FEI president Ingmar De Vos unopposed in seeking second term

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FEI President Ingmar De Vos, who was elected as an IOC Member at the IOC Session in Lima, Peru, on Friday.
FEI President Ingmar De Vos, who was elected as an IOC Member at the IOC Session in Lima, Peru, last September, is unopposed in his bid for a second term at the helm of the FEI.

FEI president Ingmar De Vos will stand unopposed for a second term at the world governing body’s General Assembly in Bahrain in November.

The FEI has confirmed that the Belgian is the sole nomination for the presidency.

De Vos formerly served as the organisation’s secretary general. He was elected to the presidency in 2014 in a contested election after Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein stepped down after two four-year terms at the helm. Shortly thereafter, he became the first paid president in the FEI’s history.

His second four-year term will be confirmed in the Bahrain capital on November 20.

It is the first time since 2002 that there has been an uncontested election for the FEI’s top role. Under the FEI’s constitution, a president can serve up to three four-year terms as president.

De Vos, in his mid-50s, holds degrees in political science, business administration and international and European law. He started his career as an adviser to the Belgian Senate.

He joined the Belgian Equestrian Federation as managing director in 1990, and held the additional role of secretary general from 1997 to 2011. He was secretary general of the European Equestrian Federation from 2010, the year the organisation was formed, until 2011.

During his time at the Belgian National Federation, De Vos was chef de mission for the Belgian equestrian team at all FEI World Equestrian Games from 1990 to 2010 and at several Olympic Games.

De Vos was appointed FEI secretary general in May 2011, before stepping up to the presidency.

FEI President Ingmar De Vos at the organisation's Sports Forum in Lausanne earlier this week. 
FEI President Ingmar De Vos was elected to the role in 2014. © FEI/Richard Juilliart

He was recently elected a member of the International Olympic Committee, providing equestrian sport with a crucial voice around the IOC table.  He is only the fourth FEI president to become an IOC member.

“I am honoured to have the opportunity to stand for re-election,” De Vos said.

“While I would have expected other candidates, I take the fact that I am unopposed as recognition of all the important work that has been done by the FEI over the last four years.”

Athlete representatives

A total of 52 athletes from 26 countries, across five continents, will also be standing for election as athlete representatives for the FEI’s eight committees for Jumping, Dressage, Eventing, Para-Dressage, Driving, Endurance, Reining and Vaulting.

Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez, who initiated the sports-specific athlete representative role four years ago in her previous role as director of governance, highlighted the significance of the massive athlete turnout for the upcoming elections for these roles.

“We have a record number of athletes wanting to play a role in helping to shape the future direction of equestrian sport, and these include Olympic and Paralympic medalists and current world champions.

“Equestrian sport is unique in the fact that our athletes have such long competitive careers, and many also want to give back to the sport and forge the right future for the next generations of athletes.

FEI president Ingmar De Vos, left with IOC president Thomas Bach. © FEI/Richard Juilliart
FEI president Ingmar De Vos, left with IOC president Thomas Bach. © FEI/Richard Juilliart

“These are voluntary positions for our athletes, who already spend every waking moment in this sport, so we fully appreciate just how strong a message this is sending to our global community.”

The athlete representative online voting process will open on July 29.

Athletes over 18, who have competed in one of the last two senior FEI World Championships, Olympic Games or Paralympic Games, can vote for an athlete in the same sport as themselves and have until the last day of the FEI World Equestrian Games (September 23) to do so.

To be eligible as a candidate, athletes must have a clean anti-doping record since April 2010 when the new FEI anti-doping system came into effect.

The elected athlete representatives will be announced on September 24.

General Assembly votes

On June 15, the FEI will announce the remaining 16 positions that will be elected and appointed during the FEI General Assembly 2018.

These will include members of the FEI Bureau – which is responsible for the general direction of the FEI – FEI Group and Committee chairs, and standing committee members.

All applications for the positions voted on at the FEI General Assembly will be vetted by the FEI Nominations Committee on June 7.

Earlier commentary 

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