have another horse to push through under the wire, who would have been selected? Yes, Alex has the points and the experience, but what a lot of people are failing to get across is look at the timing of this whole mess. The timeline is what has caused this. Sadly this has caused an even bigger division in our equestrian community, one that is going to be felt for a long time to come. And you are correct in stating the facts about "Quantum Leap" another of our heroes lost to us. Now the question begs, what is going to be put in place to prevent a situation like this ever occurring again, if SA is ever even given another chance?

just me
just me

KAREN LIEBENBURG. Gee I actually know all the riders that went to WEG. I also know Alex. All I can say is. Proud of all. But if the selection was corrupt. Paul know he is ranked 400 and some change and Alex is 165 in the world. Anyone who has a brain can see CORRUPTION a mile away. Ashamed that the language and narrow minded some south africans are.

just me
just me

There is ANOTHER Loss, south african breed sport horse "Quantum Leap" he was sold just after WEG. As the owner never had the financial backing to keep the horse in UK until Olympic.

Karen Liebenberg
Karen Liebenberg

Alex Peternell must never feel welcome in our amazing country. I hate the word but he is truly a c*nt.

just me
just me

There is No I in TEAM. The politics in SA eventing has been going on since the start of Us going to World Equestrian Games. Our provinces are divided. Even division in individual provinces. All riders work hard towards their own goals. Its cost all the international riders a lot of money time and effort. The riders who went to WEG who actually finish the course. Unfortunately they never had funds to keep their horses there in UK.There is ANOTHER Loss, south african breed sport horse "Quantum Leap" he was sold just after WEG. But that's past. How many 4* events has Paul done as a rider. How many 4* has Alex done as a rider. So which ever rider has the correct points should be chosen. The support as SA riders should be no matter who rides we should support. If the correct procedures should be followed. Alex has been competing for SA since before WEG. So get the facts right. No one can POINT FINGERS at the riders involved. SANEF and the governing bodies should be the "drawn in and sorted out". RIDE WELL who ever Goes. What's RIGHT is right. Alex has the higher POINTS and done 4*

Dawn
Dawn

I hope Alex is now happy and will have a good night's sleep!

Stephen Rault
Stephen Rault

South African Olympics Team Eventing 2012 We refer to the decision made by the Court if Arbitration for Sport (CAS) which overturned the SAEF’s (South African Equestrian Federation) nomination and SASCOC”s previous selection of Mr Paul Hart on the basis that Mr Alexander Peternell had satisfied the relevant selection criteria of the SAEF, (in terms of the FEI Regulations). The SAEF stands by the South African Equestrian Association and its eventing selectors in its decision to select Mr Paul Hart and have advised SASCOC that we are unable to nominate a candidate for selection. The SAEF has reviewed the selection process and is satisfied that it met the requirements for the selection of Mr Hart as the preferred candidate. SASCOC have advised the SAEF that they are therefore unable to comply with the Memorandum of Association which stipulates selection on recommendation from the National Federation for an athlete to compete in the Olympic Games. Furthermore, SASCOC have advised the SAEF that South Africa will not be presenting a candidate for the Eventing Competition at the London Olympics. Stephen Rault President: South African Equestrian Federation

Cindy
Cindy

And at the end of this day, no one a winner!! And the biggest loss going to Harry who has tried his heart out, took his trip to foreign shores and quarantine like a true champion, only to have his moment of glory for South African bred horses snatched away. Today, I'm ashamed to be South African, that this is what it comes down to. Hope you all sleep well knowing that poor Harry had to endure all that for what?? Well done, this country looses, once again!!

just me
just me

There is ANOTHER Loss, south african breed sport horse "Quantum Leap" he was sold just after WEG. Heidi Wood had to sell him as she would have loved to keep him and do the olympics. Quantum Leap finished the WEG course. At the prime of his life 10. That's a SAD Sad state of affairs.

just me
just me

COME ON EVERY ONE. What right is right. The selection is the higher points that's who gets selected. All a big JOKE. Corruption in Equestrian sport. There were and still is finger pointing about WEG. Who finished the course at Worlds. Who fell off. Yes accidents happen. Has Paul ever ridden a 4* track. Gosh the one who has got the points the correct way should ride. Alex has got those points. Has Paul got any clear rounds on "Harry" in a 4* show. NO. Let's all grow up and do what's right. No Corruption.

Kenny
Kenny

Again the question...why wait until the 21st July to lodge his appeal? Surely had he appealed PH's inclusion in Team SA at the time of announcement this monumental f-up would not be. But...maybe he did and it was all hushed up. Time for some naming and shaming if this turns out to be the case. Still no answer to my earlier question...what happens to the groom, manager and vet?

Mark
Mark

The Olympics are the biggest event ever. Paul has never competed in a four star competition, Alex has. Alex has ridden at least 3 horses around 3 star tracks. Paul hasn't. Alex has had training and has worked in Europe for the last 16 years. The training and the competition system in SA is not truly up to standard for the Olympics. It's devastating what happened to Paul of course, but Alex has definitely more experience, you need the best for the Olympics, and Alex whether you like it or not, he's the best event rider South Africa has at the moment.

Louise
Louise

Anyone who thinks that Alex has only crept out the woodwork now is somewhat mistaken. If you have been following the SANEF pages in HQ or in news letters or articles of SA riders campaigning overseas, you would all be aware of who he is. Both men have been wroking hard to this goal. I don't agree that Paul will never have the chance again because of his age. Look at Mark Todd. He retired, came back again and is competing at the top level. GO TEAM SA!

Heather R
Heather R

The Olympics is a dream that has been fairly unattainable for many S.Africans for a long time. The fact that 2 of our riders qualified should be a joyous cause. Alex was within his rights to appeal to the selection criteria as it was not upheld, and I want you all to ask yourselves that if the situation was reversed, and it was Paul who contested the selection, would these comments have been posted ? Paul has influenced and shaped my own fledging career, and I do indeed look at him and see what hard work can bring you, but then again, Alex is also a symbol of that. For those of you who will not support Alex , and believe he should not be in green and gold...you need to question your own righteousness to wear green and gold and call yourself "Proudly South African" when you will not grant that to one of your own. We need to respect both our boys, not slander the one, because he is fighting down to the last minute for something he has also earned. Imagine falling at the last hurdle of your childhood dream, and then hearing there is still a way to TRY achieve it. Any rider will tell you that to be competitive internationally long term requires you to be based in Europe, and so the fact that Alex uprooted himself to achieve in the same of SA should cheer us on, helping us move forward onto the international scene. So if Alex is chosen, I will proudly cheer him on, because that is what being a Proud South African is about.

Dawn
Dawn

I'm not disputing that Alex is a deserving competitor, but how come we only hear from him now? Paul has been preparing and participating in many South African and overseas shows for a long time now. He qualified for the olympics in February 2011 - why didn't Alex make an appearance then? Why wait until the last minute. I think it's pretty lousy to wait until Paul, the vet, grooms, etc. have all arrived in London before making his claim. On what grounds is he making these claims, I wonder?

Jassy Mackenzie
Jassy Mackenzie

At least Alex has a next time - being 30 and based in the UK, he has a good couple more shots at the Olympics. Paul probably does not. For this reason I think to try and take this ride away from Paul on a technicality is definitely not in the spirit of the Olympics.

Cindy
Cindy

If Ryk scored enough points with his blue towel and speedo as his partners, and swimming was a partnership, and his towel or speedo got a hole in it and he had to suddenly rush to qualify his red set, then yes, esp after another had already been selected at the time when the blue set got said hole and no longer qualified. No one is saying that Alex isn't a deserving competitor, but seriously, can he honestly claim to be our Equestrian Olympian? I feel for him and his family and connections, but this is about our heroes, and that is Paul and Harry, sorry Alex, next time.

Kenny
Kenny

If Paul is pulled from Team SA, does this mean that the groom, vet and manager hit the slippery slope with him ???