Fears of “chequebook teams” luring foreign riders to switch nationalities and compete at elite international level will be tackled by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) in a review of its rules and regulations.

New FEI secretary general Michael Stone told H&H concerns that existing change of nationality rules may not be tough enough were sparked by the controversial though legitimate make-up of Ukraine’s show jumping team at the World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Aachen.

The team comprising two former German riders and two former Belgians qualified for the 2008 Beijing (Hong Kong) Olympics in fourth position, just one time-fault behind Germany.

“All four riders changed nationality at the beginning of the year and did everything by the rules, providing evidence they had become Ukrainian nationals with Ukrainian passports,” said Mr Stone.

“But because it [WEG] was in Germany and Ukraine nearly beat the Germans for a medal with two former German riders on the team, it highlighted the potential for this to become a much bigger problem.

“While there’s no breach, we will review FEI rules to try to be ahead of the game for once.”

The FEI review is expected to conclude in December.

  • Read this story in full, which includes the views of the BEF and the IOC, in today’s Horse & Hound (28 September, ’06)