Britain finished equal second in the final leg of the Meydan FEI Nations Cup, but confusion now reigns over whether this is sufficient to escape relegation from the top flight of Nations Cup competitions.

The competition was won by rank outsiders Italy, who had already been relegated from next year’s competition before the final leg got underway. They produced inspired performances under their new trainer and chef d’equipe Markus Fuchs to finish on 12 faults.

Britain and Switzerland both completed on 16 for second place, while Belgium finished on 28 faults in seventh place. This leaves Britain and Belgium on 22 points at the end of the series.

Rule 10 of the FEI Nations Cup Series rulebook, which refers to team classification at the end of the season, states: “In case of equality of points for any place on the overall Top League classification, teams are separated by giving preference to the team with the greater number of first place classifications; in case there is still a tie the number of second place classifications will count and if necessary the number of third place classifications and so on if the necessity arises.”

Neither Britain nor Belgium have won a leg, but Britain has an equal second while Belgium’s best result was an equal third, which suggest that Belgium will be relegated. However, rule 16, which refers specifically to the relegation process appears to contradict this as it states:

“The two last placed teams in the overall standings at the end of each season will be relegated to the FEI Nations Cup Promotional League. Teams tying on points for either of the last two places in the final classification of the Top League are separated by relegating the two teams with the greatest number of last places in the Top League competitions. If further ties exist the teams with the greatest number of second last places are relegated and so on until a tie no longer exists.”

On this basis it looks like Britain is the team to be relegated. Both Britain and Belgium have twice not made the second round of the competition, but Britain has finished eighth on one occasion, while Belgium’s next worse performance was seventh.

No official announcement confirming whether Britain or Belgium are to be relegated has been made.