Tuesday, May. 28, 2024

Brussels Court OKs Launch Of Global Champions Tour League In 2016

The Global Champions League has prevailed against the Fédération Equestre Internationale’s exclusivity clause in the Brussels Court Of Appeal. On Oct. 22, the court upheld a previous decision by the Belgian Competition Authority to suspend that exclusivity clause, which will allow the Global Champions League to launch its own show jumping team tour in 2016. 

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The Global Champions League has prevailed against the Fédération Equestre Internationale’s exclusivity clause in the Brussels Court Of Appeal. On Oct. 22, the court upheld a previous decision by the Belgian Competition Authority to suspend that exclusivity clause, which will allow the Global Champions League to launch its own show jumping team tour in 2016. 

The GCL filed the complaint with the BCA this June, alleging that the FEI was breaching the European Union’s competition laws. The FEI rule in question, GR113, states that riders, horses and show officials may not participate in non-FEI events six months prior to participating in an FEI event.

“The Court of Appeal said the FEI had failed to demonstrate the injunction inflicted serious and irreparable harm on the federation,” stated a release from the GCL. “The court said the FEI had managed for more than a century without the clause and failed to show why it was indispensable.”

The decision clears the way for the GCL’s 2016 season, which will now include team competitions at 15 different Global Champions Tour locations. 

“Momentum around the Global Champions League concept has been rapidly gathering pace since it was conceived, and we welcome today’s news that the last hurdle has been removed,” said Frank H McCourt Jr., co-owner of the Global Champions Tour, in the release. “We now look forward to focusing our energies on building a new and exciting era for show jumping.” 

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According to the GCL release, the tour will use its own veterinarians and stewards. 

“To that end, GCL has invited the FEI to oversee horse welfare safeguards at the new-format competitions by inviting its own officials to join its own top class team of vets,” stated the release. “At every GCL event experienced vets will be on standby with state-of-the-art horse welfare facilities available at all times as at all GCT events. Technology includes the Human Tecar Therapy technology, a physiotherapy system also used on Formula 1 drivers, and also high tech diagnostic equipment.” 

But the FEI likely isn’t finished with its legal battle against the GCL.

“The FEI is awaiting the written decision on interim measures following yesterday’s judgement,” said an FEI spokesperson. “The FEI’s appeal on the merits of the interim measures decision will now continue before the Court of Appeal. We will use all legal means to defend the case.” 

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