Friday, December 18, 2009

The drugs vote that rained on the FEI's parade

Horsetalk.co.nz - Full Article

December 17, 2009

by Neil Clarkson
Special to Horsetalk.co.nz

A grey winter gloom descended over Copenhagen as delegates from member nations of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) began arriving in November for its annual General Assembly.

The outlook was rather sunnier in the world of equestrian sport. The international governing body must have been upbeat as delegates from more than 100 nations prepared to meet at the Marriott Hotel, a large red-brick high-rise that stands beside one of the Danish capital's canals.

And why shouldn't the Lausanne-based organisation have been upbeat? Equestrian sport was poised to put the doping embarrassment of the 2008 Beijing Olympics behind it. It rightly anticipated strong support for its ground-breaking Clean Sport initiative, the result of two commissions of inquiry and an investment of some 1.8 million Euros.

Delegates were also to vote on a new streamlined structure to replace the large and, some would say, unwieldy 22-strong governing FEI Bureau, substituting it with a much leaner skills-based seven-strong team.

It had all the hallmarks of a new beginning and it seemed little would stand in its way.

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