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Due to circumstances arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, the selection of athletes for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games – and, to some extent, the Beijing Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games – may take place in ways that differ to previous Games.

We have compiled the below guide for athletes, covering all aspects of the selection process.

It is important to note that the BAC’s main priority in any cases relating to selection is that the selection policy is followed accurately, and the integrity of the process is upheld, rather than simply fighting to overturn a decision. Therefore, we can support more than one athlete in the same case, and would urge any athlete who finds themselves involved in a disputed selection, to contact us for support and advice at the earliest opportunity.

Should you require support on this or any other issue, please email support@britishathletes.org.

What should I be doing ahead of my selection decision?

The BAC advises all athletes to take four simple steps ahead of a selection decision being made:

Though selection policies – as legal documents – can often be complex and difficult to understand, establishing the key facts from the policy as early as possible will be extremely beneficial to an athlete. If you experience any issues with locating the selection policy, or uncertainty over its contents, seek out and speak to your Performance Director. Athletes have the right to expect to be well informed, treated fairly, on merit and without discrimination.

What should I do if I am not selected, and wish to appeal the decision?

If you feel an appeal is necessary, it is highly advisable to start this process as quickly as possible, as many appeals windows can be very short. In this instance, as a WCP athlete, BAC support will be available to you, and you should email support@britishathletes.org in the first instance.

If appropriate, the BAC can refer to its partners for pro bono legal support on your behalf.

During an appeal, it is advisable not to share details of the process on social media.

What will happen next?

After an initial discussion to understand your situation, we will advise you to the best of our knowledge whether there appears to be grounds for an appeal based on the selection policy from within your NGB. We will also, where appropriate, make a referral through our partners to try to seek any necessary independent, pro bono, legal advice and support.

If you do choose to appeal, the process will require you to submit your grounds of appeal, with any supporting any evidence to be considered, to your NGB within a certain time frame. Depending on the appeal policy, there may be a fee or deposit to be paid as part of the process. We can step you through the full process based on your sport’s specific appeals policy.

What should I do if I am an impacted ‘third party’ when an appeal is lodged by another athlete?

Very often, when one athlete launches an appeal against their non-selection, one or more other athletes could be affected by the outcome. When notified of your selection, your NGB should inform you that this is ‘subject to appeal’ and will also inform you when that appeals window, or process, has closed.

If another athlete lodges an appeal which could affect your selection, you should be notified by your NGB and may be requested to provide a response to this depending on your NGB’s specific appeals policy.

It is again important to contact the BAC as soon as possible in this situation as you are likely to have a short period of time to respond. We can step you through the process based on your sport’s specific appeals policy and we will also, where appropriate, make a referral through our partners to seek any necessary independent, pro bono legal advice and support.

As detailed above, the BAC has the experience and ability to support multiple athletes in the same case, so your level of support will not be impacted if your team-mate(s) is also receiving support from us.

Again, we would advise against sharing any details of the ongoing process on social media.

What should I do if selection decisions have affected my relationship with team-mates?

Unfortunately, a disputed selection is rarely only going to affect one athlete. At what is an emotionally charged time, we know that seeing a friend or a team-mate not be selected, or watching two team-mates battle for the same qualification spot, can be tough. We would always encourage open dialogue in these situations, and we can help to facilitate this.

We also know that selection decisions, and the circumstances surrounding them, can take their toll on any athlete. For support, or just for a safe space to discuss the issue, contact support@britishathletes.org.

 

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