FEI General Assembly 2021 | An Eventful Life

FEI General Assembly 2021

“We can agree to disagree, we can have intense debates, but once a vote has been taken, and decisions have been made, we need to move on" FEI President Ingmar De Vos

 

The FEI General Assembly, which is running online and in-person in Antwerp, Belgium, started with the First Board Meeting on Sunday 14th November

Scroll down for updates each day with information of particular note for the discipline of eventing

Full details of the FEI General Assembly can be found here

FEI Award Winner Announcements HERE

 

Wednesday 18th - Final Day wrap up

Full FEI wrap up report here - summary of some of the key points and live stream videos below

FEI President Ingmar De Vos opened the first-ever FEI Hybrid General Assembly with a powerful speech highlighting the importance of community spirit as he took delegates through the highs and lows of the previous 12 months.

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the Equine Herpes Virus outbreak in mainland Europe had required adapting rapidly to an ever-evolving status quo, and flexibility to put in place protocols that guaranteed safe events and workplaces.

“This has been draining and overwhelming at times, but as I stand here I am proud and humbled by the strength of our community and our resilience in the face of adversity”, he said. “We showed true resourcefulness, but especially we showed a positive and proactive community that can move forward and embrace change.

“And this is something we have really thought about a lot in our 100th year. What do we want for our collective future, for the next generations? From sporting integrity, good governance and sustainability, how are we creating a positive legacy for the future?”

The FEI President underscored the importance of maintaining equestrian sport’s social licence to operate, which he described as the most important priority on the community’s ‘to do list’.

“We must continue to educate the non-equestrian community about equestrian sport and our values as there is a lot of misinformation which exists out there and could threaten the integrity of  the sport we love.”

Thanking the community for its dedication and generosity the President said, “We can agree to disagree, we can have intense debates, but once a vote has been taken, and decisions have been made, we need to move on - Together – and this is exactly the word used to update the Olympic motto: Faster, Higher, Stronger, Together!”

The President was addressing an onsite audience of over 230 delegates in Antwerp (BEL), as well as a large online presence. A total of 117 of the 136 member National Federations (NFs) were registered, with 52 NFs attending in-person (with eight proxies) and a further 56 online (with one proxy). The required quorum was 69.

 

FINANCIAL REPORT

The FEI Chief Financial Officer (CFO) provided delegates with a detailed presentation on FEI Finances, covering the years 2020 to 2021.

The CFO reported that although the pandemic situation has improved, the 2022 budget has been prepared with a “plan for the worst and hope for the best” approach, as Covid-19 could still impact the number of events at the start of the year.

The General Assembly was informed that the reduction in total commercial revenue compared to 2019 is mainly due to cancellation of events.

Presenting a balanced budget for 2022, the CFO expressed optimism that the numbers have a potential to improve before the budget revision process that is scheduled to take place in the Spring of 2022.

 

FEI RULES & REGULATIONS

The General Assembly approved the modifications to the FEI Internal Regulations as well as the FEI General Regulations. All changes can be viewed here in due course

The FEI President had proposed at the previous day’s Session on the qualification systems for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Paris 2024 that there should be a separate vote on teams of three or four.

National Federations voted in favour of teams of three at the 2024 Olympic Games by 70 votes to 30, with one abstention. The Paris 2024 qualification systems for Jumping, Dressage and Eventing was passed by 81 in favour, 15 against, and zero abstentions.

 

EVENTING

The Eventing Committee report, which includes an update on the FEI Eventing Risk Management Programme including the 2020 Statistics that were published on 21 January 2021, can be viewed here.

The Eventing Committee was pleased with the success of the Eventing competitions at the Olympic Games and with the positive feedback on the simplicity of the overall classifications and exciting sport as well as congratulations to all Olympic medallists

The Eventing Committee has agreed to the development of an FEI Eventing World Challenge, and will proceed with a pilot test in three different regions in 2022 in cooperation with the FEI Solidarity Department.

The report also provides updates on the FEI Eventing Series and Championships held in 2021 with many pandemic challenges, the FEI World Eventing Athlete Rankings, the Education programmes for Officials and the Eventing Development programme.

The General Assembly approved all modifications to the Eventing Rules. All changes to the Eventing Rules can be viewed here in due course.

 

FEI Eventing Committee Chair

David O'Connor (USA) was re-elected as Chair of the FEI Eventing Committee for the four-year term 2021-2025

 

 

 

Tuesday 16th November

Paris 2024 Qualification Systems Dominate Rules Session Discussion

Read our Feature: Paris 2024 Olympic Equestrian Format in the Spotlight

The Olympic and Paralympic qualification systems for Paris 2024 were the key topics for discussion at the Rules and Regulations session today, with the FEI President calling on the community to work together to safeguard the future of equestrian sport in the Olympic and Paralympic Movements.

Opening the Session, President Ingmar De Vos provided an overview of the comprehensive consultation process on the Paris 2024 qualification systems, which is still ongoing, and the IOC timelines.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has set a December 2021 deadline for all sports to submit their Qualification systems for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Due to the postponement of Tokyo 2020, the normal consultation process with the National Federations had to be shortened.

Approval of the Olympic formats will take place at the in-person IOC Executive Board at the beginning of February 2022. The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) will publish the approved qualification systems for all sports, including Para Dressage in early 2022.

The FEI President informed delegates that a comprehensive consultation process on the Olympic Regulations and Minimum Eligibility Requirements (MERs) will begin after the FEI Hybrid General Assembly 2021. The process will include a dedicated session at the FEI Sports Forum in April, the normal consultation process on the documents produced by the Technical Committees and further discussion at the General Assembly 2022 Rules Session prior to voting.

The MERs, which will be reviewed, will be an important element of the Rules Revision. Para Dressage MERs are already included in the Qualification Systems as the qualification period starts on 1 January 2022.

Also under discussion will be field-of-play decisions, the allocation of regional qualifying events and redistribution of unused quota places. The FEI President underscored that the proposed formats with teams of three, if approved by the General Assembly, will only apply to the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and not FEI Championships, Games or Finals.

When the President opened the meeting to points from the floor, the European Equestrian Federation (EEF) representatives presented a last-minute EEF proposal on alternative qualification pathways, based on both teams of four and teams of three.

The proposal called for more emphasis on World Championships and the FEI Nations Cup™ Series as qualification pathways across the three disciplines, rather than Regional Championships.

FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez raised concerns that the proposal does not meet the IOC’s Olympic Qualification system principles, which include providing more than one opportunity for athletes/teams to qualify, fair and equal opportunities to qualify which do not necessitate expensive or extensive travel, and ensuring continental representation.

FEI Regional Group VIII Chair Jack Huang (TPE) stated that lack of preparation in the lead-up to the Games due to lockdowns around the world during the global Covid-19 pandemic could explain some less than optimal performances, but this would be eliminated by strengthening of the MERs for Paris 2024.

United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Director of Sport Will Connell called for longer term thinking on the Olympic formats that goes beyond Paris 2024, to include Los Angeles 2028 and Brisbane 2032. “We need to play the long game,” he said.

The FEI President agreed that, as the Olympic Regulations for Paris 2024 would be included in the FEI Sport Forum next year, qualification systems and formats for Los Angeles 2028 should feature in the 2023 FEI Sports forum.

Delegates, both in-person and online, were given the opportunity to speak. Interventions from the floor came from the Russian Federation, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Eurasian Federation, South Africa, Pan-American Equestrian Confederation (PAEC), Denmark, France, Canada, Cote d’Ivoire. There were also comments received online from the Philippines, Botswana, Hong Kong and Sweden, with the latter three countries expressing their support for a continuation of teams of three at the Olympic Games.

The FEI President confirmed to delegates that there would be a preliminary vote on teams of three or four prior to a vote on the qualification system.

After the discussion on the Olympic Regulations, the Session then moved on to clarifications on the proposed modifications to the FEI Statutes, General and Internal Regulations, Discipline Rules and the FEI Veterinary Regulations. There was also an update on Biosecurity requirements at FEI Events and use of the FEI HorseApp.

All proposed Rules amendments will be voted on at the FEI Hybrid General Assembly on 17 November 2022 and updated on Inside.FEI.org in due course.

The FEI Hybrid General Assembly commences at 09:00 CET and will be available to watch on livestream here.

Read the Proposed Changes to Eventing Rules HERE

Read the Eventing Technical Committee Report - Paris 2024 Qualification System
 

 

Sunday 14th November

The FEI General Assembly, which is running online and in-person in Antwerp, Belgium, has started with the First Board Meeting taking place on Sunday 14th November

The Board meets at least once during the General Assembly week at the beginning of the week for to prepare matters and decisions to be taken at the General Assembly. The Board might also meet after the General Assembly to finalise the decisions and welcome the newly-elected FEI Board Members. 

The Key Discussions and Wrap Up of the First Board Meeting is available in full here with the following items of particular relevance to Eventing noted below;

 

Allocation of FEI Series, Championships & Finals 2023

The FEI European Championship for Ponies - Jumping, Dressage and Eventing –Le Mans (FRA), 27-30 July 2023

 

Covid-19

FEI Medical Committee Chair Dr Mark Hart provided an update on the Covid-19 pandemic, including an overview of recently increased caseloads, particularly in parts of Europe. He stated that although case numbers are increasing dramatically, hospitalisation numbers are not going up. He advised the Board that the Covid-19 virus will eventually become endemic and will be more manageable.

Dr Hart also advised on the success of the Covid countermeasures in place during the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. A total of 1.4 million tests were done across the two Games, with only 364 positives, attributing the low number of positives to the high vaccination levels (93%), strict mask wearing and social distancing policies

 

EHV-1

The FEI Veterinary Director informed the Board that there have been no further reports of outbreaks of neurological EHV-1 related to the outbreaks in mainland Europe in March 2021.

A full report on the outbreak is currently being prepared and will be published in three parts. The first part will provide a detailed evaluation of the factors that led to the outbreak, the series of events, causes, responsibilities, follow-up actions and conclusions. This will be published before 21 December 2021.

 

FEI Eventing Committee

Alec Lochore (GBR) was appointed as a member of the FEI Eventing Committee for the four-year term 2021-2025, replacing outgoing member Philine Ganders-Meyer (GER).

The Board was updated on proposed minor modifications to the FEI Eventing Rules, which will be voted on by National Federations at the FEI General Assembly on 17 November 2021.

 

FEI Sports Forum 2022

The FEI Sports Forum 2022 will be held in Lausanne (SUI) on 25 and 26 April 2022 and there will be a special celebration event for the FEI Centenary on 26 April.

The Board were advised of the sessions for the FEI Sports Forum 2022: Olympic and Paralympic Games Regulations and Olympic Minimum Eligibility Requirements; FEI Event Standards; Grooms Working Group; full Rules revision of Dressage, Para Dressage and Eventing; Biosecurity and disease risk mitigation; FEI Social Media strategy and how to create synergies among the various stakeholders.

Read our Feature Article: The Social Games - Tokyo 2020

Olympic & Paralympic Games

The Discipline Chairs advised the Board about feedback received on the qualification systems for each of the Olympic disciplines. Further discussions on the qualification systems for the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games will take place during Session on FEI Rules and Regulations on 16 November.

FEI Commercial Director Ralph Straus reported that, as with all sports, broadcast viewership was reduced, but equestrian sport rated high in terms of digital engagement, reach and video views during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The FEI was ranked consistently within the top 10 International Sports Federations on digital platforms, according to IRIS and RedTorch reports. The IOC will publish its official broadcast and social media figures for all sports in the Olympic programme before the end of the year.

Read our Feature Article: Behind the Broadcast of Tokyo 2020