Sailing: Law outburst adjudged out of order: Briton expelled from Match Race World Championship for 'abusive behaviour'

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The Independent Online
WHILE Bertrand Pace and Paul Cayard were winning their way though to the finals of the Match Race World Championship, Britain's Chris Law was packing his bags and heading for home after being thrown out of the competition for 'abusive language and behaviour'.

It is the first time that this has happened in an event of such standing and the 42- year-old said yesterday he was 'very hurt'. While it will not prevent him from competing in the Bermuda Gold Cup later this month, Law said he would then probably stop match racing. But he hopes it will not affect his chances of sailing for Australia's Syd Fischer in the America's Cup.

The problem started when Law was racing against Pace in the second round-robin and was penalised by the chief umpire, John Doerr, the man who will be regulating the America's Cup. Law denied that he used an offensive phrase to describe the decision.

But Doerr then submitted a report into the international jury. The chairman, Gerard Bosse of France, said they were 'satisfied that the behaviour did constitute a gross breach of good manners and sportsmanship.'

Bosse added: 'At the hearing the competitor made additional insulting remarks against the whole umpiring team.' The bad odour continued when, Law said, he went to apologise to the umpires 'but John Doerr continued to lecture me. So I said 'don't be such a pompous ass'.'

Law, who represented Britain in the 1984 Olympics, said: 'I have an explosive, McEnroe approach. What I say is not malicious or personal. . . I have a problem with authority I don't respect.'

Also tumbling from grace was the American Rod Davis. After winning 15 of his 18 starts in the round-robin and choosing Pace as his opponent, he went down 3-0 in the best-of-five semi-final.

Peter Gilmour, the world No 2, who is coaching the Nippon America's Cup challenge, lost by the same margin to Cayard, who has now joined Dennis Conner's Stars and Stripes defence syndicate. That leaves a final between Pace's crew, drawn from Marc Pajot's America's Cup squad, and Cayard's, most of whom sail for Defi France.

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP OF MATCH RACE SAILING (La Rochelle): Semi-finals: B Pace (Fr) bt R Davis (US) 3-0; P Cayard (US) bt P Gilmour (Aus) 3-0.