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FEI General Assembly Votes in Favour of Olympic and Paralympic Rule Changes

Aki Murasato, Executive Director of International Relations with the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee. (Richard Juilliart/FEI)

Tokyo (JPN), 22 November 2016 – The FEI General Assembly has voted overwhelmingly in favour of the proposed format changes for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo 2020, which will now go to the IOC Executive Board for final approval in 2017.

Under the new proposals, the number of athletes in national teams will be reduced to three, and the drop score, which previously allowed for a team’s worst score to be discarded, will be removed. The use of a reserve combination for teams will remain in place, but will be even more important and will be a key element in ensuring horse welfare.

A total of 11 of National Federations, out of 107 represented, voted against the proposal – Albania, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Latvia, Luxembourg, Monaco, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Romania and Switzerland.

Voting on the proposed sport-specific changes to the three individual Olympic disciplines – Jumping, Dressage and Eventing – was unanimously in favour.

The vote on the Paralympic formats saw one National Federation – Great Britain – against the proposed changes.

“This was a really important vote for the future of our sport if we are to increase universality in accordance with the recommendations of Olympic Agenda 2020,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said after the vote.

“We need to increase the number of participating nations at the Olympic Games but within our existing quota of 200. Reducing team members to three per nation was probably the only way to boost the number of flags. Of course this now has to be approved by the IOC, but it opens the door to countries that previously could only see the Olympics as a distant dream.

“There were some National Federations that didn’t agree with the proposal, but that’s all part of the democratic process. Now we need to work together to make this a success.”

The proposed changes are detailed below:

Jumping

  • Teams of three horse/athlete combinations per nation, plus one reserve combination, no drop score
  • 20 teams (60 horse/athlete combinations)
  • 15 slots for nations not qualified with a team (maximum one horse/athlete combination per nation)
  • Individual event will now take place before Team event
  • Cut-off score: the exact cut-off and resulting penalty will be finalised in the Olympic Regulations
  • The exact penalty for any horse/athlete combination that is eliminated, or does not complete their round for any reason, will be finalised in the Olympic Regulations

Dressage

  • Teams of three horse/athlete combinations per nation, no drop score
  • Each directly qualified team may bring a reserve rider/horse combination, or horse only
  • One individual per nation not represented by a qualified team (no composite teams)
  • Determine Team medals solely through results of Grand Prix Special (no longer a combination of Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special scores)
  • Introduce new “heat system” (including “lucky losers”) for Grand Prix: 18 individuals to qualify from Grand Prix to Grand Prix Freestyle (best two from each of the 6 heats, plus the next 6 with the best overall results)
  • 8 top teams (24 starters) from Grand Prix to qualify for Grand Prix Special
  • Introduce new system for starting order in Grand Prix
  • Conduct Grand Prix Special to music

Eventing

  • Teams of three horse/athlete combinations per nation, no drop score
  • One reserve combination per team will be allowed. The reserve combination is an important element of the proposal in order to preserve horse welfare. If a reserve combination is substituted, it will incur a penalty for the team. The exact penalty will be finalised in the Olympic Regulations
  • Maximum of two individuals per nation not represented by a team
  • Order of tests to remain unchanged (1st Dressage; 2nd Cross Country; 3rd Jumping Team; 4th Jumping Individual)
  • Olympic Eventing to take place over three days (Dressage test reduced to one day)
  • Technical level of the three tests to be defined as the “Olympic level”: Dressage and Jumping 4*; Cross Country: 10-minute optimum time, 45 jumping efforts, and 3* technical difficulty
  • Qualification of athletes/horses to be achieved on the same Cross Country technical level to ensure implementation of the recommendations of the FEI Independent Audit in Eventing
  • For the purpose of the Team classification only: any horse/athlete combinations not completing a test can continue to the next test if accepted as fit to compete at the relevant Horse Inspection
  • For the purpose of the Team classification only: penalties for the non-completion of a test for any reason, Dressage =100 points, Cross Country = 150, Jumping = 100
  • Rules for the Individual event remain unchanged

Para-Equestrian Dressage

  • Teams of three horse/athlete combinations per nation, no drop score
  • Each directly qualified team is entitled to bring four horse/athlete combinations, of which three will have to be declared to compete on the team after the Individual Championships test, in which all four will compete as Individuals.
  • Maximum of two individuals per nation not represented by a team (no composite teams)
  • Determine Team medals solely through results of Team test (no longer a combination of Team and Individual test scores)
  • Top 8 per grade from the Individual test to qualify for the Freestyle test
  • Order of tests: Individual Championship test, Team test, Freestyle
  • Team test to be set to music

FEI President Focuses on Unique Qualities of Equestrian Sport at FEI General Assembly

FEI President Ingmar De Vos opened the FEI General Assembly in the Japanese capital Tokyo, delivering the keynote address to almost 300 delegates and focusing on the unique qualities of equestrian sport.

“We all agree that we have the greatest sport on earth and this is for many reasons,” the FEI President said. “We excel when it comes to gender equality, but what makes our sport so great is the unique bond between human and animal, between man and horse. But it is this same unique value which makes our sport vulnerable.

“With the growth of our sport grows also our responsibility to continuously ensure the welfare of our athletes in order to safeguard the integrity of the sport at all times.

“We need to insist on a strict application of our rules. They need to be transparent, clear and not open for interpretation. We need to be irreproachable in our stance and our outlook. These are big challenges.

“There are organisations – increasing in number – that are of the opinion that horses should not be competed or even ridden!

“We need to show them – and the world – that we are not only dedicated to horse welfare but that we are the leaders in that domain. And we also need to educate – to show just how much we do and how committed the equestrian community is to horse welfare. Ignorance creates fear. So we need to show that a true partnership is about trust and respect so that we can bridge that gap and bring people closer to our sport.”

During a packed morning agenda, delegates voted on a number of important issues, including the Olympic and Paralympic format change proposals (see FEI press release here), formats for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 and other sport specific matters. Full details of the main decisions made at the FEI General Assembly 2016 are here.

The afternoon featured a series of presentations, including an update on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games from Aki Murasato, Executive Director of International Relations with the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee.

Mark Bellissimo, creator of the Tryon International Equestrian Center, also addressed delegates, providing an update on the venue that was earlier this month announced as the host for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018.

Speaking directly to the FEI President, Mark Bellissimo said: “We want to let you know that we appreciate how important this event is to the FEI, and how important it is both for us as organisers and the community that we work within. We will do our best not to let you down.”

Nai Yue Ho (SIN), outgoing Chair of FEI Regional Group VIII, who was celebrating his birthday, was made an Honorary Bureau Member of the FEI. And prior to closing remarks, the FEI President thanked the Japan Equestrian Federation (JEF) for their hospitality, commenting on the fact that it had been 25 years since the FEI General Assembly had been held in Tokyo, and in the same hotel. He then made a presentation to Tsunekazu Takeda, President of the Japanese Olympic Committee and Vice-President of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, and to JEF Secretary General Dr Yasuhiko Haruta, who also collected a special plaque on behalf of JEF President Dr Genshitsu Sen.

In his closing address, the FEI President said: “This was a very important General Assembly. We took crucial decisions for the future of our sport and I understand that not everybody was happy, but we followed a very democratic process and in the end there was a clear majority. There are no winners or losers in this debate. These new formats give us a huge responsibility and failure is not an option, so we need to work together with all our stakeholders to prepare for Tokyo 2020.”

Timeline for finalisation of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic formats:

February 2017 – FEI proposals go to the IOC Executive Board
May 2017 – IOC Programme Commission make recommendations to the IOC Executive Board
July 2017 – IOC Executive Board decides on events and quotas
November 2017 – FEI General Assembly in Montevideo (URU) finalises the proposal for qualification procedures (quota distribution and eligibility)

FEI Media Contacts:

At FEI General Assembly, Tokyo:

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

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

At FEI headquarters, Lausanne (SUI):

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Leanne Williams
Manager Press Relations
leanne.williams@fei.org
+41 79 314 24 38

Olympic 2020 City Tokyo to Host FEI General Assembly 2016

Lausanne (SUI), 17 March 2016 – Tokyo, host city for the 2020 Olympic Games, has given the best possible endorsement for equestrian sport by inviting the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) to hold its General Assembly in the Japanese capital in November 2016.

The allocation of the 2016 FEI General Assembly to Tokyo was approved by the FEI Bureau during its monthly teleconference this week. The FEI Bureau also allocated the 2017 General Assembly to Montevideo (URU).

“It’s an honour to have Olympic city Tokyo as our hosts for the 2016 FEI General Assembly,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said. “We are already looking forward to being in Japan for the 2020 Olympic Games and it couldn’t be more appropriate to be going to Tokyo as our National Federations will be voting on changes to our discipline formats for the 2020 Games at this year’s General Assembly.

“Those format changes and the FEI’s close involvement in the delivery of the Games are all part of the FEI’s compliance with the IOC recommendations contained in Agenda 2020. It’s absolutely fitting that Tokyo is part of that story and, along with our community, is able to witness our commitment to Agenda 2020 before the FEI presents its proposals to the IOC at the end of the year. It will also give us a great opportunity to get a flavour of what the 2020 Olympic Games will be like.”

“It is a great honour to be appointed as the host National Federation of the FEI General Assembly 2016 here in Tokyo. As we continue preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, hosting the General Assembly here is extremely important for us. We will welcome our FEI equestrian family in true hospitable Japanese tradition – we are really looking forward to seeing everyone in Tokyo,” said Japan Equestrian Federation President Genshitsu Sen.

The 2016 General Assembly will be held in Tokyo from 18-22 November. Dates for the 2017 General Assembly in Montevideo are still to be confirmed.

FEI Media Contacts:

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

FEI General Assembly Concludes in Puerto Rico

FEI General Assembly 2015 in full session on 13 November 2015 in San Juan, Puerto Rico (PUR). FEI/Richard Juilliart.

San Juan (PUR), 13 November 2015 – The final day of the FEI General Assembly 2015 took place in San Juan (PUR) today, and FEI President Ingmar De Vos opened the day’s proceedings with thanks to the Puerto Rican Equestrian Federation, its President Rosana Roig and her team for the wonderful welcome. This is the second time that the FEI General Assembly has been in Puerto Rico, which previously hosted the annual meeting 18 years ago.

“I believe also this might be the first time an FEI General Assembly has been held on a Friday the 13th, unless anyone else can remember such an occasion,” the FEI President said in his opening address, “but I am not superstitious so I can only assume all will go smoothly and according to plan!”

During the all-day meeting, member National Federations voted on a wide range of topics, which are detailed here. A total of 100 of the 134 member National Federations were represented, 75 in person and 25 by proxy.

Rodrigo Garcia, Rio 2016 Sports Director, gave delegates an update on developments at the Deodoro Olympic Park, the second largest Rio 2016 Games cluster, and home to the Olympic and Paralympic Equestrian Centre. Details included the proximity of the Equestrian Centre to the other sports at Deodoro, Games-time accommodation including the Athletes’ Village, the competition schedule and the success of the Test Event.

Martin Atock of Peden Bloodstock then updated National Federations on biosecurity measures in Rio and the equestrian freight manual.

Delegates were also given the latest information on progress with the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 in Bromont/Montreal (CAN), and heard a presentation from Roly Owers, Chief Executive of the equine charity World Horse Welfare, the FEI’s welfare advisor for more than 30 years.

Once business had been concluded, the FEI President welcomed two new member Federations into the FEI Family by presenting the FEI flag to Angola and Bosnia & Herzegovina.

The President also made a special presentation to outgoing Chair of the Vaulting Committee, Emma Seely (USA), in recognition of her dedication to the discipline during her eight-year term in office. Sergey Buikevich (KAZ), outgoing Chair of FEI Regional Group III, was also honoured for his eight years on the FEI Bureau.

FEI Badges of Honour for National Federation representatives that have attended 15 or more FEI General Assemblies were then presented to six individuals by the FEI President. Recipients of FEI Badges of Honour were Michael Cherry (BER); Robert Fekar (SVK); Andrew Finding (GBR); Sadyr Mamytov (KGZ); Fred Sundwall (FIN) and Betty Wates (JAM).

FEI Media Contacts:

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

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
ruth.grundy@fei.org
+41 787 506 145

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Olympic Formats Take Centre Stage at FEI General Assembly

Olympic formats were the focus of today’s session at the FEI General Assembly in San Juan (PUR), with FEI President Ingmar De Vos (left) leading discussions with National Federations on proposed changes to Olympic competition formats. The three Olympic discipline Chairs, Frank Kemperman (Dressage), John Madden (Jumping) and Giuseppe Della Chiesa (Eventing) detailed the proposals to delegates. (FEI/Richard Juilliart)

Puerto Rico (PUR), 12 November 2015 – Olympic formats were the focus of this afternoon’s session at the FEI General Assembly in San Juan (PUR), with FEI President Ingmar De Vos leading discussions with National Federations on proposed radical changes to Olympic competition formats.

“Olympic Agenda 2020 is a driving force in this process, but even prior to that we already knew that changes needed to be made to our formats and the presentation of our sport,” the FEI President said in his opening address.

“But why do we want to change our formats and the way our sport is presented? The answer is really quite simple, because we want to remain relevant in today’s ever changing sporting landscape and gain the exposure and visibility our sport deserves.

“As the IOC President aptly said at the IOC Session in Monaco last December, ‘to change or to be changed: that is the question’. This is why we are here today: to lead that change.

“We need to take advantage of the excitement and drama of our sport, make it easier to understand, attract young and larger audiences, be broadcast friendly and see more nations represented in our sport.”

Olympic Agenda 2020

In today’s session, the FEI President underlined the implications of Olympic Agenda 2020, and the move from a sport-based to an event-based Olympic programme for Tokyo 2020, before opening the floor to the Olympic equestrian discipline Chairs, John Madden (Jumping), Frank Kemperman (Dressage) and Giuseppe Della Chiesa (Eventing).

John Madden underlined the interest and understanding the IOC President Thomas Bach has of equestrian sport, which was clearly demonstrated during his official visit to FEI Headquarters last week, and the very real need to respond to the Olympic Agenda 2020 recommendations.

Maria Gretzer, the Swedish Olympic Jumping rider and athlete representative on the FEI Executive Board since 2013, strongly echoed this view on the back of her experiences at the recent IOC Athletes Forum in Lausanne (SUI).

Harmonising Olympic equestrian sport with a cap of three team members across the three disciplines was one of the key proposals in today’s session, with the by-product of increasing the number of flags at the Olympic Games. Separating individual and team events and removing team drop scores were also put forward.

Under the new proposals, Dressage would have a total of 15 teams and 15 individual athletes, using heats to qualify the top 18 for the individual final, maximising the emotion and drama of the sport.

In Jumping, there would be 20 teams and 15 individuals, with a jump-off for first place in both individual and team. If team gold is decided by a jump-off, all three team horse/rider combinations would compete against the clock but only the best score would count. Other proposed changes would see the team Jumping mirroring the current successful Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ format, with just the top 10 teams starting with zero penalties in the medal-decider final.

In Eventing, the Dressage phase would be condensed to a single day using a shorter test, and the traditional format of Dressage, Cross Country and Jumping would be kept to retain the essence of the discipline, protect horse welfare and ensure reliable immediate results.

The individual Jumping phase would be used as the qualifier for the top six or seven teams to go through to the team final, with the potential of having all three team members in the arena together, jumping one after another, so that a team result would be instantly available.

Following input from Open Forums at this year’s Pan American Games, the Longines FEI European Eventing Championships and the Asia-Pacific qualifier for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Boekelo (NED), it was suggested that an alternative name, such as “Equestrian Triathlon” could improve understanding of the sport for a mainstream audience.

The proposals generated healthy debate amongst the National Federation representatives.

Timeline

The FEI will present more detailed format change proposals based on feedback from today’s session at the FEI Sports Forum 2016 in Lausanne (SUI) on 4-5 April. New formats will then be voted on at the FEI General Assembly 2016, before being submitted to the IOC before its Executive Board meeting in early 2017.

All presentations made at today’s dedicated Olympic formats session can be viewed here.

FEI General Assembly 2015 – live on FEI TV

The FEI General Assembly 2015 starts at 09.00 local Puerto Rico time (GMT -4 hours) and will be broadcast live and free on www.feitv.org.

Online registration for the FEI Sports Forum 2016 will open at the end of February here: www.fei.org/fei/about-fei/sportsforum.

Media Contacts:

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

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
ruth.grundy@fei.org
+41 787 506 145

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Lord Coe Names Equestrian “One of the Great Olympic Sports”

LOCOG Chairman Lord Sebastian Coe addressing the FEI General Assembly via video link

Istanbul (TUR), 8 November 2012 – Lord Sebastian Coe, Chairman of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) has described equestrian as “one of the great Olympic sports”.

Lord Coe, who was elected as the new chairman of the British Olympic Association yesterday, addressed the FEI General Assembly in Istanbul (TUR) via video link today, congratulating the FEI and its President, HRH Princess Haya, on an “exceptional Olympic equestrian event” at London 2012.

“It would be remiss of me not to immediately congratulate the FEI President and all her team for helping us to deliver just an exceptional Olympic equestrian event,” he said. “Our opportunity to bring the sport into the city centre was one that we wanted to grasp with both hands and I want to thank Princess Haya and her Board for helping to do that in such an extraordinarily successful way.

“To have Greenwich Park, a park of historical importance anywhere in the world, but, within that park, to be able to stage one of the great Olympic sports, was really for me the icing on the cake.”

Continue reading Lord Coe Names Equestrian “One of the Great Olympic Sports”

FEI General Assembly Opens in Rio de Janeiro (BRA)

Rio de Janeiro (BRA), 11 November 2011 – The Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) General Assembly opened in Rio de Janeiro (BRA) today with a meeting of the FEI Bureau, the first in four days of meetings culminating in the General Assembly on Monday 14 November.

At its meeting today, the Bureau unanimously agreed to a proposal from the Dressage Committee to withdraw the proposed addition to Article 430.7.6: evidence of blood in the arena, in order to allow the Veterinary Committee to study the issue from a horse welfare perspective.

The Veterinary Committee has been asked to propose a general rule, in consultation with the various disciplines, that is valid and applicable for all FEI disciplines. This will be discussed at the FEI Sports Forum in April 2012 as part of the Veterinary Regulations revision, for adoption by the General Assembly in 2012 and implementation on 1 January 2013.

Continue reading FEI General Assembly Opens in Rio de Janeiro (BRA)