The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) has executed an abrupt about turn in the situation surrounding the results of the 2009 Meydan FEI Nations Cup Series and ruled that both Great Britain and the Belgians will be relegated.

Representatives for both teams have previously told H&H that if this happened they would appeal to the Court of Arbitration in Sport (CAS), so show jumping can expect a long, drawn out wrangle over this decision.

In a statement, the FEI announced this morning: “Following consultation with national federations, riders and event organisers, the FEI Bureau today decided that Great Britain and Belgium will both be relegated from the Meydan FEI Nations Cup. “

Both GB and the Belgian team finished the 2009 season in eighth place on equal points ahead of the Italians, who were also relegated.

Rules did not make clear which team should be relegated to the promotional league, or second division, so the FEI decided both should stay in the competition.

But less than a month later the FEI has changed its mind.

“This decision was taken in the best interest of the sport,” FEI President HRH Princess Haya said.

“This is the very first time I have seen all the elements of our sport joined together in a common vision. The FEI, the national federations, riders and organisers are convinced that the eight-team format is the only sustainable format.”

The FEI added that the two highest placed teams in the Nations Cup Promotional League Final, which will be held in Barcelona (ESP) on 20 September, will be promoted to the FEI Nations Cup Top League for the 2010 season.

The procedure for next year will be the relegation of three teams and the promotion of two teams in order to reduce the number of teams to eight in 2011.