Tuesday 17 October 2017

Ciobanu's Rio case costs association €75k

Ciobanu won the National Marathon last October, but failed to meet the qualification standard for the World Championships. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Ciobanu won the National Marathon last October, but failed to meet the qualification standard for the World Championships. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

David Hooper

Sergiu Ciobanu's failed appeal of Ireland's Olympic men's marathon team selection for Rio 2016 ended up costing Athletics Ireland over €75,000.

Former Moldovan international Ciobanu, who moved to Ireland in 2005 and switched allegiance in 2014, had posted the third-fastest marathon time of the Irish team, clocking 2:15.14 in Berlin in 2015.

However, Athletics Ireland selectors decided to send Kevin Seaward, Mick Clohisey and Paul Pollock to Rio, basing Pollock's selection over Ciobanu on form. Pollock would go on to become the first Irishman home in Rio.

Ciobanu brought an unsuccessful appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, believing that Athletics Ireland were unclear in their selection policy.

CAS dismissed the case four weeks before the marathon, allowing the original selection to compete in Rio, though incurring a cost of "over €75,000" in legal and other fees to Athletics Ireland, as explained by treasurer George Maybury to the association's AGM on Saturday.

The cost to Athletics Ireland was substantial when you consider that a measly €39,000 was taken in gate receipts at the association's Senior Championships in 2016. Athletics Ireland reported a profit of €2,763 for 2016.

"I think justification would not be the right word," explained Athletics Ireland president Georgina Drumm in response to the decision by CAS. "But coming through the process, we came to the right decision."

Ciobanu won the National Marathon, held in conjunction with the Dublin Marathon, last October, but failed to meet the qualification standard of 2:17.00 for the World Championships, which take place in London this August.

Ireland have selected Pollock, Clohisey and Sean Hehir for London.

Indo Sport

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