Cook claims BOA's refusal to use CAS in selection row 'beyond belief'


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The Independent Online

Aaron Cook's representatives have responded angrily to the British Olympic Association's refusal to allow his case regarding his controversial non-selection to be determined by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Cook's lawyers have written again to the BOA insisting it has a "legal and moral obligation to find an appropriate, fair and transparent resolution for Aaron."

In a statement released yesterday, Cook's agent, Jamie Cunningham, said the BOA's response that CAS was not the appropriate place to settle the case was simply "beyond belief."

The BOA has been asked to reconsider the decision reached on Friday evening, with Cook remaining hopeful his lawyers will have the chance to present their case to CAS.

The two parties would need to register an interest with the Swiss-based court by the middle of this week if they are to resolve the issue by the 6 July selection deadline.

Cook was not selected by British Taekwondo despite being the world No1 in his class and the current European champion. In his stead, Lutalo Muhammad was chosen despite being ranked down at 59.

The BOA does not believe the new evidence on a flawed selection process claimed by Cook's lawyers is sufficient to re-open the case, nor does it believe CAS is the "correct forum" in which the case should be heard.

Cook's statement said: "CAS is set up to deal with Olympic disputes quickly and efficiently. It is the perfect and correct court to hear this case. The BOA knows that CAS can deal with this case within the time-frame.

"This is not a case against an athlete who has done anything wrong. This was all about a highly-flawed and personal selection process. The BOA will almost certainly not allow such a flawed selection process from a governing body for Rio in 2016.

"They need to give Aaron a chance to prove his case before CAS. Aaron deserves nothing less." If the BOA do not allow the case to go to CAS, Cook has the final option of taking legal action via the High Court.