Changes to the structure of the FEI bureau have been put on hold after national federations said they needed more time to consider the plan.

An extraordinary general assembly had been called for 6 May in Lausanne, Switzerland, at which members were to decide how the board of the international body for horse sport should be constructed.

But on 14 March the FEI announced that although discussions will take place at the meeting, no vote would be taken until later in the year.

FEI spokesman Malina Gueorguiev said: “For the past 10 years there have been opinions that the [19-member] bureau needs to be restructured.

“Federations are not happy with the current decision-making process — they feel it is quite heavy. But nothing is yet decided — conversations are going on as we speak.”

A restructuring plan — including replacing the bureau with a seven-person board — was put to the general assembly in Copenhagen in 2009.

But, in what was thought to be as much a vote against the FEI president Princess Haya’s autocratic leadership style as the plan, more than half the federations voted against the changes, which have now been kicked into the long grass again.

Chief executive of the British Equestrian Federation (BEF) Andrew Finding said: “The BEF supports a smaller board and would prefer it to be competency-based rather than the regional representation-based system we have currently. We would be comfortable with a board of nine — no more than that.

“If national federations are not ready, or are not in favour of the recommendations, then it’s better for us to talk. We need a structure that works for all.”

This news story was first published in the current issue of Horse & Hound (24 March, 2011)