Thursday, November 03, 2016

Why Yellow Cards Need a Stronger Hue - Full Article

Cuckson Report | November 2, 2016

In my last blog, I discussed whether it’s time to introduce a more detailed rider demerit system for rule-breaches in eventing. Or indeed, any sport. This followed the latest bout of social media angst over another alleged blood-in-mouth incident, and the invidiousness of the FEI yellow warning card, which, in eventing, is used to punish everything from failing to present yourself to a doctor after a fall – that’s the rider’s own risk, not the horse’s – to dangerous riding though not, it seems, for blood on the horse.

A demerit system has the useful potential to grade rule-breaches of any sort according to their seriousness, and the flexibility to be tailored towards relevant issues in each of the FEI sports. This is something the yellow card cannot do on its own.

In this recent appalling case before the FEI Tribunal, the ground jury at an endurance ride in Portugal resorted to yellow-carding the same person twice within minutes, for ranting at and then assaulting the president of the ground jury. These warning cards were clearly awarded within 12 months of each other, so this automatically suspended the rider for two months. Genius in its simplicity – though isn’t it time there was a more structured way of dealing with behaviour that is so offensive handcuffs might be required?

This case came to light when the yellow-cardee, one of Portugal’s leading international riders António Vaz Freire, tried to appeal to Tribunal against that two-month suspension. Tribunal did not admit his appeal, ruling that field-of-play decisions are sacrosanct. On top of that, the FEI argued Freire had not protested receipt of the cards within the requisite 30-minute time-frame...

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