Brits against proposal to limit Olympic eventing teams

New Zealand’s bronze medal team, from left, Jonelle Richards, Caroline Powell, Jonathan Paget, Andrew Nicholson, and Mark Todd.
New Zealand’s bronze medal-winning team from the London 2012 Olympic Games; from left, Jonelle Richards, Caroline Powell, Jonathan Paget, Andrew Nicholson, and Mark Todd. © Kit Houghton/FEI

Moves to consider reducing the number of team members in an Olympic eventing competition have been rejected by several leading nations, with Britain among those strongly opposed to the idea.

Olympic formats were under discussion at last week’s FEI General Assembly in Puerto Rico, and the British Federation made a a clear public statement that British Eventing was opposed to reducing the number in a team from four to three. Similar views were expressed by the Germans, the Dutch and by the USA.

FEI President Ingmar De Vos led discussions with National Federations at the GA on proposed changes, following the circulation of the FEI Eventing Committee’s proposals for the Olympic Games.

BE Chief Executive David Holmes said British Eventing had been “fully engaged” in Olympic Agenda 2020 since the FEI Sports Forum in April. The British Eventing’s Olympic Agenda 2020 Working Group was formed in July, consisting of all the key stakeholders in the sport including organisers, riders and owners.

“This Working Group first met on July 29 and produced a paper outlining the various options that the group felt were possible. In looking at these options the group considered carefully the Strengths and Weaknesses of each against the headings of Format – CCI/CIC, Universality, Presentation and Cost – all of which are key for the IOC,” Holmes said.

The next meeting of the Olympic Agenda 2020 Working Group is on December 2 when the recommendations from the FEI General Assembly will be reviewed in detail.

The plan then is for another paper to be produced which will be sent to the FEI outlining British Eventing’s own recommendations – a paper which will also be circulated to the European Equestrian Federation and other National Federations.

De Vos said that the period of consultation was very much open, that it was vital to give more nations more opportunity, that Federations had to think about the sport and its long term viability in the Olympic movement.

The FEI will present more detailed format change proposals based on feedback from National Federations at the FEI Sports Forum 2016 in Lausanne, Switzerland, on April 4-5. New formats will then be voted on at the FEI General Assembly 2016, before being submitted to the IOC before its Executive Board meeting in early 2017.

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