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FEI Sports Forum 2018 Live and On-Demand

The seventh edition of the FEI Sports Forum 2018, which will be held at the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) in Lausanne (SUI) on 26 and 27 March, will be live-streamed on fei.org.

The FEI Sports Forum 2018 will have a prominent focus on Youth.

Day 1 will host a panel of eight young and talented athletes from around the world, representing FEI disciplines. Discussions will centre around their experiences, how they see the future, the challenges they face, and the impact on their careers. In addition, we will hear from experienced professionals and experts on discussion topics of athlete welfare as well as the IOC’s toolkit regarding harassment & abuse.

Day 2 will continue the discussions on athlete welfare, focusing on concussion, medication & recreational drugs and Eventing risk management, all of which have a substantial significance and impact on present day sport and competition. Further discussion topics include optimising performance in a challenging climate, in view of the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon and Tokyo 2020, FEI Officials, as well as an update from the FEI Dressage Judging Working Group.

Timetable of sessions:

26 March
Morning session 09.00-13.00 CET
Afternoon session 14.00-18.00 CET

27 March
Morning session 09.00-13.00 CET
Afternoon session 14.00-17.30 CET

FEI Media Contacts:

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

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

Equine and Human Athlete Welfare Key Focus on Day Two of FEI Sports Forum

L-R: Sam Watson and Diarmuid Byrne, EquiRatings; David O’Connor, Chair FEI Risk Management Working Group, and Giuseppe Della Chiesa, Chair FEI Eventing Committee. (FEI/Richard Juilliart)

The welfare of equines and human athletes was top of the agenda on day two of the FEI Sports Forum 2017. Scientific data on Eventing risk management, Endurance risk factors and bone fatigue was presented to more than 330 delegates gathered at the International Institute for Management Development in Lausanne (SUI).

The FEI has invested in substantial scientific research to evaluate risk factors and risk management and the sixth edition of the Sports Forum provided the platform for evidence-based data to be presented to the equestrian community.

Sydney 2000 Olympic champion David O’Connor (USA), Chair of the FEI Eventing Risk Management Steering Group, shared moderation of the afternoon session on Eventing Risk Management with Giuseppe Della Chiesa (ITA), chair of the FEI Eventing Committee.

David O’Connor, who was also involved in the Hartington Report into risk management in the sport in 2000, remembered how Formula 1 driver Jackie Stewart had given him two messages: “If you have the technology and the ability you have to use it, and you will always be behind the curve, you will never think of everything.”

Co-founders of equestrian data science company EquiRatings, Diarmuid Byrne and Sam Watson, who signed a four-year partnership with the FEI earlier this month to work on risk management initiatives for Eventing, presented the rationale behind the EquiRatings Quality Index (ERQI) and its scope, with analysis of athlete and horse performance history one of the key elements in risk reduction in Eventing.

“Past performance helps us predict and plan future performance” — EquiRatings MD, Diarmuid Byrne

The Irish company is also working with a number of National Federations and their work in Ireland saw a 66% reduction in falls at national level last year. “It’s about introducing a mind-set of rider responsibility. Psychologically we don’t look at risk, and this tool allows us to step in when we ignore it.”

Presentations in the following session on Endurance risk factors and bone fatigue were well received by delegates, who were impressed by the detailed analysis of data. All three of the panellists – Dr Tim Parkin and Dr Euan Bennet from the University of Glasgow, who are conducting the FEI’s Global Endurance Injuries Study, and Professor Chris Whitton from the University of Melbourne – were clear on the fact that speed and non-compliance with mandatory rest periods are the key risk factors.

Dr Euan Bennett stated that an increase of seven days on the mandatory rest periods established in 2014 could potentially prevent 10% of the failed-to-qualify statistics.

Professor Chris Whitton spoke about how intensive training results in an accumulation of damage and the inhibition of bone repair that occurs during rest. “Prevention is the key,” he said. “Once you’ve got the injury it’s too late. It may not be a catastrophic injury but that horse’s career is shortened. It’s not speed alone, and it’s not distance alone, it’s a combination of the two.”

In her wrap-up of key takeaways from the Endurance session, FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez said: “We really need to be attuned to our horses. We need to listen to them. They are equine athletes and they really need and deserve recovery time.”

Mark Samuel (CAN), Chair of the FEI Working Group on FEI Officials opened the day’s first session when details of 13 concrete recommendations were provided, including a code of conduct and job descriptions for officials, the withdrawal of the age limit, online education for officials and course directors, appointments and remuneration, and a mentoring programme for younger officials,.

Delegates were also given an update on the initial findings of the FEI Dressage Judging Working Group. The Group’s discussions, which have lasted for several months, were based on analytical studies of the current judging system and exploring judging procedures in other FEI disciplines, such as Reining and Vaulting.

The need to introduce a code of points and to concentrate further on education and training of judges across all levels are some of the long-term objectives proposed by the Working Group, with a revised multi-media FEI Dressage Handbook to be delivered as support.

FEI President Ingmar De Vos closed the FEI Sports Forum 2017 by thanking delegates and sponsors, and saying: “We’re very proud of the Sports Forum. This is what we need to do to fully engage with our community and take the necessary next steps. It is very important for the FEI to listen to what our National Federations and stakeholders have to say. The end of the Sports Forum means the start of a lot of work, but this is always a positive move forward.

“It was great to have so many young people contributing to the success of this year’s Sports Forum, and we very much hope to increase the participation of our youth in other editions of the Sports Forum.”

Panellists at the FEI Sports Forum 2017

Officials: Mark Samuel, Group IV Chair – Moderator; Peter Bollen, FEI Jumping Committee member, Sönke Lauterbach, NF Germany Secretary General; Brigitte Mathias, NF Namibia Secretary General.

Risk Management in Eventing: David O’Connor (USA), Chair FEI Eventing Risk Management Steering Group and Sydney 2000 Olympic Champion; Giuseppe Della Chiesa, Chair FEI Eventing Committee – moderators; Sam Watson, Founder, EquiRatings; Diarmuid Byrne, Managing Director, EquiRatings

Endurance: Risk Factors and Bone Fatigue: John McEwan, Chair of the FEI Veterinary Committee; Brian Sheahan, Chair of the FEI Endurance Committee – Moderators; Professor Tim Parkin and Dr Euan Bennet at the University of Glasgow; Professor Chris Whitton from the University of Melbourne.

FEI Media Contacts:

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

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

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

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

FEI Sports Forum 2017 Debates All Things Jumping on Day One in Lausanne

Steve Guerdat (FEI/Richard Juilliart)

OVERWHELMING SUPPORT for the FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping series was the key takeaway from the opening session at the FEI Sports Forum 2017 in the Olympic capital of Lausanne (SUI), when the global equestrian community came together for the two-day meeting, with Jumping as the first-day focus.

Almost 330 delegates filled the main auditorium at the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) to join in the opening debate on the oldest series of its kind in the world, where national teams compete head to head. This year the series – which was created in 1909 – has a record 50 nations competing at events in 19 countries en route to the global Final in Barcelona (ESP), 28 September – 1 October.

FEI President Ingmar De Vos kicked off the session highlighting the special place the series has in the hearts of equestrian athletes and fans the world over: “The FEI Nations Cup Jumping is such an important part of our DNA, and I believe that the FEI has already proven on many occasions that the Nations Cup is priority number one.”

Panellist Steve Guerdat (SUI), the London 2012 Olympic champion, also underlined the importance of this prestigious series: “It’s probably the most important class that as an athlete we can take part in. There’s a lot of pride for every rider to be able to ride for your country. It’s not just about you; it’s about your country.”

David Sim, Group Broadcast & Strategy Director at CSM Sport & Entertainment, explained the value of the FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping: “The stories brands want to tell to their audiences is that they are looking at the ones to watch, the stars of tomorrow, and how riders can grow and reach the next level. You need stardust, but it’s also about selling a long term view of the future of the sport. The strengths of the Nations Cup are tradition, heritage, a very affluent and engaged audience, men and women competing together – they are all very appealing to brands.”

“We hear that it’s too long, but I don’t get it. Football is 90 minutes, and 89 minutes of it is boring! Two rounds is what makes the Nations Cup so special.” – London 2012 Olympic champion Steve Guerdat

The session, one of five on the agenda, generated healthy and very positive debate as panellists and delegates reviewed the current competition format, the number of qualifiers for the series, prize money, ranking points, the concentration of qualifiers in Europe and around the world, and the issues of cross-border transportation affecting some regions.

The afternoon’s key session on CSI/CSIO requirements generated solid debate, outlining the most significant differences across the regions. The session also addressed the proposal put forward by the Alliance of Jumping Organisers (AJO) for a global approach to harmonise entry fees, with widespread consensus that this would not be feasible due to the economic differences around the world.

John Madden, FEI 1st Vice President and Chair FEI Jumping Committee, led the discussions and emphasised that the CSI requirements are in place to protect athletes from excessive costs, ensuring a healthy sustainable sport that is open to all.

Ultimately it was agreed that minimum standards should be set, that excellence should be rewarded, and that increased entry fees would not work in Europe.

Delegates also joined in interactive sessions on the new CSI invitation system, potential changes in the dress code for Jumping and youth development in the sport.

“The Sports Forum is unique in the world of international sports federations and we are truly proud that the FEI is the only International Federation that offers an annual open platform for its community to actively participate in and contribute to important discussions in a transparent manner which can lead to proposals that could be presented to the General Assembly,” Ingmar De Vos said in his keynote address at the beginning of the day. “This is true good governance and our organisation has been praised for this on many occasions.

“Many matters that we discuss and situations that we have to address are a result of the success of our sport and we should be proud of that success. This growth also represents big opportunities for the equine industry and whereas our sport can count on a fast growing interest in certain regions, other regions can also benefit from this as they are a privileged partner to support this development within their industry.”

Based on the discussions at the Sports Forum, the FEI Technical Committees will decide what will be brought forward, or not, as more detailed proposals to be shared with the community for further feedback. Following input from the National Federations and stakeholders, the proposals will then be further adapted and finalised as proposed rules for approval at the FEI General Assembly, with a further opportunity for feedback at the rules session prior to the vote in Montevideo (URU) in November.

Panellists at the FEI Sports Forum 2017

Session 1: Future of FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping panel:

Ingmar De Vos, FEI President; Nayla Stössel, President, Longines CSIO Switzerland St. Gallen; Daniela Garcia, Mexican National Federation, Chef d’équipe, organiser CSIO Coapexpan;  Rob Ehrens, Chef d’équipe (NED); Steve Guerdat (SUI), Olympic Jumping athlete; Jack Huang, FEI Regional Group VIII Chair; David Sim, Director, Group Broadcast & Strategy at CSM Sport & Entertainment; Stephan Ellenbruch, President, International Jumping Officials Club – Moderator.

Session 3: CSI/CSIO Requirements panel:

John Madden, FEI 1st Vice President & Chair FEI Jumping Committee; Peter Bollen, Member, FEI Jumping Committee, President International Equestrian Organisers Alliance (IEOA); Kazuya Hirayama, Member, FEI Jumping Committee; Christian Baillet, President, Jumping Owners Club (JOC); Rob Ehrens, Chef d’équipe (NED); Sandra Wiedmer, Secretary General, Swiss National Federation – Moderator.

Session 4: Jumping Dress Code Panel:

Robert Ridland, Chef d’équipe, (USA); Michael Duffy, Athlete; Guido Betti, Television and Marketing Director, FIVB; Matt Smith, Secretary General, FISA; Mikael Rentsch, FEI Legal Director; Virginie Couperie-Eiffel, Vice President FRA NF; President, Paris Eiffel Jumping, Ralph Straus, FEI Marketing Director – Moderator.

Session 5: Jumping Youth Development panel:

Peter Bollen, Member, FEI Jumping Committee; Ludo Philippaerts, Athlete; Lisa Nooren, Athlete; Boy-Adrian Van Gelderen, Athlete; Sabrina Ibáñez, FEI Secretary General – Moderator.

FEI Media Contacts:

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

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

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

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

Leading Experts to Debate Equestrian Sport’s Key Topics at FEI Sports Forum 2017

Lausanne (SUI), 20 February 2017 – World experts on the Olympic sports of Jumping and Eventing and the non-Olympic discipline of Endurance will address the FEI Sports Forum 2017 when it takes place at the International Management Development Institute (IMD) in Lausanne (SUI) from 10-11 April. The programme for the annual event, which is acknowledged as the key opportunity for the equestrian world to gather and debate current topics in the sport prior to the annual General Assembly, is published and registration is now open.

The Sports Forum will be opened by FEI President Ingmar De Vos, followed by a keynote address from IMD. The first day of the two-day programme will focus on Jumping, with an in-depth look at the future of the FEI’s flagship team series, the FEI Nations Cup™. Other highlights on the first day will be a presentation on the FEI’s online invitation system, discussion on CSI/CSIO requirements. Dress code and youth development in the sport will also be discussed, with a presentation on youth sport from Belgium’s four-time Olympian, Ludo Philippaerts and Peter Bollen, member of the FEI Jumping Committee.

The second day opens with a morning session on FEI Officials, including an update from the Dressage Judging Working Group. The two afternoon sessions are devoted to Eventing and Endurance.

Sydney 2000 Olympic champion David O’Connor (USA), Chair of the FEI Eventing Risk Management Steering Group, and Giuseppe Della Chiesa (ITA), chair of the FEI Eventing Committee, lead the first afternoon session dedicated to risk management. Beginning with a presentation of the Eventing risk management policy and programme implemented by the FEI to date, this will then be followed by a discussion on new proposals and next steps.

Endurance then takes centre stage for the final session of the Sports Forum 2017. Dr Tim Parkin, an expert in veterinary epidemiology, will present the initial findings of the two-year Global Endurance Injuries Study that he has conducted at Glasgow University with fellow specialist Dr Euan Bennet, and there will also be a presentation on bone fatigue and preventing bone injury by Professor Chris Whitton from the University of Melbourne, one of the world’s leading authorities on skeletal injuries.

The FEI Sports Forum 2017 will also be streaming all our sessions live on inside.fei.org and the FEI YouTube channel, providing viewers the opportunity to ask their questions directly to the panels and experts.

“The annual FEI Sports Forum is the opportunity for everyone involved in equestrian sport to have their say on some of the most important current topics, and a key part of our governance structure,” FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez says.

“In an ever-changing landscape we all work hard to keep our sport fresh, relevant and with the highest standards of horse welfare at its core, and this year’s agenda and guest speakers will delve into some very important current issues. The FEI prides itself on being open and transparent and this intensive two-day programme will provide a platform for everyone to have their say, whether they are on-site delegates or online viewers.”

The full programme for this year’s event is:

Day One:

  • Focus on Jumping
  • Future of FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping
  • Online invitation system
  • CSI/CSIO requirements
  • Dress code
  • Youth development

Day Two:

  • FEI Officials, including update on the Dressage Judging Working Group
  • Eventing Risk Management
  • Endurance risk factors and bone injury

All information regarding the timetable, sessions, accommodation and registration is available at inside.fei.org on the dedicated FEI Sports Forum platform.

Additional supporting documents relating to the various sessions will also be posted on 13 March 2017.

Registration closes on 20 March.

FEI Media Contacts:

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

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

FEI Bureau Spring In-Person Meeting – Main Decisions

Lausanne (SUI), 7 April 2016 – Following the successful two-day FEI Sports Forum in Lausanne (SUI), the Bureau met in FEI Headquarters for its spring in-person meeting (6-7 April 2016). The key decisions and updates can be viewed here.

FEI Media Contacts:

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

Olympic Format Debate Serves as Reality Check for Equestrian Sport

A record number of delegates attended the FEI Sports Forum at IMD in Lausanne (SUI), where Olympic and FEI World Equestrian Games™ competition changes were debated at length. (FEI/Richard Juilliart)

Lausanne (SUI), 5 April 2016 – Olympic Press Committee member Alan Abrahamson gave a reality check to a record number of delegates at the FEI Sports Forum as almost 320 participants debated the future shape of equestrian sport in Lausanne (SUI). “What you’re facing is nothing less than a reality check for the sport,” the former Los Angeles Times and NBCOlympics.com correspondent said.

“A lot of the public don’t know anything about equestrian sport. There are tons of new sports trying to knock on the Olympic door. Skateboarding, surfing and rock climbing are almost guaranteed to be on the Olympic programme for Tokyo because they are perceived as cool and sexy sports. You know you’ve got a great sport. You have that core audience; what you need are more and younger fans. This is not a crisis point. It’s not a moment of desperation for you; it’s a moment rich with opportunity.”

Alan Abrahamson, who has covered eight Olympic Games over the past 18 years, was speaking at the opening session on the programme, focusing on the changing communication landscape and how to use new media to reach a massively increased fan base. He was joined on stage by Richard Johnson, FEI Director of Corporate Communications, who outlined the FEI’s global campaign in the build-up to Rio 2016 and beyond.

Discussions then moved onto proposed changes to the competition formats for the three Olympic disciplines and the FEI World Equestrian Games™. Consensus on the need for change was reached and, although there were still some dissenting voices, there was also substantial support for the concept of a reduction to three-member teams and removal of the drop score.

Panellist Charles Balchin, Head of Programmes at IMG Production, was enthusiastic about the qualities of equestrian sport for broadcast media. “This sport – it’s worldwide. Very few others are and the whole gender equality thing it’s brilliant. You’ve got horses; you’ve got fantastic athletes who talk brilliantly. The future is beyond exciting.”

FEI 1st Vice President John Madden spoke of how having three-member teams would bring in more nations across the Olympic disciplines, as well as at the FEI World Equestrian Games™. “Universality we have control over,” he said. “It’s simple math. We have 200 spots and 40 National Olympic Committees at the moment. With the proposals on the table, we still have 200 spots and we can increase the number of flags to about 55. Three per team gets us 25% more.”

There was general agreement about the importance of bringing in new nations to the Olympic Games. “I agree 100 percent how important it is for smaller nations to have athletes at the Olympic Games,” FEI Executive Board member Frank Kemperman said. “It is the best shop window for our sport.”

Francesco Ricci Bitti, who will be standing unopposed for the presidency of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) later this month, was also adamant about the need for change. “But don’t do it only for the Olympics, do it for your sport. Find a compromise between the values your sport represent and the changes you need to make to make your sport more attractive. Be aware that the Olympics, the most attractive product of multi-sport in the world, has to change globally.”

The drop score and the role of potential reserve horse/rider combinations were debated at length, and the session was extended to allow discussions to continue, particularly as the focus had been more on the Olympic formats than on the FEI World Equestrian Games™ and the non-Olympic disciplines.

“I would like to reiterate how pleased we are,” FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez said in her session wrap-up. “It was necessary to allow each and every one of you to speak your minds. I know we spent a lot of time on the Olympic formats but it was needed. We will continue to consult with you and many of your ideas will be taken on board.”

The final session of the 2016 FEI Sports Forum provided delegates with an opportunity to focus on the specific proposals for revisions to the Eventing Rules. The range of proposals tabled for discussion included new minimum entry requirements to open up Olympic Games and major Championships to be more accessible to new nations, new competition formats, updated scoring systems, and plans for enhanced presentation and explanation of the discipline.

Wrapping up the session, FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez reminded everyone that discussions on both the competition formats and the Eventing Rules revisions have not ended and asked delegates to continue to provide thoughts on all the points that had been debated.

The FEI online platform is open for continued discussions on all topics raised at the FEI Sports Forum here.

Olympic and FEI World Equestrian Games™ competition formats session:

Moderator: Tim Hadaway (GBR), FEI Championships and Games Director

Panel: Charles Balchin (GBR), Head of Programmes, IMG Production; John Madden (USA), FEI Chair Jumping Committee; Frank Kemperman (NED), FEI Chair Dressage Committee; Giuseppe de la Chiesa (ITA), FEI Chair Eventing Committee; Brian Sheahan (AUS), FEI Chair Endurance Committee; Karoly Fugli (HUN), FEI Chair Driving Committee; John Eccles (GBR), FEI Chair Vaulting Committee; Bob Thompson (CAN), FEI Chair Reining Committee; Ulf Wilken (SWE), FEI Chair Para Equestrian Committee

A detailed summary of the debate will be produced and circulated to all stakeholders. Draft rules based on the discussions that have taken place over the last 12 months, will be sent to National Federations (NFs) on 15 July with a deadline of 9 September for NFs to revert to the FEI with their feedback. Final drafts will be published on www.fei.org on 28 October with NFs voting at the FEI General Assembly in Tokyo (JPN) on 22 November 2016.

Eventing Rules revision session:

Moderator: Giuseppe de la Chiesa (ITA), FEI Chair Eventing Committee

Panel: Catrin Norinder (SWE), FEI Eventing and Olympic Director; Daisy Berkeley (GBR), Athlete Representative, Eventing Committee Member; Patricia Clifton (GBR), Eventing Committee Member

FEI Media Contacts:

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

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 Champion Steve Guerdat Features on First Day of FEI Sports Forum

Steve Guerdat (SUI), centre, with Wayne Channon (GBR), rapporteur, and fellow panelist Cesar Hirsch (VEN). (FEI/Richard Juilliart)

Lausanne (SUI), 4 April 2016 – “Being open and transparent is vital to us as we are discussing matters which have the intention to, and most probably will, affect the future of our sport,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said in his opening address at the fifth edition of the FEI Sports Forum in Lausanne (SUI). “By coming together to share experiences and to discuss the future, we are showing our strength and unity as a sport and our willingness to lead and not be led.”

The two-day Forum has attracted a record number of 320 delegates, with representatives from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), National Federations, the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF), stakeholders, sponsors, riders, trainers, media, volunteers, guests and FEI staff almost filling the auditorium at the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) Business School, which has hosted the Sports Forum for the past four years.

IMD Professor Stéphane Garelli, the day’s first speaker, referenced the increasing impact of sport on the global economy. “When you look at sport, you are speaking of something that is joyful and happy. You have the privilege in sport and the FEI to bring happiness to people.”

The opening day was dedicated to FEI Officials, their career pathway, remuneration and education, with the sessions providing the opportunity to debate key questions related to the involvement of the National Federations, costs, calendar and geographical spread, standards and strategy.

“The Officials are a group of people that play an important role in our sport and without whom our sport would not be possible. Our officials are in the frontline when it comes to preserving integrity and ensuring that a level playing field is maintained,” Ingmar de Vos said.

The first session debated the optimal career pathway for FEI Officials, promotion, demotion, and sanctions. There was also debate on ways to measure the quality of officiating and whether there should be an age limit of FEI Officials.

Vicki Glynn, Chief Executive Officer of the New Zealand Federation, supported the removal of the age limit for FEI Officials. “Legally it is age discrimination. The age limit must be removed. We are one of only two organisations that retain age limits for officials. We should put a more effective evaluation process in place and like many countries do when renewing drivers’ licenses, you need to have an eye sight test, medical test.”

Delegates raised the importance of educational support from the FEI to increase the level of understanding of the sport amongst officials, and the correct application of FEI rules.  There was general consensus that training and education are key to the development and understanding of the sport.

“People need to learn to follow procedures; judges need to learn that, but one thing we cannot miss is the horsemanship these people should have,” Olympic Champion Steve Guerdat (SUI) said. “Yes we need rules, the rules are black and white, but we must not forget we have a horse in our sport, a living animal, and the officials must understand the importance of horsemanship.”

Education was the focus of the second session, giving delegates the opportunity to raise questions on the involvement of National Federations in educating officials, balancing costs without impacting quality, and focusing on standards and education strategy.

Maarten van der Heijden, Secretary General of the Royal Dutch Equestrian Federation, called for standardised education material, and underlined the willingness of the Federation to share its own material for use by the FEI and other National Federations for education purposes.

“The riders want to have good judges so we can stay on a level playing field and look after our horses; we want clean sport and we want good judges,” Steve Guerdat said. “Unfortunately we need to find money and I understand it’s very expensive. On my point I would have absolutely no problem giving away part of the prize money, but I’m sure I’m one of the few riders.

“There’s a lot of pressure on those people; they have big decisions to take. We could maybe help them by creating a kind of panel to help them take the big decisions. It shouldn’t only be the steward and judges. Maybe have a vet, a rider, an independent person for the panel.”

Fellow panellist Rocio Echeverri also commented on the remuneration debate. “I really don’t believe that someone who does it on a voluntary basis is more or less professional. As an official, I’m 100 per cent committed whether I get paid or not. Getting more money doesn’t make us better officials. It’s about ethics. Payment does not make a better official in my opinion.”

“We don’t want to sacrifice quality to get quantity, or sacrifice quality for expense, quality is an investment,” said Wayne Channon, who was the only person to voice the view that all judges should be appointed by the FEI. Other delegates spoke in favour of retaining the split between Organising Committee and FEI appointments, stating that payment should come from whichever body appointed the Officials.

There was also concern expressed by a number of delegates for both the less developed nations and the non-Olympic disciplines. “Don’t forget the smaller disciplines that are less professionalised and with less prize money. These athletes deserve well educated officials too,” Maarten van der Heijden said.

FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez closed the first day’s sessions with a summary of the discussions on evaluation, age limit, mentoring, rotations, professionalism, subsidising education courses and remuneration with the help of the three rapporteurs.

“We can learn from other sports,” Sabrina Ibáñez said. “The conclusions will be brought to the Bureau and a task force will be created to look at the individual issues. We will come up with some concrete measures to present to you.”

After the session, the Secretary General commented on the positive feedback on the new way of running the Sports Forum. “We are genuinely committed to integrating members of our community and giving them a starring role in the discussions so that they could lead the debate as moderators and panelists. It was extremely well received by all the delegates as they felt they were an integral part of a direct dialogue.”

The detailed programme for the FEI Sports Forum 2016 is available to view and download here.

The FEI online platform is open for continued discussions on all topics raised at the FEI Sports Forum here.

The first session on Officials career pathway was led by moderator Sandra Wiedmer, Secretary General of the Swiss National Federation, with a panel made up of Teodor Sheytanov, Secretary General of the Bulgarian National Federation, Mariette Withages (BEL), former International FEI O-Judge, Marisol Casado (ESP), IOC Member and President of the International Triathlon Union, Hope Hand (USA), FEI Para-Equestrian Committee Member, with Reining Committee Member Pierre Ouellet (ITA) acting as rapporteur.

The second session, which focused Officials education, was moderated by Sally Ike (USA), with a panel of FEI Steward General Dressage Jacques van Daele (BEL), FEI Reining Committee member Raymond Grether (NED), FEI Executive Board Member & Athlete Committee Chair Maria Gretzer (SWE), and Peter Kallings (SWE), FEI List Group Member and FEI Testing Veterinarian. Harald Muller (GER), FEI Education & Standards Director, acted as rapporteur.

The third session, which focused on Officials appointments and remuneration, was moderated by FEI Jumping Committee member Stephan Ellenbruch (GER). The panel was made up of Peter Bollen (BEL), Jumping Committee Member, Rocio Echeverri (CRC), Endurance Committee member, Cesar Hirsch (VEN), FEI Nomination Committee Member and Swiss star Steve Guerdat (SUI). International Dressage Riders Club Secretary General Wayne Channon (GBR) was rapporteur.

FEI Media Contacts:

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

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

FEI Sports Forum 2016 Live on FEI TV

Lausanne (SUI), 1 April 2016 – The FEI Sports Forum 2016, which will be held at the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) in Lausanne (SUI) on 4 and 5 April, will be live-streamed free of charge on FEI TV, the FEI’s official online video platform.

This year’s Sports Forum turns the spotlight onto the career pathway, education, appointment and remuneration of FEI Officials on the first day, and then the Olympic and FEI World Equestrian Games™ competition formats and Eventing rules revisions take centre stage on day two.

Timetable of live-streaming sessions:

4 April
Morning session 09.00-13.15 CET
Afternoon session 14.15-18.00 CET

5 April
Morning session 09.00-13.15 CET
Afternoon session 14.30-16.30 CET

Users who do not have an FEI TV login will need to register to view the FEI Sports Forum.

The detailed programme for the FEI Sports Forum 2016 is available to view and download here.

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

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

FEI Sports Forum Turns Focus to Future of Para-Equestrian Dressage and Non-Olympic Sports

Ingmar De Vos, FEI President, closed the FEI Sports Forum 2015 today at the IMD in Lausanne (SUI) thanking all participants, including the International Olympic Committee, National Federations, FEI stakeholders, Organisers and athletes, and the FEI Technical Committees for all their work in preparing the proposals that were heard over the two-day session. (FEI/Germain Arias-Schreiber)

Lausanne (SUI), 28 April 2015 – The final afternoon of the two-day FEI Sports Forum focused on Para-Equestrian Dressage and non-Olympic sports, with the session being opened by Trond Asmyr, FEI Director, Dressage and Para-Equestrian Dressage.

The decision to limit Freestyle to the top third of athletes in each Para-Equestrian grade at Games and Championships was well received by National Federations. This will be implemented for the first time at a Paralympic Games at Rio 2016. The proposal to implement a change to the drop score system for team results from 1 January 2017 was equally well received.

Key areas from the inaugural Para-Equestrian Dressage Forum in Essen (GER) last month, which was attended by para-equestrian experts and athletes from 22 countries, were also highlighted, including re-naming the grades, recruiting new and young riders, pushing for more combined Para-Equestrian Dressage and able bodied Dressage events, and the potential for an FEI World Cup™ series with sponsor support.

“Maintaining the focus on Para-Equestrian Dressage is our top priority,” explained Trond Asmyr. “A record-breaking 33 nations and 100 riders and horses competed for Para-Equestrian Dressage medals at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2014, which was a major breakthrough.

“The Paralympic Games are now the second largest multi-sport event in the world, and next year we will be celebrating the twentieth anniversary of Para-Equestrian Dressage in the Paralympic Movement at the Rio 2016 Games. The FEI is wholeheartedly committed to growing Para-Equestrian Dressage and creating more opportunities for our athletes to compete at the top-level.”

Proposals for Driving, Endurance, Vaulting, Reining

The Technical Committees for Driving, Endurance, Vaulting and Reining made several proposals for consideration at today’s Sports Forum specifically on Championships formats, and with spectator experience at the forefront.

The proposals, which can be referenced in full here, include:

  • Driving four-in-hand: shorter dressage test for individuals; for teams (all in one day): dressage, pas-de-deux and cones relay, or combined marathon; pure cone event for individual drivers
  • Endurance: change from one-day 160km format to a two-day 100km-per-day format, with a controlled start on the second day; maximum of four combinations per National Federation, and only highest placed three to count for team classification; countries starting with less than three combinations only eligible for individual classifications
  • Vaulting: introduce “Nations Format” team classification (composition – one Individual Female, one Individual Male and one Squad); recreating the atmosphere of Vaulting at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 by consulting with event organisers on lighting, music and spectator engagement
  • Reining: maximum number of athletes at Championships: 100; individuals in the Final to choose own music

National Federations flagged the need to safeguard horse welfare and respect rest periods, following the proposal of the two-day, 100km-per-day Endurance format. There was also support from National Federations to introduce the Nations Format in Vaulting and several of the innovations proposed for Driving were backed by delegates.

The session concluded with a Reining Round Table focusing on the revision of the competition and Championships format, pattern classification and a presentation of Para-Reining competitions (CPERIs).

FEI Athlete Committee inaugural meeting

The first FEI Athletes’ Committee meeting since the FEI Athlete Representative elections last year was also held at FEI Headquarters today.

“Athletes play a vital role in the way equestrian sport is developing and appealing to wider audiences, thanks to their experience, passion and knowledge of the sport,” said Maria Gretzer, Chair of the FEI Athlete Committee. “Our first session was a great success, and we’ll be covering athlete career management and athlete involvement in FEI Championships and Games at our next meeting.”

FEI President closes Sports Forum 2015

FEI President Ingmar De Vos brought the 2015 edition of the FEI Sports Forum to a close, thanking all participants, including the International Olympic Committee, National Federations, FEI stakeholders including athletes and Organisers, and the FEI Technical Committees for all their work in preparing the proposals.

“The Technical Committees have put forward strong and sometimes quite provocative proposals, but it’s been done deliberately to make you think,” he said. “The debate that I’ve heard here over the last two days has been very good and there’s been some real out of the box thinking, but nothing has been decided yet. The Sports Forum is a phase in a very transparent decision making process where the ideas of the Committees can be tested against the ideas of our members and our stakeholders.

“The Committees now have a very clear idea of what they have to do on some of the key areas that have been discussed, and they will finalise the proposals before they go out to the National Federations and then to the General Assembly.

“There are also several other areas that need to be further explored, and the FEI will be conducting a survey with National Federations for deeper discussion.

“We know the World Equestrian Games should be shorter and we absolutely need to control the costs and the number of athletes, so that Organising Committees can establish a realistic budget. And we know that we need to be very clear on the more detailed requirements. But one of the most important conclusions from the Forum is that there is a future for the World Equestrian Games and it’s a bright future, as long as we address the issues that have been brought to the table.

“I am confident about the place of equestrian in the Olympic programme. All International Federations need to understand they will be judged on different parameters than in the past. We are living in a more competitive world than ever before and all sports are trying to get the best out of that world. We need to take our responsibility seriously. We will continue to work very closely with the IOC and go to them with our proposals within the set deadlines.”

After thanking delegates for their valuable contributions to the decision making process, the FEI President urged everyone, including those who were unable to attend the Sports Forum, to continue the debate on the dedicated FEI online platform here.

FEI Media Contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Media Relations
Grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 42

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
ruth.grundy@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 45

FEI Sports Forum Debates the Future of Jumping

The panellists of the Jumping Session at the FEI Sports Forum 2015. Pictured from left to right are: Stephan Ellenbruch, FEI Jumping Committee member; John Roche, FEI Director Jumping; John Madden, FEI Jumping Committee chair; and Richard Nicoll, FEI Sports Forum Moderator. Photo FEI/Germain Arias-Schreiber.

Lausanne (SUI), 28 April 2015 – Proposed changes to the Jumping qualification and competition formats for the Olympic and FEI World Equestrian Games™ as well as the Event Classification and CSI Invitation Systems were the main topics of discussion at the lengthy session that followed the morning’s Extraordinary General Assembly at the FEI Sports Forum 2015.

John Madden, Chair of the FEI Jumping Committee, made a detailed presentation inviting participants to embrace change. “We must always strive to strengthen our position on the Olympic programme,” he said. “We are here today to do just that. Much thought and consideration has already gone into these proposals. Not everyone is going to like what we propose here, but we have no choice but to change. But I want to emphasise that the only agreement that’s been reached is that we need to strengthen our position in the Olympic programme, everything else is up for discussion and that’s the purpose of today’s session and the ongoing debate.”

Olympic proposals

Madden outlined the proposed qualification and competition formats for the individual and team events at the Olympic Games, highlighting the similarities between the proposed team final and the hugely successful Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Final.

The full proposal for Olympic qualification and competition formats is available on the FEI website here.

The increase in nations represented while maintaining the current quota, heightened level of competition, and a compact competition format were highlighted as the advantages of the proposal.

The possibility of running cost effective regional qualifiers, quarantine issues, questions whether there would be enough nations that could field an Olympic level team and whether quality could be compromised due to participation of some less experienced nations were some of the concerns that had been expressed during the preparation of the proposal by the FEI Jumping Committee.

FEI World Equestrian Games™ formats

John Madden then presented the proposed qualification and competition formats for the FEI World Equestrian Games™, emphasising the advantages of making competitions more media friendly and manageable for the Organising Committee, better sport and shortened, more horse-welfare friendly formats. He also highlighted the fact that the World Equestrian Games™ team championship would serve as that year’s FEI Nations Cup™ Final, meaning that horses would not have to jump in two demanding events at the end of the outdoor season.

Madden acknowledged that the proposals could have some drawbacks as well as positive aspects, including the fact that running the individual competition first could have repercussions on the team competition as athletes might choose not to compete.

While teams of three and no drop score puts pressure on all three athletes, Madden pointed out that there was the same pressure as with four horses, and that being one of only three counting scores would mean an even greater premium on protecting horse welfare. And while some delegates felt that teams of three could potentially create less drama if a team’s first athlete had a bad score, it could also serve to heighten the dramatic elements of the competition.

The detailed proposal is available on the FEI website here.

Event Classification and CSI Invitation Systems

A short update on the Event Classification System, including the potential creation of a new category of 6* events, and a presentation on the CSI Invitation System followed the Olympic and FEI World Equestrian Games™ proposals.

The implementation of a CSI Invitation System, which would be easy to understand and manage and which had a high degree of transparency, was being studied. This new system could lead to modifications to the Longines Rankings rules, but John Madden clarified that the discussions at the Sports Forum were only a starting point, and that the Jumping Committee would take the necessary time to further work on the system.

Lively discussion

A lively discussion followed, with input from National Federation delegates from Australia, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Greece, Puerto Rico, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the USA, as well as representatives of Regional Groups IV and IX, the European Equestrian Federation, International Jumping Riders Club, Longines Global Champions Tour and Furusiyya.

The main points raised were the proposals on the number of competitors per team – three as opposed to four – removal of the drop score, and holding the individual competition before the team event at the Olympic and FEI World Equestrian Games™. The possible negative impact a smaller number of team members could have on horse owners from the leading equestrian nations was also mentioned.

John Madden responded to all the questions and addressed the concerns raised. He explained that the proposals were a basis for discussion and all the points made at the Sports Forum would be taken onboard. He stressed that once clear guidance of when and how reserve combinations could be slotted in was received from the IOC, the proposals would be reviewed by the Jumping Committee and further feedback would be sought from all stakeholders.

Delegates were also urged to continue the discussions online at the dedicated FEI online platform here.

Media contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Media Relations
Grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 42

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
ruth.grundy@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 45

Malina Gueorguiev
Manager Press Relations
malina.gueorguiev@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 33