Four FEI officials facing allegations over ‘failing to comply with duties and obligations’ at Blenheim

  • The technical delegate and three members of the young horse CCI4*-S ground jury at the 2021 Blenheim Horse Trials are facing allegations by the FEI.

    The names of four officials appeared on the FEI’s case status table for administrative disciplinary procedures on Friday (12 November).

    The ground jury for the CCI4*-S for eight- and nine-year-old horses, president Laure Eslan and members Angela Tucker and Douglas Hibbert, each face the allegation of “failing to comply with duties and obligations as an FEI eventing official”.

    The event’s technical delegate, Patricia Clifton, also faces the same allegation.

    A minor sanction of a three-month suspension from 1 March 2022 is proposed for Mrs Clifton and Mme Eslan, and a proposed one-month suspension is suggested for Mrs Tucker and Mr Hibbert.

    The fixture had two separate FEI classes, with a separate ground jury for each. There are no cases listed against any of the three members of the CCI4*-L ground jury, nor the event’s assistant technical delegate.

    At this stage, any violations are alleged; nothing is proven as fact.

    The way the FEI disciplinary process works is that each person can choose whether to admit the alleged violation and accept a minor sanction, or deny it and take one of two options. These are to have the case dealt with under the FEI’s administrative disciplinary procedure, where a person will have the right to explain what happened and defend themselves, or to have the case submitted to the FEI Tribunal directly for adjudication.

    H&H asked the FEI for exact details of the incident the allegations relate to. The organisation declined to comment, adding: “The FEI will not provide further comment on this matter at this time, as the proceedings are pending. We can confirm that no sanctions have been imposed yet.”

    The FEI spokesman continued: “The proceedings are pending and no sanctions have been imposed yet. Therefore, the officials are not provisionally suspended.

    “If any sanction is imposed it will be done so under the FEI general regulations, amongst others mentioned in the provision. Until that time, they can continue with their duties.”

    H&H is aware of a situation occurring around the start and finish area during the cross-country phase of the eight- and nine-year-old CCI4*-S involving a fall, but it is not known whether this is in any way connected to the alleged violations mentioned above, nor if this situation was a violation.

    In broad terms, an FEI suspension means the person, horse or body may take “no part” in competitions or events as an athlete, horse or official, or in the organisation of any event under the jurisdiction of the FEI or national federation, in accordance with the FEI statutes, or in any FEI-related activity. Other restrictions can also be specified in a decision.

    H&H has approached the four officials for comment. None has chosen to do so at present.

    The cases continue.

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