EEF General Assembly 2021

28. Oct 2021 / Category: Press Release

The EEF General Assembly 2021: new 1st Vice President and new board member, strategic outlook and organisational development

On 26 and 27 October, the European Equestrian Federation met in Vienna for its General Assembly - in hybrid form. Of the 38 members, 28 were present - including proxies – and 7 participated online.

The major take-aways from the General Assembly 2021 were:

Election of the 1st Vice President:
George Dimaras (GRE), serving at the EEF board since 2012, was elected 1st Vice President.

New board member:
The position left vacant by George Dimaras, was filled by Simone Perillo (ITA) after an election process of three rounds.

Presentation of the strategic plan:
Soenke Lauterbach (GER), board member and chair of the working group “strategic planning”, presented the strategic plan 2022-2026 outlining its mission statement to ensure a sustainable European Equestrian Sport with horse welfare as paramount element of it. The three priorities to lead, develop and promote the European Equestrian Sport and the respective course of actions were specified.

Presentation of Longines EEF Series:
George Dimaras (GRE) emphasized the understanding of the EEF Series as a “development tool” appealing to all stakeholders of the European Equestrian community and promoting upcoming teams in this important competition format. Moreover, the current layout of the season 2022 had been presented.

Honorary membership for Andrew Finding and Armagan Özgörkey:
both long serving board members had been honoured with an award and became honorary members in recognition of their achievements.


The General Assembly, held on Wednesday, 27. October, formalities were efficiently tackled and the reports of the board of directors were approved without any discussion. When coming to the financial reports, the Assembly started to become more interactive. It was observed that one hand the sponsoring contributions would decrease progressively in the rolling three-year annual budget, whilst on the other hand the membership fees increased. The EEF president emphasized that in order to meet the expectations of its member Federations, becoming more and more a body managing actively sports products and improving development and the lobbying work within EU and FEI, an increase of the membership fees was only consequent. As for the sponsorship money, the decrease was due simply to the fact that the prolongation of the agreement with the current partner was being negotiated. A major step in the organisational development of the European Equestrian Federation was also announced with the employment of a Sports Development Manager as of 2022. A gain out of the FEI Solidarity Programme.
After the formal agenda topics, it was certainly the presentation of the EEF strategic plan 2022 – 2026 by board member Soenke Lauterbach, that was of major importance at this year´s General Assembly. The Strategic Plan being the output of the working group “Strategic Planning”, chaired by Lauterbach, outlined the major priorities, which are to lead, to develop and to promote the European Equestrian Sport and its respective objectives. First, it was once more underlined that horse welfare must be paramount in all actions of the EEF. After harsh criticisms of arguable scenes and images of horse welfare at the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo, the members agreed that the animal welfare was more than ever the key element to secure a sustainable Equestrian sport. The second element that provoked an animated debate was undoubtedly the EEF´s ambition to elaborate a plan in close cooperation with the FEI to finally manage European and Regional Championships and Series. It was further outlined that it was surely not an end in itself to take over the management from the FEI, but to create an added value to the European stakeholders through a close monitoring of the respective needs and developments within the European territory.  
George Dimaras, board member and chair of the EEF´s Jumping working group, presented the review on the Longines EEF Series 2021. He emphasized that the Series was not just a “show like another”, but a crucial part of the EEF´s development tools, aiming at engaging the whole European Equestrian community with all its stakeholders. The report showed that the Series succeeded thanks to the fundamental role of the organizers that implemented the shows under adverse conditions of the Covid pandemic. 42 National Federations had been invited (including FEI wildcards), of whom 28 did take actually part in the series. Dimaras outlined the planned rule changes and the layout of the planning 2022.
When it came to the election of the 1st vice president, the voting members had the remaining two candidates, current EEF board member, George Dimaras, Greece, and Peter Bollen ported by the Belgium Federation available after the withdrawals of the candidates Soenke Lauterbach, Germany and Simone Perillo, Italy. According to the statutes the 1st Vice-President George Dimaras was voted by a required 2/3 quorum (min. 24 votes) with actual 30 out of the 36 possible votes. Dimaras, Greek attorney at law, is EEF board member since 2012, chairing the EEF Jumping working group since 2018. When exposing his motivation to run for the position he was expressing his confidence to “bring together all NFs in the EEF, large and small, and represent them in an inclusive, integrative and mutually beneficial manner for the NFs, their riders and the stakeholders”.
With George Dimaras elected as 1st Vice-President, a vacancy was opened within the board. After a short presentation of each candidate, Cayetano Martínez de Irujo (ESP), Simone Perillo (ITA), Tore Sannum (NOR) and Peter Bollen (BEL), it was Simone Perillo elected as new EEF board member in the third round with 19 votes (19 are being required for the majority). Perillo´s motivation being “to offer a positive contribution to the development of the European Equestrian Federation thanks to his sport and professional experience. In particular leveraging on the success of the first edition of the Longines EEF Series” and moreover, “to offer the capability of reaching high-level compromise positions and further energy to support all EEF Members, increasing the sense of community and the influence of the European equestrian community worldwide”.
These ambitions were actually reflecting the EEF´s mission and were congruent with the President´s closing remarks on the strategic goals to lead the European Equestrian Community to speak whenever possible with “one voice” when confronted with the other stakeholders worldwide and to develop the organisation of the EEF itself enabling it to safeguard the Equestrian sport with the horse as its partner and promoting its benefits for society.