FEI calls for dressage committee's resignation

November 4, 2008


FEI president Princess Haya

The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) has called for the immediate resignation of its entire dressage committee, saying it does not fully represent the interests of the dressage community.

"The FEI Executive Board has taken this decision following a series of issues indicating the current Committee's lack of flexibility on certain key matters," it said in a statement yesterday.

"The committee has been seen to work in isolation, not fully representing the interests of the dressage community as a whole," it added.

An interim solution is being discussed within the FEI to ensure the sound management of the sport whilst reviewing the strategic direction of dressage.

The names of those on the interim committee and their mandate will follow. It is expected that the replacements will be named before the FEI's general assembly, from November 17-22 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

"As the custodian of equestrian sport, the FEI will continue to maintain stringent level of transparency and professionalism meeting the requirements of a modern international sports governing body," it said.

The chairman of the committee is Belgium's Mariette Withages-Dieltjens. The committee also includes Dolores Fernandez de Bobadilla, Spanish chef d'equipe Bobby Bobadilla, rider Monica Theodorescu, and judges Dieter Schule, Vincenzo Truppa and Minako Furuoka.

In a letter to committee members asking for their resignation, FEI president Princess Haya referred to "a catalogue of incidents", including the late-night meeting about dressage judging at the Olympic Games.

Princess Haya said in another point that the athletes served by the committee felt unable to take issue with the committee "for fear, literally, that you will show your displeasure through your role as judges."

She also said "based on the sheer volume of occasions where Dressage Committee members have flatly refused any advice, recommendations, requests or even instruction from the FEI Bureau, Executive Board or indeed your own stakeholders and in particular your athletes, I am unable to see how we can continue to interact with your committee in an environment, which is so completely uncooperative and self-serving."