FEI dumps “ageist” policy against horse sport officials

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Age limits on FEI officials are to be replaced by a competency-based evaluation system, delegates to the FEI General Assembly in Manama, Bahrain, were told on Monday.

The FEI’s age limit on officials has been controversial, with Equestrian Sports New Zealand chief executive Vicki Glynn noting in 2016 that the FEI was one of only two organisations that retained age limits for officials.

At that year’s FEI Sports Forum, Glynn headed the call to remove the age limit for FEI Officials.

Officials who were forced to retire in 2017 and before can reapply once the new competency-based assessment, recommended by the Officials Working Group, has been implemented.

As the rules now stand, officials must retire at the end of the year that they turned 70. “Ageing out” is a major issue in dressage, where commentators expect there will be few international judges left in North America by the end of next year.

FEI Officials reaching the relevant age limit as of 2018 may apply to continue officiating providing they have been active for the past two years, their application is supported by their National Federation and they are in good-standing with the FEI.

Applications would be reviewed by FEI Secretary-General Sabrina Ibáñez on a case-by-case basis, in consultation with the relevant Discipline Director and Technical Committee Chair.

No indication of the time-frame for the introduction of the competency-based evaluation system has been made.

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