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July 8, 2013

Swedish Welfare Rules Delay FEI Championship Allocation

During a meeting of the Fédération Equestre Internationale Bureau on July 2, Bureau members elected to postpone allocation of several major championships to Sweden “in view of the current Swedish animal welfare laws in relation to competition with horses.” 

Sweden was expected to be announced as host of the 2015 FEI European Ponies Championships in jumping, dressage and eventing (Malmö), and the 2016 FEI World Cup Show Jumping and Dressage Finals (Gothenburg). Gothenburg hosted the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Final and the Rolex FEI World Cup Show Jumping Final this April.

“The FEI and the Swedish [national federation] are in contact with the Swedish authorities, who have acknowledged that their approach is at odds with the FEI Rules and Regulations and are undertaking a full review which is expected to produce new legislation for review during 2014,” stated the FEI release. “The outcome of the process cannot be predicted at this time, but the FEI and the Swedish [national federation] are involved in the consultation with the relevant Swedish authorities. The FEI is taking this matter very seriously and will work actively with the authorities and the NF to find a suitable solution.”

Swedish national federation rules currently prohibit horses from receiving any injections—including electrolytes for rehydration, any chiropractic treatments, acupuncture or natural medicines—within 96 hours of competition. The rules also don’t allow mares to compete while on Altrenogest (Regu-Mate).

“The FEI believes that this is contrary to its own approach, which is very widely accepted in other countries and has worked successfully for some time,” said FEI Veterinary Director Graeme Cooke.

All of the FEI Bureau's new proposals will next go under review by national federations before they are submitted for voting at the FEI General Assembly, scheduled for Nov. 4-7 in Montreux, Switzerland. 

Other proposals include:

  • Prohibiting any national event with more than four national federations represented or more than 15 foreign athletes entered. If such an event takes place under the new rules, no ranking or qualification points will be earned, and the national federation can be fined up to the amount of prize money for the event. "Under the current FEI rules, a national event (CN) which allows more than 15 foreign athletes or more than four national federations is considered to be an international event (CI)," stated the FEI release. "Organizing fees are due for a CI of the relevant discipline and category, but the results of CNs considered as CIs do not count for any qualification or ranking purposes. Given the risk that events with many NFs and international athletes may be organized and not entered in the FEI calendar in order to avoid the obligations outlined in the FEI General Regulations, it is suggested to include the provisions."
    National Events with more than four National Federations or 15 foreign athletes
    Under the current FEI rules, a national event (CN) which allows more than 15 foreign 
    athletes or more than four National Federations (NFs) is considered to be an international 
    event (CI). Organising fees are due for a CI of the relevant discipline and category, but 
    the results of CNs considered as CIs do not count for any qualification or ranking 
    purposes. 
    Given the risk that events with many NFs and international athletes may be organised 
    and not entered in the FEI calendar in order to avoid the obligations outlined in the FEI 
    General Regulations, it is suggested to include the following provisions:
  • Changing the deadline for horse nationality registration for the Olympic Games from Dec. 31 of the year preceding the Games to Jan. 15 of the year of the Olympic Games.
  • Enforcing the protecting headgear rule from the time riders arrive on the competition grounds.
  • Extending disqualification to an entire team if one athlete and/or horse tests positive for a prohibited substance. This rule proposal would make FEI rules the same as rules for an Olympic Games, though team members who do not test positive could continue as individuals if qualified. The rule would apply at Olympic Games, FEI World Equestrian Games, senior FEI championships and regional games.  

Read the entire Bureau report online