Holmberg steps down abruptly from the FEI

  • Sven Holmberg has abruptly resigned from his posts at the international governing body of horse sport, the FEI, saying he “did not agree with decisions that were being taken”.

    The 65-year-old Swede, who stood as chair of the jumping committee and was a bureau member, said on 10 February he “no longer found it meaningful, or useful, to participate in the politics” at the FEI.

    Last November, Mr Holmberg was one of two people who stood against Princess Haya for FEI presidency.

    At the time he was FEI vice-president and strongly and publicly opposed the since-abandoned proposal to allow the use of bute and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in competition.

    If elected, he promised to place horse welfare “at the forefront”.

    Mr Holmberg received 23 out of 124 votes, with Princess Haya gaining 90 and the remaining 11 going to Henk Rottinghuis.

    Mr Holmberg, who was sports director at the inaugural FEI World Equestrian Games in 1990, told H&H he would “rather not” make any further comment, adding that he needed “a little distance to reflect”.

    In a statement, he said his reasons for resigning went back a year. He said he felt the recommendations and advice of the jumping committee had been “disregarded or dealt with” in such a way as to convince him that, for “whatever reason it is not respected as the technical adviser on the discipline.”

    He added: “The politics and power games currently played will not benefit the development of our sport. I find that in some aspects my integrity is being questioned.”

    John Madden, deputy chair of the jumping committee, took over with immediate effect and a permanent chair will be installed in November.

    This news story was first published in the current issue of Horse & Hound (17 February, 2011)

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