Princess Haya’s eight-year presidency of the FEI will end in November next year, despite national federations looking to enact a rule change that would have allowed her a third four-year term.
Haya said while she appreciated efforts under way to change the statutes that would have allowed her another four years, she felt eight years was enough in such a role.
The news will come as a shock to many national federations, which valued her high international profile and powerful connections.
She is a respected member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and was seen a strong advocate for equestrian sport at that level. Haya will relinquish her IOC membership on leaving the presidency, having been elected to the Olympic body in 2007 through her FEI role.
Haya will leave the presidency in November next year after eight years as president of equestrian sport’s world governing body.
It was the Jordanian princess who, in her first meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, with the FEI Bureau in 2006, proposed limiting FEI presidents to two four-year terms.
“I suggested that reform, which was later adopted as an FEI Statute, because it is essential to ensure fresh thinking and avoid a sense of entitlement within the leadership of an international sport federation,” she said.
“Whilst I very much appreciate and am honoured by efforts of the FEI Regional Group Chairpersons and the National Federations to amend the FEI Statutes to permit me, or any FEI president to seek a third term, my views on the benefits of a two-term limit have not changed since the day I was elected.
“I love being FEI president. I am passionate about the work and our sport. I love the people I work with at the national federations and at headquarters.
“However, I cannot in good conscience put aside my beliefs and the commitment I made seven years ago now that the term limit I supported applies to me.
“I am deeply grateful to all the national federations that favour changing the statutes to allow me a third term.
“I am confident they will understand why I feel I must keep my word when my current term ends next year.”
Haya said she was first elected president because national federations wanted transparency, good governance and change. She had promised a transformational presidency, she said.
“Together, through thick and thin, we have achieved more than 80 percent of all pledges laid down in my manifesto and programme in an open, democratic and transparent manner.
“I am so very proud of the people who worked together with me to achieve this.
“My focus in my final year in office is on delivering the remaining pledges. I will complete this shared mission with respect, determination and energy — and with the support of the entire community and above all the help from 132 National Federations.”
Haya said she would leave the role knowing that the world governing body was fit for the future.
“I will work as hard as ever towards that goal until my final day in office. And then I will step aside, confident that I have done the right thing.”
Two months ago, the nine regional group chairs of the FEI agreed unanimously to seek a statute change which sought to exclude the president from the rule stating that no bureau member may severe more than two consecutive full terms in the same function. It proposed adding another rule that the president be eligible for up to three four-year terms.
The proposal is to go to a vote when national federations gather for the FEI’s General Assembly in Montreux, Switzerland, in November.
There is no clear successor to Haya at this stage.