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Disputes tribunal set up for Games

Monday 18 July 2011 | Published in Regional


The Pacific Games Council has created a disputes tribunal to handle protest or legal issues that may occur during the 2011 Pacific Games in New Caledonia next month. According to the councils website, the group has six members with New Zealands Tim Castle named as its chairman.

Other members include PGC secretary general David Boyd of New Caledonia, Tonga Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee president Lord Tevita Tupou, Cook Islands Sports and National Olympic Committee president Sir Geoffrey Henry, Guam National Olympic Committee secretary general Robert Steffy, and Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee CEO and secretary general Lorraine Mar. Castle is a member of the Court of Arbitration for Sport and took part in the redrafting of constitutional protocols for the Pacific Games Council, including eligibility rules and regulations.

Tims work in sports and sports law is known and recognised internationally, and we very much welcome his appointment for our Pacific Games this year, PGC executive director Andrew Minogue said in a press released posted on the Council website. The creation of the dispute tribunal is crucial to ensure fairness and resolution of protests in the Pacific Games, particularly those concerning athletes eligibility. In the revised Pacific Games Charter (August 2010), respective international federations rules are applied and only citizens and residents of the countries-territories the athletes are representing are allowed.

A citizen means a passport holder of that country, while a resident must have resided in that nation for at least five years (cumulative, whether consecutive or not). The council also adopted a new provision on eligibility rules during its general assembly in New Caledonia last year, giving the PGC Executive Board discretion to waive the written eligibility rules (the citizenship and residency requirements) for any reason whatsoever.

However, request for a waiver and supporting documents should have been turned in to the board last March or six months before the Pacific Games start. The quadrennial competition will run from August 27 to September 10 with 22 nations competing in 27 sports. So far, over 4000 athletes have registered to join the 15-day event.