BOA responds to Terceira ruling
The Bermuda Olympic Association has responded to the Court of Arbitration of Sport's ruling involving show jumper Jill Terceira.
Terceira took the BOA before the CAS in Lausanne, Switzerland, after being banned from representing Bermuda for three years because of two breaches of conduct at the Pan American Games in Toronto in 2015.
She received a one-year ban for wearing traditional red Bermuda shorts instead of a skirt during her horse's veterinary inspection and a three-year ban for an alleged security breach at the Athletes' Village.
The two-times Olympian's 3½-year battle with the BOA was finally brought to a close in January when the CAS upheld the violations but said the bans were disproportionate to the offences and that written reprimands would have sufficed.
A statement released by the BOA Executive Board yesterday said that the sanctions imposed on Terceira were made entirely by the Disciplinary Committee and subsequently upheld by the Appeal Committee.
“The process and the original decisions determined by the BOA's constituted Disciplinary Committee and Appeals Committee were independent of the BOA executive board members,” the statement said.
“It was these decisions by the BOA's independent judiciary committees upon which the CAS ruling was based. The sole role of the BOA Executive Board was to refer the matter to both committees for adjudication.”
The statement added that it was with regard to the punishment meted out to Terceira, and not the violations themselves, where the disciplinary and appeals committees differed with the CAS, which considered the bans as “too harsh”.
The statement continued: “The fundamental claim made by Ms Terceira in her appeal to CAS was that she was not in breach of the BOA Games Participation Agreement. This, in fact, was the basis for the ruling of both the disciplinary and the appeals committees and the fact that she was in breach was upheld by the CAS.
“Where the CAS ruling and the disciplinary and appeals committees differed was that CAS ruled the sanctions to be imposed against Ms Terceira were too harsh and ruled that they be replaced with reprimands.”
The BOA Executive Board said it will review its policies and procedures in the wake of the CAS ruling.
“The BOA accepts the CAS ruling for upholding the disciplinary breaches committed by Ms Terceira which were the subject of the BOA's original referral to the Disciplinary Committee,” the statement continued.
“This was the first time that the BOA has felt it necessary to do so in respect of any athlete representing Bermuda.
“The guidance stipulated in the CAS ruling has provided the impetus for the BOA Executive Board to streamline various policies and procedures should the unfortunate need arise to address such matters if they happen again in the future.”
The CAS found that the BOA had retroactively applied a revised constitution that included “rather confusing rules” designed to prolong an already exhaustive process” during its proceedings against Terceira.
The BOA said that there had been a failure to “effectively communicate” its policies and procedures under its revised constitution to the Bermuda athletes.
“The BOA acknowledges that there appeared to be a breakdown in communication whereby its General Assembly comprising the National Sport Governing Bodies approved new and appeal regulations under the revised BOA Constitution but there was a failure to effectively communicate those changes so that all stakeholders, particularly the athletes, were well informed.”
The BOA added that it will continue to support athletes in their journey to represent Bermuda at the highest level.
The result of the ruling is that the BOA is facing a six-figure payout, including approximately $45,000 that has to be reinstated to Terceira as funding she would have gained as an Elite A athlete from the time it was revoked, $5,000 towards her court expenses, and an amount to be determined by the CAS for its costs — which could be as much as $50,000.