Sunday, May. 26, 2024

Holmberg Resigns From FEI; Madden Steps In

Fédération Equestre Internationale Bureau Member and Jumping Committee Chair Sven Holmberg of Sweden officially announced his resignation from both positions today, Feb. 10. The United States’ John Madden, the current deputy chair of the Jumping Committee, will assume the position as interim acting chair through November, when it will be filled permanently.

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Fédération Equestre Internationale Bureau Member and Jumping Committee Chair Sven Holmberg of Sweden officially announced his resignation from both positions today, Feb. 10. The United States’ John Madden, the current deputy chair of the Jumping Committee, will assume the position as interim acting chair through November, when it will be filled permanently.

Holmberg became an FEI Bureau Member in 2005, the same year he was elected as chair of the Jumping Committee. In 2009, he was re-elected as chair. Holmberg also served as FEI first vice president, starting in 2006. But in 2010 he launched a presidential election campaign and was defeated by the incumbent, Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein of Jordan, in a landslide election on Nov. 5. After the election, Haya replaced him with another first vice president, John McEwen of Great Britain.

Countering the official FEI press release announcing his departure, Holmberg issued a personal statement explaining that the reasons behind his decision date back “more than a year.”

“The politics and the power games currently played in the FEI, which unfortunately expanded last year, will not benefit the development of our sport,” Holmberg said. “I find that in some aspects my integrity is being questioned. I no longer find it meaningful, or useful, to participate in the politics as a Bureau member.”

Holmberg was also on hand at the 2010 Rolex FEI Show Jumping World Cup Final in Geneva, Switzerland, and involved in the controversy surrounding the disqualification of McLain Ward’s mount Sapphire.

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“I did not agree with decisions that were being taken, and in many of these cases I openly voiced a different opinion,” he continued. “Some of the decisions were in fact altered, but after lengthy and very expensive procedures. More recently the recommendations and advice of the Jumping Committee have been disregarded or dealt with in such a way as to convince me that, for whatever reason or reasons, the Jumping Committee is not respected as the technical advisor on the discipline of jumping.”

Madden will take over Holmberg’s duties, effective immediately.

“I’ve already had a preliminary conversation with [FEI Director of Jumping and Stewarding] John Roche and Princess Haya,” Madden said. “I think that my first order of business is to learn more about how things work and make sure to understand the position well.”

Although he hasn’t ruled out the option of seeking to fill the position on a permanent basis, Madden said he would base any decision on how he does in the role through November. Either way, his goal is to put any confusion on the technicalities of show jumping to rest.

“Any legacy that I would hope to leave would be for people to understand the technical structure, and that’s done through transparency in communication,” Madden explained. “This way, once people better understand, we can all influence the direction of the sport in a positive way.”

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