Comment of the EEF president on the FEI Sports Forum 2019
17.04.2019 - The community takes its responsibilities
After two days of the FEI Sports Forum (15-16th of April 2019) with the disciplines Endurance and Reining in its center of attention, it can be concluded that the equestrian sports community is taking its response to the existing challenges in these two disciplines.
A difficulty common to both disciplines seems to be the lacking enforcement of the rules in place on one hand and the need of adaptation at a certain point of the latter on the other. Consequently an appropriate system of sanctions is of utmost importance.
Positively noted was the close cooperation of the temporary technical committee of the FEI together with different stakeholders, whereas the points and recommendations the endurance working group established by the EEF had brought forward to a meeting with the FEI in February 2019 were taken into account and highly valued. Moreover it was remarkable that a significant time of the forum’s program was dedicated to an open discussion. Whilst the technical committee has proofed to have approached the problems of in a integral way, their analysis put forward a plan of 15 recommendations in order to improve and innovate the endurance discipline. Field of actions: qualification of horses and athletes, education of officials and correct application of rules. The departments which have been mainly addressed are the Legal, the Veterinarian and the one of Education. It was satisfying to assist to the confrontation of a sports community being able calling a spade a spade, to wit admitting the existence of cases of corruption, fraud and doping.
The expulsion of these disciplines out of the FEI governing body has not been announced; as rumors in the forefront of the forum have let adumbrate. Nevertheless, pressure to put forward solutions and improvements and to hold the players responsible for irregularities and breaches to account has ulteriorly risen. Certainly there shall be a prioritization of the next steps.
The forum has been complemented with sessions of gender equality, a progress report of Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games and a review of the Legal system. Whilst the gender equality discussions has put its focus on the governing bodies in our sport, the outline might have not made enough allowance for the widely recognized gender equality in our sport deriving from the fact that women and men compete together. During the review of the legal system it was first and foremost the pony measurements that have made feelings running high. It has to be seen if the presented improvements in measuring technologies promise the end of polemics around border cases for the necessary distinction between ponies and horses for a fair sport.
Watch the entire replay on the following links:
- Session 1: Gender equality
- Session 2: Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games
- Session 3: Review of the legal system
- Session 4: Future of Reining
- Session 5: Endurance – Qualification of horses and athletes: Reducing welfare risks
- Session 6: Endurance – Educating officials and correct application of rules
- Session 7: Endurance – Improvement and innovations to reshape Endurance
All supporting documents of the sessions are available to download here