The process of selection captures all the incidences in which an athlete could be selected onto a programme, or for a competition. These events are often critical periods within a sport’s programmes, and should have clear and accessible policies which explain the process involved. Often, an athlete has the right to appeal non-selection or de-selection. 

The BEAA is closely involved with this process, helping to ensure the integrity of selection decisions by reviewing sport’s policies and by providing independent observers to selection panels. These steps allow for an additional element of transparency within the process.

We help with appeals, too, by advising athletes whether they have grounds to appeal. Regardless of this advice, we will support the athlete through an appeals process should they decide to pursue it. We help to draft the relevant documents and can enable access to pro bono legal advice if required.

The selection and appeals process works best for all parties when it is thoroughly understood, and it is an athlete’s responsibility to ensure they know and understand the details of their relevant policies.

We regularly run workshops to help athletes understand the selection and appeals processes and can advise our members further if they reach out to us. To help as many athletes feel as prepared as possible, we’ve also shared some general advice below. It should only be seen as a brief guide; generally, it’s best to reach out and speak with us if you have any questions.

Remember, if you’re an elite British athlete and you need support with a selection concern and/or an appeal, our expert support team can provide independent advice. Reach out when you need to via:

Selection: general tips

  1. Selection policies state the criteria and requirements for selection. Every sport is different. Ensure you have the most up to date copy – this will be on your sport’s website.
  2. It is your responsibility to have a comprehensive understanding of your sport’s selection policy and criteria so you can understand performance expectations and targets.
  3. It’s important to have open and honest conversations along the way; non-selection or deselection should not come as a surprise.
  4. Selection can be a stressful and emotive time for everyone: athletes, coaches and support staff.

Typical selection policies

The contents of the selection policy will vary from sport to sport. Typically, they will include the below topics:

  1. Introduction
  2. Selection aims
    Eg: your policy aim might be to select those who might medal at the event, to gain tournament exposure, or to gain quota spots.
  3. Eligibility
    Eg: you might need to be a certain age or hold a passport. You might need to follow certain codes of conduct, meet a minimum entry standard, be compliant with UKAD/WADA rules, or hold a certain classification status.
  4. Selection criteria/rounds/phases/framework
    There may be different rounds, and different criteria for team or individual sports.
    Other criteria may include a specific skill or former achievement, your world ranking, or current form.
  5. Selection panel
  6. Communication of selection
  7. Reserves and deselection
  8. Appeals
  9. Data protection
  10. Acknowledgement
  11. Appendices: Could include minimum standards etc

It is vital that you understand every element of your selection policy. If you don’t, ask for help.

The selection meeting

Selection meeting dates are published in advance and you should know when they are taking place.

There will be a selection panel, usually made up of:

  • An independent chair
  • Performance Director/Lead
  • Coaches
  • Relevant sport science personnel
  • Relevant medical personnel
  • An independent observer (often from the BEAA)
  • Any other persons the sport think are necessary

You should have a clear understanding of the timings and means of communication for when the selection decision is confirmed. This allows you to anticipate the communication and manage the associated emotions.

It also means you’ll be aware of when the appeal window has opened (the time during which you can make an appeal).

Appeals: general tips

  1. An appeals process is a mechanism to challenge the outcome of a selection meeting in which you believe there has been a departure from the process in the selection policy.
  2. If you think you might need to make an appeal, you must come to the BEAA as soon as possible. Sports have different deadlines for appeals.
  3. An appeals process is not an opportunity to raise concerns around the contents of a selection policy or challenge a decision because you disagree with it.
  4. An athlete can sometimes request redacted notes/minutes from the selection meeting. If available, this is advisable as it may inform the decision, although NGBs are not legally required to comply.

Typical appeals policies

The contents of the selection policy will vary from sport to sport. Typically, they will include the below topics:

  1. Introduction
  2. Parties
  3. Timeline
    Make sure you know your sport’s timeline (this will likely vary for each selection decision).
  4. Notification of selection
  5. Request for notes
  6. Grounds of appeal
    There are typically four grounds on which an athlete could base their appeal. It is up to the sport how many of these they include in their policy:
    1. The decision was not made in accordance with the criteria set out in the membership policy or selection policy;
    2. The selection panel has shown bias or the appearance of bias; and/or
    3. The conclusion is one that no reasonable selection panel could have made.
    4. There is a material error of fact which has been taken into consideration during the selection process.
  7. How to appeal
    The BEAA can help you draft your notice to appeal. You must appeal within the correct window, so reach out to us at the first available chance.
  8. Appeal panel
    The appeal panel will consist of independent members who were not involved in the original selection decision.
    The appeal process might allow for the panel to seek further information from the NGB in response to your notice of appeal.
    The appeal panel will seek to reach its conclusion within a set timeframe and will inform all interested parties once a decision has been made.
  9. Third parties
  10. Hearing
  11. Remedies
  12. Confidentiality
  13. Costs

It is up to NGBs whether they charge a fee for an appeal. The cost is typically refunded if the appeal is successful.

Appeal outcome

‘Winning’, or having your appeal upheld, does not automatically overturn or reverse a decision. It means the appeal panel feels you have grounds for the decision to be looked at again: 

The appeal panel has the power to:  

  1. Reject the appeal (this decision is final)
  2. Resubmit the decision to a selection panel (uphold the appeal)

The decision of the selection panel post-appeal is final. In almost all sports there are no rights to appeal this decision.


  • Most appeals processes will have a confidentiality clause.
  • It is vital that you do not share the elements of your appeal with others, including your own submission, as well as any other minutes or details pertaining to the appeal.
  • This ensures integrity of the process.

The role of the BEAA

It’s important that you come to us as soon as possible if you are considering an appeal to ensure you don’t miss the deadline. Contact us via:

We will provide a safe space for an athlete to discuss their selection decision.

Where time permits, we can facilitate a meeting between the athlete and their sport to support their understanding of the decision.

To the best of our knowledge, we will provide advice on their grounds of appeal. We are completely transparent with athletes, and if we do not believe they have grounds for appeal, we make this clear.

The allocated Athlete Support Manager will support athletes through their appeal should they choose to submit one.

If appropriate, the BEAA can refer an athlete to our partner Sports Resolutions UK for pro bono legal support.

Athlete advice

Selection and appeals: Advice for athletes

General advice for athletes on the selection and appeals process. Reach out to the BEAA for more support.
May 7, 2024
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