Nations meet to discuss Olympic Agenda 2020
 
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BE Logo 01 Mar 16

Nations meet to discuss Olympic Agenda 2020

This week saw British Eventing host 30 delegates from across the world of Eventing in a meeting to discuss the FEI’s Olympic Agenda 2020 and the proposed changes to future format of the sport.

Called to share and expand on work carried out by the British Eventing Olympic Agenda 2020 Working Group, the meeting invited key stakeholders to converse their own recommendations and thoughts on the FEI Proposals.

Thirteen National Federations alongwith representatives from the Event Riders Association UK (ERA), European Equestrian Federation (EEF), FEI Athletes Committee, FEI Eventing Committee, statistical analytic company EquiRatings and FEI Eventing Committee Chair Giuseppe Della Chiesa, came together at Heathrow airport with a further six Federations joining by conference call.

Three vs Four rider teams

Commencing with a discussion on FEI Proposal A: To allow a maximum of three horse/athlete combinations per nation, votes from the attendees present went against this idea with 15 of the delegates raising concerns over losing a team member and just three being in favour of the FEI suggestion.

The FEI Eventing Committee Chair first clarified that the FEI’s rationale to reduce team numbers to three per nation for an Olympic Games centred around allowing the sport to be more open to other nations, and to meet the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) principle of universality. From this several representatives voiced a similar feeling that simply allowing more nations in to the Games doesn’t make it more open, citing fears that the level of competition would need to be lowered to meet the needs of nations that are less developed in eventing.

Opinions in support of the proposal backed the FEI’s justification; creating an environment where nations can field a team of three provides a channel for getting more flags at the Olympics. It was felt that by opening the door to more horse/rider combinations from other nations it would lift the quality of eventing around the world, along with producing safer riding with teams required to get all three riders to complete rather than having the safety net of a drop score.

The need to create a complicated scoring system for a team of three and the risk of having only a few teams completing the team competition were further arguments against a three rider team. However all were unanimous in agreement that whether a team contains three or four riders the sport must present itself well to the public and media, with more work being required to increase the sport from the base.

The medal decider

The afternoon looked at FEI Proposal E, which suggests that the team jumping round should take place after the individual jumping, and that all team riders should be in the arena at the same time, with the intention of creating an exciting team finale.

Eight nations felt that the team competition should remain as the first round of jumping with individual medals being decided last, but with all attendees open to the idea of change, consensus across the room was that they would be happy to accept the FEI proposal. The suggestion that all team riders should enter the arena at the same time was received by most with concern regarding timing, access to coaches and the distraction it could cause, with only a few agreeing it would lead to an exciting climax to the eventing competition.

Meeting Chair and British Eventing’s Chief Executive, David Holmes, commented; “The meeting was a great success and appreciated very much by all National Federations who participated – it was particularly satisfying for us since such a meeting where those responsible for eventing in their NFs has rarely, if ever, taken place previously at such a level.

“The FEI Eventing Committee now have a very clear view as to where NFs stand on the proposals put forward for the Olympic Eventing format. We have strongly encouraged all NFs to back up by writing individually to the FEI with their formal feedback to the proposals – it is key that this is done prior to the next FEI Eventing Committee meeting at the start of March, the proposal that comes out of this meeting will be the one presented to the FEI Sports Forum at the beginning of April.”

Next steps

The FEI Eventing Committee will meet on 1st and 2nd March to decide on the proposal that will be presented at the FEI Sports Forum on the 4th and 5th April 2016 in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Following the FEI Sports Forum NFs will vote on the proposals for all disciplines at the FEI General Assembly in November 2016. Thereafter the accepted proposals will be forwarded to the IOC Evaluation Commission. The Commission will review all Olympic NFs proposals in the third quarter of 2017 before making recommendations to the IOC General Assembly which will meet towards the end of 2017. The proposals will come into effect for the 2024 Olympic Games although the FEI may decide to adopt some of them for Tokyo 2020 where appropriate.

BE Olympic Agenda 2020 Working Group information, including details on previous meetings can be found HERE.

In attendance
Present at Meeting:
Australia
Belgium
Brazil
Germany
Great Britain
Ireland
Japan
South Africa
Netherlands
New Zealand

FEI Eventing Committee Chair
FEI Eventing Committee
FEI Athletes Committee
EEF WG Chair
Equiratings
ERA Chair

Conference Call:
Australia
Canada
China
France
New Zealand
Switzerland
Unites States of America
Zimbabwe