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Joe Ward's Olympic appeal is rejected by Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Updated: Thursday, 26 Jul 2012 19:35 | Comments

Joe Ward looks disgusted after losing to Turkish fighter Bahram Muzaffer in the final Olympic qualifier
Joe Ward looks disgusted after losing to Turkish fighter Bahram Muzaffer in the final Olympic qualifier

European boxing champion Joe Ward has failed in his appeal case for an Olympic boxing place to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The Moate man missed out at qualifying after controversially losing to Turkish fighter Bahram Muzaffer in the final Olympic qualifier.

Ward's lawyers launched an appeal after the 18-year-old was overlooked for a wild-card slot in the light-heavyweight division by amateur boxing's governing body, AIBA.

Ward, who is ranked four in the world and is the reigning European champion, argued the selection of Montenegro's Ratko Draskovic contradicted AIBA's original explanation that Ward was not chosen because he was 'not the next best boxer [in Europe].'

Draskovic is not ranked in the top 39 of the world rankings currently available on AIBA's website.

The Montenegrin reached the second round of last year's World Championship, while Ward went one round further to the last 16.

Ward's case was also strengthened by the nature of his shock defeat to Turkey's Muzaffer in the final Olympic qualification tournament, a bout most observers agreed Ward should have won clearly.

But according to International Olympic Committee guidelines, wild-card or tripartite places are reserved for smaller nations, typically with less than six athletes already qualified in the sport in question.

And AIBA statutes dictate that the 'next best boxer' rule is only applied when there have not been sufficient applications for tripartite places in a particular weight division.

Montenegro press attaché Aleksandar Radovic said he was unaware of the furore. He said: "We have fulfilled all the criteria set by the IOC and AIBA."

In a statement, the CAS indicated it had dismissed Ward's claim because its panel "lacked the jurisdiction to deal with the application".

The statement added: "Furthermore, the panel has considered that even if the CAS had jurisdiction to decide the matter, the application would have been dismissed on the merits too.

"Indeed, Ward would not have qualified for any open slot had any such slot been made available on his claim that Bosko Draskovic was not eligible by the Tripartite Commission."

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