Hugh Thomas has resigned from his position on a London Olympic Games committee following an announcement that the public will not be allowed to attend the eventing horse inspections at the 2012 London Olympic Games as spectators.
Thomas, a former Olympic course designer, senior official of the Federation Equéstré International, and event director of the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (England), told Reuters that the London Organizing Committee’s decision was “disgraceful.” Before his resignation, he was a member of the Olympic Ad Hoc Committee, which oversees disputes and incidents at the event.
Thomas expressed his dismay at the decision in a letter to the Greenwich venue manager, Tim Hadaway. “I was horrified to hear from you… that LOCOG does not intend to admit any of the public to the eventing horse inspections,” he wrote.
“I truly think this is a disgraceful decision and it particularly upsets me since I, when course designer, technical delegate and then chairman of the FEI Eventing Committee, personally ensured at previous Games, despite the initial wishes of the organizers, that the great tradition within eventing that the inspections are open and transparent should be upheld.
“The public nature of the proceedings is the guarantee of integrity and for enthusiasts a fascinating and integral part of the competition,” added Thomas, who confirmed the contents of the email to Reuters.
“If this decision is irreversible, I do not wish to be even slightly involved as an official with an organization that treats the public and indeed the traditions of our sport in this way.”
A spokeswoman for the LOCOG has confirmed that Thomas is no longer involved as a technical official. “We regret his decision to resign but we’ve accepted it,” she said, adding that there were operational reasons why the eventing inspections could not be ticketed. The inspections are due to take place on July 27, the day of the opening ceremony.