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Handball New Zealand v New Zealand Olympic Committee


NSO attempted to appeal against decision of NZOC – whether Tribunal had jurisdiction to hear matter – if Tribunal had jurisdiction, whether it should exercise jurisdiction to hear matter – from 2004, there were two rival NSOs within sport of handball in NZ- in 2006, NZOC suspended HNZ, the appellant NSO, from membership – neither HNZ nor rival NSO, NZHF, are currently members of NZOC – in subsequent years there were various apparently unsuccessful meetings concerning possibility of combining the two NSOs into one and also a mediation between NZOC and HNZ which did not settle – HNZ then appealed to Tribunal against NZOC decision concerning its suspension – NZOC challenged jurisdiction – Tribunal held it had jurisdiction – HNZ wrongly brought matter as an appeal but due to the mediation procedures previously adopted by parties, the Tribunal was able to treat the matter as a sports-related dispute referred by agreement under Part D of the Tribunal Rules and s38(b)(i) of the Act. Although the Tribunal had jurisdiction to hear matter, it had a discretion whether to exercise that jurisdiction in such matters – after calling for submissions from parties whether it should exercise that discretion, Tribunal adjourned matter until 31 May 2010 in hope HNZ and NZHF could resolve differences and form united organisation – by 31 May there was no immediate prospect of this happening – NZOC rules require a member NSO to demonstrate wide recognition as the governing body for that sport and recognition by an International Federation of that sport that is recognised by the IOC – on the evidence HNZ could not establish it had wide recognition as the governing body for handball in NZ – in June 2009 the International Handball Federation, IHF, resolved to accept NZHF as a full member – whether IHF entitled to register NZHF as member was not a matter for the Tribunal – even if Tribunal could consider validity of NZOC decision to suspend HNZ, Tribunal could not make a decision leading to reinstatement of HNZ as member of NZOC because HNZ is not recognised by IHF – no practical relief Tribunal could give – to proceed further would incur cost and not resolve underlying dispute – therefore Tribunal declined to exercise its discretion to hear the matter.

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