Nations rejoin polo governing body as ‘crisis’ averted

  • Polo fans will see a new era of transparency and co-operation following the resolution of a crisis in the international game, said the acting president of the Federation of International Polo (FIP).

    The English, American and Argentine polo associations have rejoined the FIP following the resignation of president Patrick Guerrand-Hermès of France on 23 November.

    And James Ashton, a former president of the Australian Polo Council, has become acting president to lead the rehabilitation of the troubled federation.

    “The crisis is over,” said Mr Ashton, “but there is still much work to do. We will work together over the coming months to redefine the mission of the FIP for the benefit of our 50-plus member countries.”

    In October, the three polo federations withdrew from the FIP in a dispute over Mr Guerrand-Hermès’ autocratic leadership style.

    David Woodd, chief executive of the Hurlingham Polo Association, said the situation would do international polo a favour in the long run.

    He said: “The US, Argentina and, to an extent ourselves, have not taken a lot of interest in the FIP in the past, but this has given us a jolt. We need to pull together and take polo forward.”

    Mr Guerrand-Hermès’ resignation came the day before the 2009 FIP general assembly in Buenos Aires. The meeting has been rescheduled for next spring.

    Meanwhile, the FIP council and committees will review governance and administration and look at the international rules of the game and the handicapping system.

    “The most important thing,” added Mr Ashton, “is that we remain completely transparent and that we operate in consultation with all the national polo associations.”

    This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (3 December 09)

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