British Eventing marks end of multi-million pound ‘IT debacle’ with hopes of first profit in nearly 10 years

  • British Eventing (BE) will make a profit in 2023 for the first time in nearly a decade at the “end of the IT debacle”, and a new plan for abandonment insurance is in the pipeline.

    The update came from BE chairman Mark Sartori as the governing body released its accounts for 2022.

    Millions of pounds have been sunk into BE’s problem-strewn IT project in recent years, which has had a significant impact on the governing body’s finances.

    Mr Sartori said that the release of the 2022 accounts “marks the end of the IT debacle as we are taking all the remaining write-offs in one hit”.

    “This means we can start to move forward with a much more accurate and cleaner set of accounts,” he said.

    “It is imperative that our members understand that this huge write-off does not affect our cash position at all, which remains strong.

    “The most important factor to highlight to you is that in 2023 BE will make a profit [for] the first time in nearly a decade, which marks the start of our planned financial turnaround.

    “The huge changes we have made were absolutely vital to ensure BE remained a going concern and we have started to lay the foundations for a sustainable and successful long-term future for BE.”

    Mr Sartori added that the challenges the new board and management team inherited “cannot be underestimated” and said that those involved in the work to “get BE back on track” have “saved BE from going broke”.

    “[They] have also started the journey to make BE sustainable and actually get back to governing the sport,” he said.

    H&H has previously reported extensively on BE’s IT project woes. In August 2020, it was estimated that the transformation project had cost an estimated £2.75m to date.

    A statement on the account sheets said the board had “critically reviewed the progress and benefits” of the IT project.

    “Since the inception of the project the benefits have failed to materialise and the costs of maintaining the systems have increased, further eroding benefits,” said the statement.

    “As a result of this, the IT team at British Eventing have begun a process of replacing the system with off-the-shelf components sooner than originally anticipated.”

    Abandonment insurance has been another hot topic on the British eventing circuit in recent years.

    Mr Sartori said BE chief executive Rosie Williams is in the “final stages” of presenting plans to stakeholders for approval, and will update members “as soon as this is finalised”.

    “This season brought along many challenges, none more so than the extreme weather,” he said.

    “With the wettest spring in over 40 years, we are reviewing our abandonment insurance position and working with all our stakeholders for a solution that benefits everyone.

    “The board is very keen to provide a long-term solution so that our members and stakeholders can plan for the future.

    “We want to move away from knee-jerk responses and have a clear strategy.”

    He added: “It affects us all and we need to make sure that we look after everyone in the decisions we make.”

    BE’s 2023 AGM takes place in person and virtually at 6pm on Friday, 8 December.

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