Wednesday, December 11, 2019

FEI decision-making: is one country, one vote sustainable? - Full Article

The rights of countries with a minimal international presence to decide upon FEI rules are under the spotlight

By: Cuckson Report // Pippa Cuckson

There was an awkward moment at the FEI’s General Assembly in Moscow last month when the rights of new countries to join were challenged by Norway, a FEI founder member in 1921.

President of the Norwegian federation, Tore Sannum, spoke out as Mongolia, Ivory Coast and the Bahamas were being welcomed to the FEI family. The addition brings FEI membership to 137 national federations (NFs). In future, he asked the FEI to insist upon a minimum level of domestic participation, as other sports governing bodies do; without this, the FEI has “credibility” issues, he warned.

Mr. Sannum’s suggestion that countries should not be allowed to join unless they have riders at world championship level slightly backfired, because world championships cannot be entered UNTIL a country belongs to the FEI. The day’s business moved swiftly on – but nonetheless, Mr. Sannum was articulating what delegates from leading NFs often discuss in the bars and lobbies away from the conference hall.

It has always been one-country, one-vote at the FEI, whether you are as established and well medalled as the US (another FEI founder member), Canada (joined 1950), Germany (1927), Great Britain (1925), or as new as Mongolia, Ivory Coast and the Bahamas. That’s democracy – but is it common sense?...

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