Tag Archives: Global Champions League

Eric Lamaze Ends Global Champions League with Team Victory

Eric Lamaze and Chacco Kid. Photo by Stefano Grasso for Global Champions League.

Doha, Qatar – Canada’s Eric Lamaze, riding alongside Harrie Smolders, led the Hamburg Diamonds to the overall victory in the final event of the Global Champions League held November 10 and 11 in Doha, Qatar.

The 2017 Global Champions League saw 18 teams participate, with the majority named for stops on the Global Champions League tour.  Heading into the final event of the season, the Hamburg Diamonds held a narrow lead over Valkenswaard United, with the final rankings to be decided over two days in Doha.

Lamaze incurred nine faults in Friday’s opening round, hindered by two broken ribs suffered days earlier, while his teammate, Harrie Smolders of The Netherlands, jumped a clear round to keep hopes of an overall victory alive.  On Saturday night, Lamaze delivered when it counted most, producing a clear round aboard his 2016 Rio Olympic bronze medal partner, Fine Lady 5, a 14-year-old bay Hanoverian mare (Forsyth x Drosselklang II) owned by Andy and Carlene Ziegler’s Artisan Farms in partnership with Lamaze’s Torrey Pines Stable.  When Smolders matched his fault-free performance riding Don VHP Z, the Hamburg Diamonds secured the 2017 Global Champions League title with a total of 312 points over Valkenswaard United, who kept the pressure on right until the end and finished runner-up with 308 points.  The Mexico Amigos finished a distant third with 250 points.

The Hamburg Diamonds won a total of €2,269,614 in prize money throughout the 2017 Global Champions League season.  Lamaze, Smolders, and six-time British Olympian John Whitaker were joined by Audrey Coulter of the United States and Jos Verlooy of Belgium, both two-time World Cup Finalists, in representing the Hamburg Diamonds over the course of the 2017 season for owners Copernicus and Euro Horse.  Two riders from each team are selected to compete in each of the 15 Global Champions League events held around the world.

“Thank you to Axel Verlooy and the Coulter family for including me on their team this season,” said Lamaze, 49, who rode alongside Smolders, Coulter, and Jos Verlooy during his 2017 season appearances.  “When Axel first approached me, I didn’t hesitate to join such a strong team.  It took the best riders to win the championship title.

“I would also like to thank my owners, particularly Andy and Carlene Ziegler, for allowing me to ride their horses in the Global Champions League this year,” added Lamaze.

Lamaze competed in four Global Champions League events riding his 2016 Rio Olympic mount, Fine Lady 5.  He also made three appearances with Chacco Kid, an 11-year-old chestnut Oldenburg gelding (Chacco Blue x Come On) owned by Andy and Carlene Ziegler, Rick and Sara Mershad, and Ludi and Carol Sollak, who, collectively, form The Chacco Kid Group.

Lamaze has two competitions left on his 2017 schedule.  The three-time Canadian Olympic medalist will compete at the CSI5* Paris Masters in France from November 30 to December 3 before heading to Switzerland for the CHI Geneva from December 7 to 10.  In Geneva, Lamaze will defend his title in the innovative Rolex IJRC Top Ten Final, which offers 475,000 Swiss francs in prize money to the top ten ranked riders in the world, on Friday night, December 8, as well as contest the Rolex Grand Prix, part of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, on Sunday, December 10.

For more information on Eric Lamaze, visit www.EricLamaze.com.

Media Contact:  Jennifer Ward
Starting Gate Communications
Cell: (613) 292-5439
www.startinggate.ca

FEI and Global Champions League Reach Agreement

Lausanne (SUI), 26 January 2017 – The FEI and the Global Champions League (GCL) have reached full agreement with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The agreement includes FEI approval of the GCL rules, which are now in compliance with FEI rules.

The new MOU, which is between the FEI, GCL and the Longines Global Champions Tour (LGCT), replaces the MOU between the FEI and the GCT which was signed in September 2007.

As a result of the agreement, the GCL’s complaint to the Belgian Competition Authority which alleged the FEI’s Unsanctioned Events rule was in breach of EU anti-trust legislation, has been formally withdrawn. The FEI Officials who were sanctioned for officiating at GCL events prior to this week’s agreement, have also formally withdrawn their complaints to the BCA.

In a joint statement, GCL Co-Founders Jan Tops and Frank McCourt said: “We are pleased to have reached consensus with the FEI and appreciate the genuine efforts that have been made to achieve this agreement and resolve outstanding issues. We thank everyone involved for their efforts in reaching this outcome.

“We are very much looking forward to working with the FEI and to building a healthy, strong and sustainable future for our sport and all its stakeholders in the modern sports landscape.”

“We are very happy that this long-running saga has finally been resolved to the satisfaction of both sides and that the Global Champions League is now officially an FEI-approved series,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said.

“The new MOU with the GCT/GCL also now means an end to the legal issues between us, which has to be good for the future of the sport. The FEI was always of the belief that there was room for co-existence between the current FEI series and the GCL and, with the signing of the MOU, now we can turn the page and look to the future. It’s a great step forward and ends a period of uncertainty for athletes, organisers and FEI officials.”

Media Contacts:

At FEI:

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

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

At GCT/GCL:

Anna Goodrum
Manager Press Relations
Press@Globalchampionstour.com
+44 75 85 55 11 70

Brussels Court Denies FEI Appeal in GCL Case

Lausanne (SUI), 28 April 2016 – The Brussels Court of Appeal has denied the FEI appeal on the interim measures imposed by the Belgian Competition Authority which prevent the FEI from imposing its unsanctioned event rule on athletes and horses competing in the Global Champions League.

“We are of course disappointed that the Brussels Court of Appeal has denied the FEI’s request for a full annulment of the Belgian Competition Authority decision, but this is only a phase in the process,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said. “The real procedure hasn’t even begun yet, as the full merits of the case still have to be heard by the Belgian Competition Authority. We will continue to fight with all legal means.

“This decision seems to be in direct contradiction to the investigation undertaken by the European Commission into similar cases, including this specific FEI case, with the stated aim of ensuring the coherent application of EU anti-trust rules.

“The FEI has already raised this issue with the IOC, ASOIF and other international sports Federations, as many of our colleagues in the sports world are confronted with similar cases concerning European Competition Law. We all agree that we need this kind of rule to allow us to effectively govern our sport, preserve its integrity, protect our athletes and guarantee clean sport and a level playing field. Commercial considerations should never prevail over sport.”

“The necessity of an unsanctioned event rule in sports was discussed again during meetings with the IOC and ASOIF in Lausanne last week. There was consensus that this rule is fundamental to sport. We agreed that we need to defend the legitimacy of this rule and have a common and consistent approach in addressing this with the European Commission.”

The Global Champions League lodged a complaint with the Belgian Competition Authority in June 2015 alleging that the FEI’s unsanctioned events rule was in breach of competition law.

The Belgian Competition Authority granted interim measures on 27 July requiring the FEI to suspend its unsanctioned events rule (Article 113 of the FEI General Regulations), introduced in January 2013 under which athletes and/or horses are ineligible to compete in an international or national event if they have participated in an unsanctioned event in the previous six months.

An unsanctioned event is an event and/or a competition that is neither published in the official Calendar nor authorised by a National Federation.

ASOIF – Association of Summer Olympic International Federations.

FEI Media Contacts:

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

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

FEI President Clarifies Federation’s Position Remains Unchanged on GCL

Lausanne (SUI), 3 December 2015 – The FEI President Ingmar De Vos has today again confirmed that the FEI’s position on the Global Champions League (GCL) remains unchanged and that the Federation will continue to fight the decision of the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) with all legal means.

“The GCL is still an unsanctioned event which is not approved by the FEI and we are still seeking a full annulment of the decision,” Ingmar De Vos said.

“As the international governing body, we of course have to respect the decision of the Court and have complied with the BCA ruling to publish a statement declaring that, as an interim measure, athletes and horses competing in the GCL events will not be sanctioned. But I want to make it absolutely clear, these are only interim measures which we will continue to fight and that no decision has yet been taken on the merits of the case.

“Some people are trying to create confusion about this case and the position of the FEI, but let me be very clear, our position has not changed. We will fight to defend the principal of unsanctioned events and, once this rule is upheld, it will be applied immediately.”

A press release on the FEI Bureau’s stance on this case, published on 1 November, is available here.

FEI Media Contacts:

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

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

FEI Bureau Agrees Unanimously to Take Strong Stance on GCL Case

San Juan (PUR), 11 November 2015 – The FEI Bureau has today agreed unanimously to continue to fight the case between the FEI and the Global Champions League with all legal means, following an update at the FEI Bureau’s in-person meeting at the FEI General Assembly in the Puerto Rican capital of San Juan.

The Global Champions League lodged a complaint with the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) in June of this year alleging that the FEI’s unsanctioned events rule was in breach of competition law. The BCA granted interim measures on 28 July requiring the FEI to suspend its unsanctioned events rule against athletes and horses for the GCL events. Under the rule, athletes, horses or officials are ineligible to compete in an FEI or national event if they have participated in an unsanctioned event in the previous six months. An unsanctioned event is an event and/or a competition that is neither published in the official FEI calendar nor authorised by a National Federation.

The FEI appealed the interim measures decision to the Brussels Court of Appeal, requesting suspension of the decision. The suspension was rejected without any review of the merits of the case, however the FEI’s view is that the BCA decision should not be applicable outside Belgium and is therefore seeking a full annulment of the decision.

No dates have been set for the annulment process, which will go before the Brussels Court of Appeal, or for the eventual hearing on the full merits of the case, which will be heard by the Belgian Competition Authority.

The FEI is not the only International Federation undergoing legal proceedings on unsanctioned events. The European Commission recently opened a formal anti-trust investigation into International Skating Union (ISU) rules that impose a lifetime ban from competitions, including the Olympic Games and the ISU World and European Championships, on athletes that take part in events not approved by the ISU.

The European Commission has confirmed to the FEI that it will ensure the coherent application of EU anti-trust rules in the FEI and ISU proceedings. It has also clearly indicated that the results of its investigation would set a precedent for similar issues in other sports and provide guidance for national competition authorities and/or national courts for dealing with future cases.

The FEI is to put in a request to the European Commission to be an interested party in the ISU case, and the FEI President has also written to the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) Council and all ASOIF Members proposing that they should put in a similar request. Additionally, the FEI has asked ASOIF to represent the interests of its members on unsanctioned event rules.

“We simply want justice,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said. “We do not want our athletes to be the victims of this ongoing legal case, so we will abide by the Belgian Competition Authority ruling and not sanction them or their horses for competing in GCL events, but it is very important that they are aware that there has been no ruling on the merits of the case and that these interim measures guarantee nothing on the future of unsanctioned events.

“We welcome the European Commission’s formal investigation into the ISU case and await the outcome of that investigation with interest as it will establish the principle on unsanctioned events that will be implemented across the European Union for all sports. The unsanctioned events rule is applied in other sports and we are confident that the principle will be accepted by the European Commission.

“Many International Federations are confronted with similar issues, but while our athletes have the right to decide what events they will compete in, the FEI also has a non-decision making participant, the horse, and it is our duty to protect its welfare and to ensure the integrity of the events that both our equine and human athletes compete in.

“Horse welfare and sporting integrity are the two key principles of the unsanctioned events rule, and these principles can only be protected and promoted by putting in place rules, including anti-doping and veterinary regulations, and by making acceptance of international events onto the official calendar conditional upon the Organising Committee adopting all of those regulations and making them binding on all participants in those events. Without these rules, we have no way of safeguarding the welfare of horses and athletes participating in such events, or of protecting the integrity of the events.

“We are confident that the European Commission will accept that legislation on unsanctioned events is not against the EU anti-trust rules.”

FEI Media Contacts:

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

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