On the web site of the CAS the following press release was posted:
PRESS RELEASE (10)
SAILING - SKIFF DINGHY 49ER
THE NOCS OF ITALY AND SPAIN REQUEST THE COURT OF ARBITRATION FOR SPORT (CAS) TO DISQUALIFY THE DANISH TEAM FROM THE RACE AND TO RE-ALLOCATE THE OLYMPIC MEDALS
Beijing, 21 August 2008 – The ad hoc Division of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has received an application from the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) and the Spanish Olympic committee (COE) against two decisions of the International Jury of the International Sailing federation (ISAF) related to the gold medal race of the 49er event which took place on 17 August
Shortly before the start of the gold medal race in the 49er class event on 17 August 2008, the Danish team (Warrer/Ibsen) was sailing towards the start line when the mast of their boat broke. As a consequence, the Danish team decided to use the boat of another team (Croatia) which had not qualified for the gold medal race. The Danish team finished 7th in the gold medal race and was ranked first in the overall ranking of this event. The Spanish team, which obtained the silver medal and the Italian team, which was ranked fourth, as well as the Race Committee, filed various protests which were all rejected by the ISAF International Jury. The two NOCs request the CAS to annul the ISAF International Jury decisions, to declare that the Danish team was not entitled to take part in the gold medal race, to disqualify the Danish team and to re-allocate the Olympic medals to the Spanish team (gold medal), to the German team (silver medal) and to the Italian team (bronze medal).
The panel of CAS arbitrators appointed to hear this matter is composed of Dr Stephan Netzle, (Switzerland), President, Prof. Richard McLaren (Canada) and Ms Margarita Echeverria (Costa Rica).
A hearing in this matter will take place on 23 August 2008 at 09.00am. The hearing is not open to the public.
I don't think this was the sailors who instigated this appeal. From the stories on the blogs and forums I gather it is the National Olympic Committees from Spain and Italy who are under pressure to produce results.
From a rules point of view, Denmark fulfilled all it's obligations to obtain permission to use replacement equipment. The International Jury has examined the other rule infringements - like sailing without proper identification, no camera on board and such, but found no advantage in those and gave no penalty.
Spain won the medal race, so it is very hard pressed to see how they have been disadvantaged in the race itself. They have been disadvantaged in the series, by not winning the Gold medal.
As far as I'm aware the CAS will not look at the facts found, conclusion and decision of the jury. They will examen if the procedures and rules regarding hearings were followed and all had a change to bring evidence according to the regulations and rules governing such things.
They will answer the question: handled the International Jury these protests according to the rules?
I'll keep an eye out on the verdict.