Fireworks in Copenhagen: FEI general assembly blog

  • There’s an interesting undercurrent at the FEI general assembly, taking place this week in Copenhagen. People are expecting this to be a volatile meeting, and seem to be watching and waiting for the fireworks.

    There were quiet fireworks yesterday — when the proposed changes to statutes and restructuring process was voted down by just one vote. But everyone was fairly polite afterwards “we agreed with the proposals, but not the way it was done”.

    Reading between the lines — and reading the comments on the proposals issued in my welcome pack — this may actually have been a vote more against FEI president Princess Haya’s rather overpowering leadership style.

    No-one disputes that the many changes she has made to the FEI have been anything but positive for a sporting federation that needed a shake-up — but she does seem to rule with a strong hand.

    Rumours abound that various “abrupt departures” from the FEI have resulted from differences of opinion with the president. And anonymous blogs talk about the Princess surrounding herself with “yes men”.

    This afternoon’s session on clean sport will be an interesting one. New plans will be unveiled in a two-hour session ahead of a debate, and the FEI hopes, approval, during the general assembly tomorrow.

    Apparently some countries are pushing for a certain level of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs – such as bute) to be allowed on the medication list.

    Some countries, such as Switzerland, have had a zero tolerance policy towards drugs for 20 years. Others, such as America, allow low levels of some substances in all competition horses bar racehorses. Maybe that’s where the fireworks will come.

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