Handball controversy headed to Court of Arbitration for Sport showdown

KUWAIT CITY -- The Asian and international handball federations have agreed to take their dispute over replays of Olympic qualifying matches to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, an Asian federation official said Tuesday.

The Asian federation had challenged a ruling by the International Handball Federation, the sport's governing body, that Asian Olympic handball qualifying matches should be replayed following questionable referee decisions. Earlier this month, the Kuwait-based Asian federation fined Japan and South Korea $1,000 each for taking part in the replays.

"We have reached an agreement with the international federation to send the qualifier issue to the international court in Lausanne," said Ahmed Abuallail, the executive director of the Asian federation. He declined to provide any further information.

The qualifiers for the 2008 Beijing Olympics were initially held in September, when referees from Jordan and Iran were brought in at the last minute by the Asian federation to replace German referees. Their disputed calls helped Kuwait win the men's tournament and Kazakhstan the women's event. The Asian federation has denied any match-fixing.

In December, the international federation ordered the qualifiers to be replayed in Tokyo. Only Japan and South Korea took part, and the South Koreans won both the men's and women's matches.