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British Eventing (BE) has decided not to implement the controversial “one-fall-and-out rule” at national affiliated competitions, less than 24 hours before the new rule was due to come in.

BE’s new rule eliminating competitors after one rider fall on the cross-country was due to be effective from tomorrow (1 August), but this evening BE has released a statement saying there will be no change to the current rules.

Iain Graham, chairman of the BE safety committee, said: “The timing of the FEI ruling on ‘one-fall-and-out’ gave us little opportunity to carry out the necessary research, consultation and consideration which would normally precede any such change in the national rules.

“At the time, the BE sport committee reluctantly felt obliged to follow the FEI position and implement the ruling from August, while carrying out its own thorough investigation of fall data accumulated since 2001.

“Having pressed on with its analysis, and following further discussion with medical advisers, the sport committee concluded there was no strong evidence on which to base the proposed change and will leave the current rule unchanged in national competitions, thus allowing a rider to continue after a fall at a cross-country fence, if safe to do so.”

Mike Etherington-Smith, BE sport director, said: “I am delighted with the decision by the sport committee and board to continue under the current ruling, giving our members support as they progress with the training of their horses, and education of the rider, from intro classes upwards.”

The rule will still apply in FEI competitions, where it will be used in both the show jumping and cross-country. The BE proposed rule only applied to the cross-country.