‘We are devastated’: frustration at FEI over cancellation of replacement eventing class

  • Event riders have made a “personal appeal” to the FEI after the organisation backtracked on a replacement class for those lost to the wet spring.

    Chatsworth cancelled its CCI2*-S, while Rockingham is another casualty of the weather and has been forced to pull the plug on all classes (19 to 21 May).

    Bicton International was yesterday (17 May) given the green light by the FEI to run a CCI2*-S at next week’s fixture (25 to 28 May). But a statement from Bicton said that approval “has been suddenly revoked by the FEI today (18 May)”. Bicton’s other international classes will run as planned next week.

    “We have been told that this is due to rules within the FEI general regulations,” said the statement, adding that all entry fees and stabling for the class will be refunded.

    “British Eventing [BE] and British Equestrian [BEF] have been massively supportive. We are devastated as we are ready to run this class.”

    Eventing Riders Association chairman Bruce Haskell said the organisation is making a “personal appeal” to the FEI’s executive administration to “urgently reconsider”.

    “The unprecedented spring weather in the UK is well documented with the outright cancellation of both BE and FEI classes,” said Mr Haskell.

    “This position has left athletes and owners short of venues for vital minimum eligibility requirements to progress both horse and riders or begin their FEI careers.

    “Due to a combination of the increased cost of transport, Brexit and weather, UK athletes have an extremely limited number of FEI alternatives remaining on the spring calendar. The inclusion of Bicton at short notice would have been perfect.”

    He said the decision to “un-approve” the additional classes was made “outside of the Bicton organising committee, BE, BEF and the FEI eventing committee”.

    “The reason for un-approval sits within the legal process of the FEI. Rule number article 110 of the FEI general regulations,” he added.

    “From a governance perspective It is clear that FEI eventing does not have control of its own programme and that under the current FEI administration, the destiny of eventing is determined by other non-related disciplines and the issues they have created in the past.

    “As athletes we again appeal to the FEI administration to see sense especially as the request for additional classes will directly impact young athletes, young horses, recreational working athletes, in other words, your future FEI customers.”

    H&H has approached the FEI for comment.

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