Sun, Dec 05, 2010 - Page 1 News List

No progress in planned taekwondo suit

‘SOCKGATE’ CONTINUES:A government-appointed task force is awaiting the advice of a Swiss lawyer, but said it was unlikely to take the matter to court in Guangzhou

Staff Writer, with CNA

An inter-agency meeting headed by Vice Premier Sean Chen (陳冲) on Friday failed to reach a decision on whether to appeal to the Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) about the controversial disqualification of taekwondo athlete Yang Shu-chun (楊淑君) at this year’s Asian Games in Guangzhou, China.

Yang was leading her Vietnamese opponent 9-0 during her first-round bout in the women’s taekwondo under-49kg weight division on Nov. 17 when she was disqualified.

World Taekwondo Federation secretary-general Yang Jin-suk, who did not have any role in the actual decision but served as the main spokesman for the taekwondo world, told a press conference that Yang Shu-chun was disqualified for wearing extra sensors on her socks in an apparent attempt to score more points, which he said was an act of cheating.

Video evidence and witness accounts show that Yang had taken off the sensors before the competition started.

The task force, which includes the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Justice and the Sports Affairs Council, was not sure whether the CAS would have jurisdiction over the case and what remedy it would seek, said Sung Yao-ming (宋耀明), a lawyer hired by the government to handle the case.

The CAS is tasked with handling sports disputes, but “we should first clarify whether this case fits the definition of a ‘sports dispute,’” Sung said.

“We are now waiting for further information from a Swiss-based lawyer who is familiar with sports arbitration matters to better assess our next move,” he said, adding that the decision “should come within days.”

However, it appears that Taiwan is not likely to file a lawsuit against taekwondo officials in a Guangzhou court, as Sung had suggested earlier.

Citing an interpretation by China’s Supreme People’s Court during the 2008 Beijing Olympics stating that the court did not accept sports-related lawsuits, Sung said that a Guangzhou court could reject the case for the same reason.

Yang Shu-chun’s disqualification had ignited public outrage and triggered some anti-South Korean protests in Taiwan. Some Taiwanese directed their anger over Yang’s disqualification at South Korea because the technical official who disqualified Yang was a Philippine national of Korean descent and Yang Jin-suk, who gave inconsistent explanations of why Yang Shu-chun was disqualified, is a South Korean-born US citizen.

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) described the incident as “unfair” and damaging to Taiwanese national pride.

Sports Affairs Council Minister Tai Hsia-ling (戴遐齡) said that while Taiwanese fans and the government could not accept the accusations against Yang Shu-chun, the task force would appeal the case via legal channels.

“We’re going to approach this dispute in the same way we were trained on the sports field — to play by the rules,” Tai said.

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