Great Britain and Belgium could both stay in the Meydan FEI World Cup series for next year after an unanimous decision of International Equestrian Federation (FEI) Bureau. And they may also be joined by Italy, meaning 12 teams in the 2010 series.

The FEI announced today that they would like both Britain and Belgium to stay in the competition after a rules mix up meant it was not clear which team should be relegated. But they said the final decision will be made by show organisers and the sponsors Meydan.

Britain and Belgium were tied in eighth place after the final competition of the series, at the Dublin Horse Show. And FEI rules were contradictory over who should be relegated with last-placed Italy.

But at a meeting of the FEI Bureau it was decided that “the governing body has a responsibility to translate its own rules in a sporting fashion and to understand clearly the pressures that are faced by the national federations and athletes as a result of the current economic hardships”.

And as a result, subject to competition organisers’ agreement, both teams should stay up.

But the Italian team now “feels strongly” that even though they finished 10th and last in the Nations Cup, they too should be allowed to compete in next year’s series.

They believe that if a concession is made for two teams, they should be included as a third.

The FEI jumping committee is looking into the matter.