20.11.2019 - EEF review on FEI General Assembly 2019
EEF review on FEI General Assembly 2019
The FEI General Assembly 2019 in Moscow was well attended with 91 present member federations and 29 proxies.
The attention brought to this year’s FEI General Assembly not only by the equestrian community but the broad public was very much focused on the awaited actions responding to the experienced deficits within the discipline Endurance and the future of Reining as an FEI discipline, besides the general rules revision.
Firstly, as for Endurance, the approval by a vast majority of the Endurance rules (with approved amendments) for 2020 at the ordinary General Assembly by the international delegates can be judged as a strong signal and big step forward regarding the protection of the welfare of the horse and the strengthening of clean and fair sport.
In preparation of the FEI General Assembly the European endurance working group, chaired by Quentin Simonet (FRA), had been in close exchange with the Temporary Endurance Committee, chaired by Dr. Sarah Coombs (GBR), and giving important contributions to European opinion making and elaboration of a European standpoint. The EEF proposals submitted were the result of months’ work and deliberation in 2019 between all EEF NFs, stakeholders and experts, they were thoroughly presented and debated during the GA Group sessions and were approved at the GA by clear majority, consisting of EEF and non-EEF NFs, a sign of broad acceptance in the equestrian community.
The rules which have been approved on, have set new limits to minimum weight of the athletes for CEI2* events and Junior and Young Rider events, since it was agreed that no or a too low minimum weight requirement would open a potentially dangerous room of manoeuvre for maximizing speed by minimizing weight. Moreover, general consensus among the European national federations could be found regarding the qualification requirements from cEI1* to Championships. Considerations and efforts in that context have been to keep the discipline sufficiently universal and therefore accessible for more than just the very top performing national federations of the discipline but nevertheless suitable for the different sports performing levels.
When it came to express an opinion about the moment of implementation of the new rules, the European federations have largely agreed on being in favor of a partial implementation of the rules by earliest possible moment, i.e. by January 1st of 2020 and a postponement of some specific rules which the ETC and the FEI board had been mandated to identify where some further administrative and technical clarifications and developments will have to be undertaken and realized to 1st of July 2020.
The EEF has nevertheless pointed out to the fact that in addition to the rules themselves, the integrity of all the stakeholders involved is of paramount importance when it comes to the enforcement of the set rules and the guide lining control policy regarding the FEI anti-doping rules.
Secondly, the EEF has unanimously agreed on supporting the remaining of Reining as a FEI discipline. It was Secretary General, Sabrina Ibañez, who brought a positive message already at the occasion of the regional meetings beforehand the votings reporting that the dialogue between FEI and NRHA has been reactivated and a general agreement had been found. Sven Friesecke (SUI), chair of the FEI Reining committee, had underlined that the European federations represent two thirds of the actively practicing countries and that the European positioning in that matter was of high importance. The voting at the ordinary General Assembly then confirmed Reining as a FEI discipline.
Thirdly, the FEI’s proposal to revise Articles 103 and 108 gave cause for serious concern during the months prior to the General Assembly. The proposal had foreseen to accord the FEI the authority of allocation of the “O-Status” – being the basic condition for hosting the team competition Nations Cup – of CIOs at top level instead of the National Federations. At the regional meeting, FEI President, Ingmar de Vos, had explained the FEI’s motivation to propose such a change with its ambition of promoting and strengthening the Nations Cup, as FEI Series. The European federations have opposed to this proposal in unanimous manner, since they felt their sovereignty endangered. In consequence the proposal had been withdrawn from the General Assembly’s voting items by the FEI.
As for the Longines EEF Series, the respective rules had been approved by the delegates along with the revision of the FEI Jumping Rules. This step marks a new beginning for Nations Cup competitions in Europe with the launch of the Longines EEF Series in 2020. The idea to replace the former Europe Division II with a format focusing on the development of sports, along with organizers and officials across the European territory was first proposed by the EEF Working Group Jumping, chaired by George Dimaras (GRE), in the beginning of 2019. With the guidance of the EEF Board and the EEF Series WG, the valuable co-operation of the FEI and the support of Longines, it is now becoming reality.
Lastly, when it came to elections and appointments, the European Equestrian Federation had acknowledged with satisfaction a good representation of European candidates on the different technical and standing committees of the FEI, reflecting the strong competencies and knowledge present in the European territory and responding to the efforts of regional diversity of the FEI’s staff and volunteers.