In a surprise announcement, Princess Haya has said that she will not seek a third term as FEI President.
But today Princess Haya, who was elected in 2006, announced that she would not seek to extend her presidency beyond November 2014.
“After my election in 2006, I proposed limiting FEI Presidents to two four-year terms… because it is essential to ensure fresh thinking and avoid a sense of entitlement,” she said.
“I cannot in good conscience put aside my beliefs and the commitment I made seven years ago now that the term limit I supported applies to me,” she added.
According to the FEI, the third term proposal was put forward by FEI regional group chairs and national federations.
Princess Haya said she was “honoured” by their efforts, but was “confident” they would understand “why I feel I must keep my word when my current term ends next year”.
Princess Haya has been instrumental in brokering a number of lucrative sponorship deals for horse sport — including a nine-figure deal with watchmaker Longines and £13.4m from the Saudi Equestrian Fund to help shore up the showjumping Nations Cup.
They have pointed to an alleged “conflict of interest” between her role as the arbiter of clean sport and her marriage to Sheikh Mohammed, whose endurance and racing interests have been caught up in recent doping scandals.
Statement from FEI President HRH Princess Haya on FEI Governance
In my first meeting in Lausanne with the FEI Bureau after my election in 2006, I proposed limiting FEI Presidents to two four-year terms. I suggested that reform, which was later adopted as an FEI Statute, because it is essential to ensure fresh thinking and avoid a sense of entitlement within the leadership of an International Sport Federation.
Whilst I very much appreciate and am honoured by efforts of the FEI Regional Group Chairpersons and the National Federations to amend the FEI Statutes to permit me, or any FEI President to seek a third term, my views on the benefits of a two-term limit have not changed since the day I was elected. I love being FEI President. I am passionate about the work and our sport. I love the people I work with at the National Federations and at headquarters.
However, I cannot in good conscience put aside my beliefs and the commitment I made seven years ago now that the term limit I supported applies to me. I am deeply grateful to all the National Federations that favour changing the Statutes to allow me a third term. I am confident they will understand why I feel I must keep my word when my current term ends next year.
I was first elected to this job seven years ago because our National Federations wanted transparency, good governance and change and I promised a transformational presidency. Together, through thick and thin, we have achieved more than 80% of all pledges laid down in my manifesto and programme in an open, democratic and transparent manner. I am so very proud of the people who worked together with me to achieve this.
My focus in my final year in office is on delivering the remaining pledges. I will complete this shared mission with respect, determination and energy — and with the support of the entire community and above all the help from 132 National Federations.
I intend to leave the FEI in November 2014 knowing that our International Federation is fit for the future. I will work as hard as ever towards that goal until my final day in office. And then I will step aside, confident that I have done the right thing.