Fool Me Once…

Fool Me Once…

You’ll likely remember the Farrah Hall debacle, in which US Sailing spent 6 figures to defend an indefensible redress process in front of a US Olympic Committee board and got soundly smacked by the USOC for disregarding pretty much everything required by the USOC, essentially the body from which US Sailing gets its power. The USOC rejected US Sailing lawyer Charly Cook’s arguments on the Farrah Hall issue tersely and with some attitude, and issued a set of recommendations to US Sailing on how it could rectify its mistakes and avoid the potential loss of its ability to select and control the United States’ Olympic sailing program. US Sailing was to reply July 1st to the USOC on how it planned to change its procedures in accordance with the USOC list.

You can read the attached Farrah Hall decision and accompanying recommendations for more info, but the core of US Sailing’s arguments were:

  1. Requests for redress are essentially "referee" or "field of play" decisions, unappealable via arbitration, and
  2. The Recommendations conflict with ISAF rules

We recently tracked down the July 1st US Sailing response to the USOC, and it is certainly a professionally written legal document that surely took many hours and lawyers to create; and it is almost incredible in its lack of even attempting to respond to the USOC’s rebuke and recommendations from the Hall decision. You can have a look at it as well, attached – but the gist of US Sailing’s entire response is to reiterate exactly the same arguments it made in the previous arbitration and ask the USOC to modify its findings! Basically, the USOC said "We, the body from which you get power, has determined that you can modify your behavior without conflicting with ISAF rules," and Cook answered on July 1st, "But ISAF says we can’t, so please change your recommendation. They didn’t even try to do what they were required to do – it was apparently not worth their time. Same thing about the "referee" issue. If I didn’t know better, I’d be positive that US Sailing and Alinghi use the same lawyer.

Jump on over to the thread to read the documents and add your comments.