December 12 - The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) Appeal Tribunal today announced it has unanimously rejected the appeals made by a number of former and current rhythmic gymnastics officials implicated in the long running judges' courses scandal.
Former Technical Committee President Maria Szyszkowska, incumbent leader Natalya Kuzmina, five other Committee members and 16 judges all appealed the sanctions enforced by the FIG Disciplinary Commission earlier this year, which came after alleged irregularities were identified at international judges' courses in Bucharest, Moscow and Alicante in 2012.
Just weeks after the appeals, Kuzmina spoke out against the rulings and exclusively told insidethegames that there was an ulterior motive behind the disciplinary action as the sport's world governing body "is trying to discredit rhythmic gymnastics from the list of Olympic sports".
She also claimed that the case was based on "unproven and ill-grounded allegations", but despite this the FIG requested that the Appeal Tribunal fully reject all appeals and confirm the rulings made by the Disciplinary Commission, which included stripping Szyszkowska of her honorary FIG membership, suspensions, and the cancellation of exam results and judges brevets gained during the courses.
After conducting its own investigation the Tribunal - formed of President Thore Brolin, and members George C Stewart and Jacques Rey - upheld the decision to suspend the members of the former technical committee from parts of their official duties until December 31, 2014; revoke Szyszkowska's membership and judge brevet; and cancel all results obtained at the Intercontinental Judges' Course in Bucharest, and the International Judges' Courses in Moscow and Alicante.
The Appeal Tribunal did decide that the exclusion of Szyszkowska from participation in FIG activities and other international events, including the possibility of being accredited by any FIG member in any official position, would end on December 31, 2019.
The body also ruled that the 5,000 CHF (£3,400/$5,600/€4,100) paid by each appellant for their appeal will be kept by the FIG and that Technical Committee members must each pay a further 1,000 CHF (£700/$1,100/€800) to the international governing body to cover "costs and expenses incurred".
The parties have 21 days to appeal the decisions at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
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August 2013: Exclusive - FIG management is trying to discredit rhythmic gymnastics from list of Olympic sports, claims Technical Committee chief
July 2013: Former gymnastics technical committee President stripped of FIG membership in judges' course row
June 2013: International Gymnastics Federation President appeals dismissal of case against "irregularities" at judges' courses