“Un­fair, ir­ra­tional” Sas­coc faces R5m law­suit from fencer over Rio Games

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - OCKERT DE VILLIERS

A SOUTH African fencer is su­ing Sas­coc and the na­tional fenc­ing fed­er­a­tion for more than R5 mil­lion for not se­lect­ing her for last year’s Rio Olympic Games.

Epée fencer Ju­liana Bar­rett charges that she had earned qual­i­fi­ca­tion when she won the of­fi­cial In­ter­na­tional Fenc­ing Fed­er­a­tion (FIE) qual­i­fy­ing tour­na­ment for Africa in Al­ge­ria.

“Fol­low­ing her qual­i­fi­ca­tion for the Olympics, the Fenc­ing Fed­er­a­tion of SA rec­om­mended to Sas­coc that Bar­rett be en­tered to rep­re­sent SA at the 2016 Olympics,” Bar­rett’s lawyers, Thom­son Wilks Inc stated. “The FIE also no­ti­fied Sas­coc of Bar­rett’s qual­i­fi­ca­tion for the 2016 Olympics and ad­vised it of the dead­line – 6 June 2016 – to con­firm her par­tic­i­pa­tion in the event.”

Bar­rett al­leges Sas­coc failed to meet the dead­line and “acted in an un­fair, ar­bi­trary, capri­cious and ir­ra­tional man­ner.”

Ac­cord­ing to the agree­ment be­tween Sas­coc and the Fenc­ing Fed­er­a­tion of South Africa (FFSA), con­ti­nen­tal qual­i­fi­ca­tion would not be con­sid­ered. FFSA pres­i­dent No­vak Perovic said they had a few meet­ings with Sas­coc to loosen the cri­te­ria to no avail.

This is the same pol­icy that saw the men’s and women’s hockey teams lose their bids to qual­ify for the Games de­spite win­ning the con­ti­nen­tal cham­pi­onships at the end of 2015.

FFSA has also been in­cluded in the sum­mons for its “com­plicit in­volve­ment in the fail­ure”.

Perovic pointed out that it re­mained Sas­coc’s pre­rog­a­tive to de­cide who is se­lected.

Bar­rett’s lawyers claim her ex­clu­sion from the team would cost her spon­sor­ship to train and study in the US. This, they said, would also have cov­ered the costs of her com­pet­ing in qual­i­fy­ing tour­na­ments for the 2020 Games.

“As such, Bar­rett is su­ing Sas­coc and the Fenc­ing Fed­er­a­tion of SA for R5 673 600 plus in­ter­est, the cost of the law­suit, and pos­si­ble fu­ture re­lief.” the lawyers said.

Thom­son Wilks, man­ag­ing part­ner Stephen Thom­son, said: “We in­tend to make full use of Ju­liana’s le­gal reme­dies to en­sure she is com­pen­sated for the fi­nan­cial losses she now faces as a re­sult of Sas­coc’s neg­li­gence.”

Sas­coc pres­i­dent Gideon Sam said they would be able to suc­cess­fully chal­lenge the charge.

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