NZ, Aust to seek continental recognition from FEI

Australia's silver medal winning eventing team at the Beijing Olympics in Hong Kong in 2008.
Australia’s silver medal winning eventing team at the Beijing Olympics in Hong Kong in 2008. New Zealand and Australia are looking to join forces in a continental group. © Kit Houghton

New Zealand and Australia are hoping for a favourable response from the FEI when it urges the world governing body to recognise a continental grouping comprising the two countries.

It is no secret that New Zealand and Australia are not entirely happy with the manner of their current representation within the FEI’s Group 8.

The 28 Group 8 nations are primarily centred on Southeast Asia.

The group is understandably focused on Asian events and and Asian equestrian interests. The international sphere of interest for Australia and New Zealand is concentrated not on Asia, but the competitions of Britain and Europe.

The two nations’ sphere of influence within Group 8 is limited as a consequence.

Now, with the FEI formally recognising several continental groupings, Australia and New Zealand are hoping for a favourable response when they raise the issue in Istanbul, Turkey, early next month, when nations come together for the FEI’s annual General Assembly.

It is understood the two countries have requested a meeting with FEI Secretary General Ingmar De Vos in Istanbul in order to put their case.

If the response is favourable, they will move to draft a suitable constitution with the hope of getting the matter on the General Assembly’s agenda for 2013 for a formal vote.

The FEI officially recognises the European Equestrian Federation. A similar grouping in the Americas – the Pan American Equestrian Confederation – is becoming increasingly active.

There is an Asian federation and an African federation, although the latter neatly conforms with the grouping the FEI already has in place for that continent.

Zhichen Pan
China’s Pan ZhichenHo Nai Yue Singapore’s Ho Nai Yue

Vote for chairmanship

It will fall upon the General Assembly as a whole to decide the new chairman for Group 8, after voting by its members failed to get the required majority for one candidate.

Four candidates stood for the role, with two eliminated in the first rounds of voting.

The two still in contention for the role are Ho Nai Yue, of Singapore, and Pan Zichen, from China.

Group 8 nations ultimately held two votes between the two to decide the chairmanship, but neither could achieve the two-thirds majority required. That means the vote will go to the full General Assembly for a decision.

The pair present quite different backgrounds. Ho has held a number of important roles within the FEI, and has officated in numberous events in Southeast Asia, including overall chief steward at the Beijing Olympics.

He is an international judge for show jumping and endurance, and is qualified as an FEI Steward General. You would be hard pressed to find a more impressive equestrian CV in terms of service to his sport.

Pan is president of the Chinese Equestrian Association.

From 2000 to 2009 he was director of the Competition Preparation Department of the Chinese Olympic Committee, which covered all Olympic sporting disciplines.

He became equestrian head in China while serving as director general of cycling, fencing, the modern pentathlon, triathlon, and the Equestrian Sports Administrative Centre of China.


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