Thursday, May 28, 2015

FEI/UAE: A New World? - Full Article

Cuckson Report | May 27, 2015

I don’t share my compatriots’ obsession with soccer, but have been wedded all day to the BBC’s 24-hour news channel to follow the gripping developments in the FBI arrests of FIFA officials, dragged from their beds in a luxury Zurich hotel at dawn on charges of corruption.

The US attorney general gave a press conference in New York and explained why decent folk won’t tolerate FIFA’s criminal tendencies any more.

Is it too much to hope we are on the cusp of a new global movement to throw the book at all the talentless suits whose involvement in sports is purely self-serving or nefarious? If so, credit to the FEI for taking tough action against the bad apples in equestrianism before being publicly shamed into doing something by a much higher authority – or worse still, having matters taken out of its hands, as is now happening to FIFA.

Or at least I think so: it’s kinda interesting that the head of the UAE national Olympic committee visited FEI headquarters Lausanne yesterday, the same day as UAE equestrian representatives met the FEI to discuss the long road back from their suspension over the endurance crisis. The UAE Olympic body will be supporting a new committee set up to “strengthen” UAE endurance.

Maybe the IOC has given relevant stakeholders a quiet nudge, but there is no doubt the FEI swiftly developed unexpected steeliness upon the departure of Princess Haya (whose brother, Prince Ali, oddly enough, is the sole candidate taking on Sepp Blatter in the FIFA presidential election on Friday, should it still go ahead, of course).

Take for instance, the wording of the FEI press release outlining the discussions at yesterday’s (May 26th) meeting. It’s clear the FEI is offering the UAE no cosy solution. We may never be told the details, but I would be surprised if the UAE doesn’t have to demonstrate respect for horse welfare and FEI rules at its national rides before they can claim to have got the picture. Unless the UAE can schedule some night rides in the next few weeks, which is hardly ideal, there will be no chance to experiment with the horses-come-first mindset until daytime temperatures drop in the Fall...

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