FEI Tribunal Dismisses Athlete Appeals on Villeneuve-Loubet Decision

An appeal against the FEI decision to annul results from competitions held in France where Olympic and Longines Ranking points were on offer has been dismissed by the FEI Tribunal.

The appeals by Sri Lanka’s Mathilda Karlsson and Romanian athlete Andrea Herck, which were consolidated by the FEI Tribunal, resulted from the international governing body’s decision in February of this year to retrospectively remove six competitions from three FEI Jumping Events held in Villeneuve-Loubet in December 2019 and a further six competitions from three events at the same venue in January 2020.

The decision was based on the findings from an investigation launched by the FEI after concerns were raised about the integrity of these events. The investigation established that, contrary to the FEI Rules (Article 110.2.3 of the FEI General Regulations), two competitions counting for the Olympic and Longines Rankings were added at each of the three December 2019 events after the respective Definite Entries deadlines. The updated Schedules for these events were submitted by the French National Federation and were mistakenly approved by the FEI.

As a result, and in accordance with Article 112.3 of the FEI General Regulations, the FEI retrospectively removed these additional competitions, meaning that athletes who participated lost their ranking points from these competitions. The decision meant that the Olympic and Longines Rankings were updated, resulting in Mathilda Karlsson dropping from second to seventh in the Group G Olympic Rankings and Sri Lanka losing its Olympic individual quota slot.

Additionally, the FEI established that three of the six events at Villeneuve-Loubet in January 2020 also had two classes counting for Longines Rankings points added after the Definite Entries deadline, again contrary to the FEI Rules. As a result, these additional competitions were also removed retrospectively and athletes that participated lost their ranking points for these competitions. Andrea Herck’s appeal was based on the loss of Longines Ranking points following the removal of the additional competitions at Villeneuve-Loubet.

In its Final Decision, the Tribunal found that the integrity of the sport had been jeopardised and therefore ruled that “justified circumstances” existed which allowed the FEI Secretary General to make the decision to remove the competitions and annul the Olympic and Longines ranking points from these competitions.

The FEI Tribunal, which is an independent body, ruled that the FEI’s decision of 17 February 2020 to remove the competitions was “rightfully taken” and dismissed the appeals. Each party will pay their own costs in the proceedings.

“This is an important decision to ensure the integrity of the sport, and particularly the Olympic and Longines Rankings,” FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez said.

The parties have 21 days from the date of notification (16 June 2020) to appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

The full Decision is available here.

FEI media contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Communications
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 787 506 142

Olga Nikolaou
Media Relations Officer
olga.nikolaou@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 56

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