EEF Working Group for Jumping sport in Europe (EEF WGJE)

19. May 2022 / Category: News

The following letter was sent to FEI President, Ingmar de Vos on April 1st 2022. The full report can be downloaded below.

EEF Working Group for Jumping sport in Europe (EEF WGJE)

Mr. President, Dear Ingmar,

Zaventem, 01 April 2021

At the end of 2020, during an FEI Board Meeting, our President, Mr. Theo Ploegmakers, expressed to you his concern about a number of issues that we face for the Jumping sport in Europe. You then suggested that “if the EEF felt that there should be a change, then the EEF should come up with a proposal”.

When this was discussed in the EEF Board, it immediately became clear that the EEF should be the one to facilitate an open and unconditional discussion between all stakeholders involved in the Jumping sport in Europe to address all issues of common concern. The decision was to limit the scope of the discussion to the Jumping sport for the beginning, as this is the biggest equestrian discipline in numbers, data and attention. The discussion was to take place in a “round table” format and in a structured and efficient manner, to allow not only to identify the issues at their actual dimensions, but also to conclude in realistic and viable recommendations that will apply to and form the future of the sport.

Hence, the EEF Board formed the “EEF Working Group for Jumping Sport in Europe – EEF WGJS”. In order to achieve the desired multi-sided approach and acceptance, the EEF decided not to follow the usual path of inviting individual experts, but to send formal invitations to the institutions representing the respective stakeholders in the Jumping sport in Europe, and more specifically :

1. the FEI Executive Board
2. the FEI Jumping Committee
3. the JOC
4. the IJRC
5. the IJOC
6. the EO
7. the Chefs d’ Equipes (dully represented)

The above representatives accepted enthusiastically and, along with the EEF President as Chair and two EEF Board members, this made a total number of 10 members, which were later also supported by field, scientific and business experts on an ad hoc basis.

After the Round Table was formed, its members unanimously identified and agreed on the chapters and sub- chapters to be discussed and the time table and other details of the procedure.

The first online meeting was held on March 25th, 2021 and today, after a whole year of deliberations and nine web-meetings, we are excited and honored to present first to you the EEF WGJE Report hereto attached.

Perusing the Report, you will realize that it is touching both on sport and business issues, as well on legal and institutional matters and the role of the different stakeholders, including that of the FEI. This is because, when the Round Table started addressing all matters without any reservations, it became clear that in a sport like ours which involves the horse and related welfare issues, which operates within the global sports system but also in different jurisdictions and cultures, and in which all activities are interconnected and interdependent, the discussion about its future could be comprehensive, useful and sincere only if it dared to challenge everything.

The EEF feels that the EEF WGJE lived up to its mandate and has met the goals and expectations to formulate comprehensive and strategic proposals and recommendations for the future of the Jumping sport in Europe. Because of the Round Table composition, its recommendations enjoy the support of all the stakeholders, hence of the whole equestrian community, in Europe.

As already clarified, this Report is focused in Jumping, however, in principle most of the recommendations can apply the same or with small adjustments also to the other FEI disciplines.

Further, this Report is also focused in Europe. This is not because Europe is special, but because our mandate and work as EEF (FEI Continental Group) is institutionally and geographically restricted. Therefore a Round Table organized by the EEF cannot imply to represent or know the situation or views in other parts of the world. It is for this reason that certain conclusions and recommendations in the Report may not apply to the needs and aspirations of other FEI Groups. With these Round Table recommendations, EEF’s intent is not to dictate, but merely to show what Europe thinks and to invite the rest of the world to also express their opinions. It will then be up to the FEI to compose and combine the approaches and form an accepted mutual strategy for the future, first of the Jumping sport and then of all equestrian sports.

This Report will be properly communicated and published by the EEF in due time. It is the EEF’s firm believe that discussions and Reports like that enhance the support, understanding and co-operation within our community and must become part of an ongoing institutional effort to plan a future of sustainability and long term success for the equestrian sports in the world.

The EEF remains at your disposal to discuss the Report.


Yours sincerely,

Theo Ploegmakers President

George Dimaras Vice-President

CC: EEF Board
Round Table participants

EEF Secretary General