Irish equestrian chiefs are considering an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport following the Irish showjumping team controversially missing out on qualification for the 2016 Olympic Games at the FEI European Games.

Ireland finished just 0.380 penalties behind Spain after Cian O'Connor was impeded by a steward when approaching the 11th fence of his round in Aachen, Germany.

Robert Splaine, Irish chef d'equipe, said he had no doubt qualification was "in the bad" prior to the incident which caused O'Connor and his mount, Good Luck, to "lose momentum and rhythm".

Speaking to RTÉ Sport, Damien McDonald, CEO of Horse Sport Ireland, said that the organisation is considering an appeal to an FEI tribunal, although it is unclear if the tribunal can address the issue.

McDonald said the tribunal can not address issues deemed to be "field of play" decisions, which may mean the only available option is to go to the CAS in Lausanne.

McDonald said HSI owe it to the riders and owners to pursue the issue as far as possible.

Appeals to the CAS are only allowed once all appeal routes are denied within your own sporting body, with the organisations lawyers currently considering the best option.

He said a decision on this will be made next week.

McDonald said: "The consequences of this are huge, we are very lucky our eventing team have already qualified, but the chance to have a showjumping team at the Olympics when we have so many promising young horses and riders.

"It is unbelievable we lost out by such a small margin and for something like that to happen at this level is hard to comprehend."

McDonald expressed sympathy for the steward in question in the wake of critical online commentary last night.

He said the main issue is how the FEI are going to deal with the decision, adding the HSI will be making a strong case that matter must be revisited.

After rejecting the Irish appeal late last night the FEI published its reasoning, stating that: "The protest was heard by the ground jury, who ruled that as the athlete had continued his round, they saw no reason to stop him by ringing the bell.

"Under Article 233.3 of the FEI Jumping Rules, the athlete had the opportunity to stop voluntarily due to unforeseen circumstances beyond his control, however he did not do so."

Splaine said this is "a very obscure rule", adding that "to expect a rider in any circumstances to stop, put your hand up to a judge who is maybe 100m or 150m away and to expect to get some direction as to what to do is absolutely ridiculous.

"It is part of the rule, but I know there are many precedents happening in the past and there is such a thing as fair play and common sense and it has to prevail in certain situations."

McDonald added that the ground jury had the option for the ground jury to ring the bell themselves, which they did not do in this instance.

McDonald also said a number of people have drawn parallels between the incident and the Thierry Henry handball controversy, but said that unlike in that scenario there would not be the same logistical issues as adding an extra team to the World Cup, as was suggested at the time of the Henry incident.