Two stand against Princess Haya for FEI president

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Princess Haya will learn next week if she is to serve a further four years as president of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI).

Two candidates stand against her — Henk Rottinghuis of the Netherlands and Sven Holmberg from Sweden are both bidding to run the governing body of horsesport.

The election will take place during the FEI general assembly in Taipei next Friday (5 November).

A controversial figure during her four-year first term as president, 36-year-old Princess Haya can only serve one more term under current FEI rules.

If re-elected, the Princess has promised to offer athletes more representation and address transportation and quarantine challenges faced by travelling horses.

Former dressage rider Henk Rottinghuis, 53, headed the Dutch equestrian federation from 1999 to 2004.

He says he will “unite the FEI and put the sport and its development at the top of the agenda”.

Sven Holmberg, 65, is the current FEI vice president and chairman of the FEI jumping committee.

He strongly and publicly opposed the (now abandoned) proposal to allow again the use of bute and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in competition — the topic of strong debate at last year’s general assembly.

If elected, Mr Holmberg promises “to make the democratic processes more effective” and to place horse welfare “at the forefront” of the FEI’s work.

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (28 October, ’10)