Northern Mystics shooter Cathrine Latu has been refused the opportunity to play for New Zealand in the upcoming Netball World Championships, after the Court of Arbitration in Sport ruled against Netball New Zealand's appeal on her behalf.
Under current IFNA regulations, Latu, who played for Samoa in the last World Championships in 2007, is ineligible to play for New Zealand in 2011, as she will not have completed a four year international “stand down” period at that time. However, Netball New Zealand appealed IFNA's decision on the grounds that a precedent was set at the 2007 competition when Vilaimaina Davu was allowed to play for and coach Fiji, despite lining up for the Silver Ferns in 2003.
Netball New Zealand requested that IFNA exercise discretion in favour of Latu on the basis of hese exceptional circumstances, but this request was denied in March 2009 and again in October 2009. According to the CAS Arbitration Rules, an appeal against a Federation ruling must be submitted within 21 days of receipt of the decision. The appeal in this case was filed in December 2010 and the CAS determined this week that the case was inadmissible as it was submitted out of time.
Since the CAS decision is final and binding on both parties, IFNA's decision to refuse to exercise discretion in favour of Latu stands, and accordingly she will not be eligible to play for New Zealand in Singapore in July 2011. IFNA spokesperson Urvasi Naidoo, IFNA's Chief Executive Officer, commented: “At IFNA, we are glad that the case has now been resolved and that the international netball community can now concentrate fully on preparations for the Singapore competition.”
Meanwhile, Latu, 24, commented: “I knew Netball New Zealand did everything they could and I'm just so grateful for that. It's heartbreaking now, but the Silver Ferns will be fine and I'm pretty sure they'll take the cup.”