FEI secretary general may be given right to veto some horse-abuse protests

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The FEI’s secretary general may have a say in some circumstances on whether protests for horse abuse should go to the FEI Tribunal.

The world governing body is proposing changes to its General Regulations to cover the issue, which will be considered by delegates from national federations at the General Assembly in Montevideo, Uruguay, later this month.

In documentation released ahead of the international meeting, the FEI has outlined a proposal to change Article 142, dealing with horse abuse.

It is proposed to add that the FEI secretary general shall decide whether a protest for abuse of a horse should be referred to the FEI Tribunal or not, depending on the circumstances and evidence.

The FEI says it is receiving many protests without grounds or evidence, and it suggests it should have the option not to refer such protests to the tribunal.

Under the existing General Regulations, any person witnessing horse abuse must report it in the form of a protest under Article 163 without delay. If an abuse is witnessed during or in direct connection with an event, it should still be reported as a protest to an official.

FEI secretary general Sabrina Ibáñez.
FEI secretary general Sabrina Ibáñez .

The new wording appears to specifically deal with abuse witnessed at any other time. “It should be reported as a protest (Article 163) to the secretary general who, following a review of the protest, shall take a decision as to whether or not to refer the matter to the FEI Tribunal.”

Other changes are also proposed around protests, with amendments aimed at clarifying that the FEI itself does not need to lodge a formal protest but can instead proceed to open a disciplinary case against a person.

“This proposed change would more accurately reflect what occurs/should occur in practice where these cases arise,” the FEI says.

The FEI may open such a disciplinary case for conduct which brings equestrian sport, and the FEI in particular, into disrepute and/or in the case of match fixing, betting, bribery and/or corruption.

The proposed change specifically adds “abuse of horse” to the reasons it can launch such cases, as well as “any other breach of the FEI Rules and Regulations”.

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