The FEI Jumping Committee has ruled that the German team, which was withdrawn from the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup in St. Gallen, Switzerland, on May 31, will be allowed to participate in the remaining three Nations Cup qualifying competitions and earn points towards the 2013 Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Final. The German team won’t be awarded any points from St. Gallen, and a further request from the German National Federation for a wild card for the Final in Barcelona has been turned down.
Prior to the start of the season, and in line with the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup rules, the German National Federation had nominated St, Gallen; Rotterdam, the Netherlands, on June 21; Aachen, Germany, on June 27; and Hickstead, Great Britain on Aug. 2 as the four events where it would aim to earn qualifying points for the series final.
But under the rules, any national federation that doesn’t respect its written commitment to take part in the specified qualifying competitions will lose its points for the entire season. However, according to a preamble to the series rules, “In any unforeseen or exceptional circumstance which is not addressed by these Rules, it is the duty of the FEI Jumping Committee to interpret them and render a Decision in a manner compatible to the fullest extent possible with the other provisions of these Rules, the GRs and any other applicable rules of the FEI, as well as sporting spirit."
German Secretary General Soenke Lauterbach contacted the Fédération Equestre Internationale on June 3 asking the FEI to consider allowing Germany to collect points during the 2013 Europe Division 1 season. The FEI Jumping Committee met via conference call the following day to review the events at St. Gallen and voiced its full support for the decisions made on the ground during the event, which had all been taken based on the conditions at the time and in full consultation with all chefs d’equipe, the Ground Jury, the organizing committee and the FEI.
In a follow-up call, the decision to allow the German team to receive qualifying points at its three remaining qualifying competitions was made by FEI Jumping Committee Chair John Madden (USA) and two of the Committee members, Ian Allison (Canada) and Vladimir Platov (Russia). Stephan Ellenbruch (Germany), athletes’ representative Max Kϋhner (Germany) and Deputy Chair Marco Fusté (Spain) weren’t involved in the decision making process due to a potential conflict of interest.
The three-man panel clarified that the intention of the rules was to prevent teams from not showing up at a given event. They then signed off on the final decision, ruling that the German team had met its commitment according to the rules by bringing a full team to the Swiss event with the clear intention of participating. German Chef d’Equipe Otto Becker attended the chefs d’equipe meetings, declared the German team for the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Jumping Competition and took part in the draw, at which the German team was selected to jump second.
Less than an hour before the start of the Nations Cup, Becker informed the organizing committee that the German team had no choice but to withdraw from the competition, as the owners wouldn’t allow their horses to jump due to the weather conditions.
“The German National Federation respected its commitment by sending a team to take part in St. Gallen and acted in good faith with respect to that obligation,” Madden said, “but the horse owners did not want their horses to jump due to the conditions. Neither the German National Federation nor the FEI has the right or the authority to instruct owners on what they must do with their horses at an event.
“It would not be in the spirit of fair play to sanction the German National Federation because of a decision beyond its control, so the Jumping Committee has ruled that Germany will be eligible to collect points at its three remaining qualifying competitions at Rotterdam, Aachen and Hickstead in an effort to try to qualify for the 2013 Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Final,” he finished.