The Court of Arbitration for Sport dismissed a request for an urgent appeal today from Amaury Leveaux and Aurore Mongel, of France, seeking eleventh-hour approval to use their TYR B8 swimsuits in racing at Rome world titles when eight days of action gets underway at the Foro Italico tomorrow.
"The court has dismissed the request for provisional measures," CAS secretary general Matthieu Reeb AP. "We do not have the full reasons yet but we wanted to inform the parties as soon as possible."
The limitations of CAS are exposed in their latest decision. The fact is that there is serious doubt that difference exists between the Jaked01 and the TYR suit and the arena X-Glide and the Descente Aquaforce Zero when it comes down to the issue of "air trapping". The Jaked01, made by one of the sponsors of Rome 2009, got back in the race pool on June 19 on the basis of the "science" of an air pump in a dry room. The suit's "rivals" were told to modify their apparel, even though there was the same "sufficient" doubt over air trapping.
FINA's short-lived affair with science was disastrous and proved to federations around the world that the international federation has to take a different line on suits: simplicity, a return to textile and a cut back in profile.
Reeb said the case could still be heard eventually. Pointless in terms of events in Rome, of course.
The decision was made individually by CAS president Mino Auletta, an Italian lawyer. Critics will doubtless point out that CAS might have been wiser to place the decision in the hands of a non-Italian, given the sensitivity of issues at the heart of suit wars.
In Rome today questions are being raised about Italian team kit. There is little question that the five sponsors plastered on the equipment breaks FINA rules. But will anyone do anything about it?
All of this will be somewhat irrelevant in the near future, given that bodysuits of all kinds will be banned from January 1, 2010.
But over the next eight days in Rome, few will utter the words 'level playing field' without having their tongue firmly pressed in their cheek.