Suspension by DP World Tour held in abeyance pending outcome of appeal
Following a hearing before His Honour Judge Phillip Sycamore CBE, it was decided that DP World Tour players such as Ian Pouter would be permitted to play this week at the Genesis Scottish Open in North Berwick later this week. An application was sought, seeking temporary relief from the suspension by the DP World Tour, of its players that sought to play LIV Golf events.
While no formal reasons for decision have been handed down to the public at the time of writing, the DP World Tour issued a statement from Keith Pelley, Chief Executive of the DP World Tour expressing disappointment in the interim ruling.
“Out of respect for JP and Noreen McManus, their wonderful Pro-Am and the outstanding fundraising they undertake on behalf of charities in the west of Ireland, I will not be giving a detailed response on this matter right now. I will simply say we are disappointed by the outcome of today’s hearing, but will abide by the decision. It is important to remember however this is only a stay of the sanctions imposed, pending the hearing of the players’ appeal as to whether those sanctions were appropriate.”
Attempts to reach Ian Poulter for comments were not returned at the time of writing. However, it has been reported by BBC Sport that Poulter had told them that he was “fighting for his right to play golf” and that he remained committed to the European Tour. “My commitment to the European Tour has been there since day one. And its still there today. I’m proud of playing so often, when it was to the detriment of world ranking points and FedEx Cup points I could have earned playing more in America.”
The arbitrator hearing the interim matter was His Honour Judge Phillip Sycamore CBE, who was appointed by Sport Resolutions (UK). The Judge was a senior member of the U.K. judiciary, serving on the bench for much of the past 30 years. He retired from his positions as the Deputy Vice-President of Tribunals, President (First-tier Tribunal Health, Education and Social Care Chamber) and as a Circuit Judge in April 2020. Sport Resolutions (UK) is an independent and not-for-profit resolution service that offers mediation, arbitration, and tribunal services to sports operating globally.
The decision handed down today is a temporary measure intended to stay the suspensions of Ian Poulter and others so that they can continue to play and earn until the full matter can be considered. The relief granted is often known as injunctive relief and is only temporary and not permanent.
Lawyer Kyla Lee, a lawyer in British Columbia, Canada told the World of Golf that injunctive relief “is an order that allows either the status quo to remain in place to prevent an action that's going to be taken from being undertaken, while the merits of a claim are being considered, or restore something to the way that it was before.”
But she is cautious, pointing out that simply because a party is granted injunctive relief, it is not an indication as to how a court, arbitrator, or tribunal will rule on the main matter.
“It doesn't signal which way things are intending to go. Usually, in determining whether to grant injunctive relief, courts look at three factors: whether or not there's a serious issue that has to be determined; the balance of convenience – whether it's more prejudicial or harmful disproportionately to one party to grant the relief or not. And irreparable harm – whether somebody would suffer harm that could not be repaired if the relief was not granted. So, in a case (where) somebody who wants to play in a tournament, the tournament is only going to happen on the dates it's scheduled for. So, if the injunctive relief isn't granted, (while the courts consider the main matter) then they lose that opportunity, and they're never going to get that opportunity back again.”
Lee also cautions that the interim ruling coming out of the United Kingdom in the Poulter matter may have very limited scope in its application and is generally limited to those players based in the U.K. and playing on the DP World Tour.
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