H&H has learnt that an attempt will be made at the FEI general assembly today (7 November) to ensure that its controversial president, Princess Haya, serves a third term.
Earlier this year proposals were put forward to change the FEI’s rules, enabling the president to serve a third four-year term. But the Princess said she would not seek to extend her presidency beyond November 2014, saying the current limit was “essential to ensure fresh thinking and avoid a sense of entitlement”.
According to the FEI, the third term proposal came from national federations and FEI regional group chairs — but the president of the Jamaican federation claims the Princess lobbied “aggressively” for it herself.
Some national federations — including the Dutch and Swiss bodies — had indicated they would oppose any attempt to enable Haya to serve a third term. They have alleged a “conflict of interest” between her role as the arbiter of clean sport and her marriage to Sheikh Mohammed, whose endurance and racing interests in the UAE and UK have been involved in recent doping scandals.
Haya’s supporters say she has brokered key sponsorship deals and been a cheerleader for equestrianism at the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which had previously considered ejecting horse sport from the Games.
Now it has emerged that a petition got up by the Taipei federation calling for Princess Haya to serve a third term will be presented to the final day of the general assembly in Montreux, Switzerland today. It is expected to be put to an extraordinary vote.