According to barrister Siza Agha, British skier Emily Sarsfield won’t be taking legal action against the British Olympic Association (BOA) for denying her a spot on the Sochi team.
The 30-year-old Sarsfield is ranked 34th in the world by the International Ski Federation (FIS), but the qualifying rules for Sochi dictate that only skiers in the top 32 are eligible. However, multiple competitors ranked ahead of Sarsfield are injured and won’t be competing at Sochi, meaning she could logically be considered ranked in the top 32.
The BOA doesn’t see things that way:
In the case of British Ski and Snowboard (BSS), the selection criteria specifically stated that ‘hand-back’ or ‘unallocated quota places’, as they are commonly referred to, as awarded by their International Federation would not substitute for an athlete earning an automatic quota place. With respect to Emily Sarsfield, she did not secure an automatic quota place as determined by the International Federation (Inside the Games).
A furious Sarsfield threatened legal action over the BOA’s inflexibility, but Agha admitted on Friday the financial cost of the battle would be too steep:
In terms of the time, cost and outcome pragmatically we had to withdraw. I promised Emily she would never be out of pocket but going to the High Court has the potential to be financially crippling (London Evening Standard).
Not all hope is lost of Sarsfield, though. While legal action has been abandoned as a course of action, there is an online petition that’s collected 3,000 signatures.