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|FEI General Assembly - special update|
27 April 2006
2006 FEI General Assembly
No less than 100 out of the 134 National Federations affiliated to the FEI are gathering in Kuala Lumpur for what already appears to be an exceptional General Assembly. Representatives of the FEI founding nations, such as France, Belgium, Germany or the United States, have travelled to Malaysia along with the delegates of Iraq, the last National Federation to join the international equestrian family.
Some 30 meetings will take place from 27 April to 2 May along with the General Assembly. Among them will be two FEI Bureau meetings, meetings between the nine geographical groups, a workshop on Development and a Forum concentrating on the modernisation of the FEI. This is the first time that an FEI convention of this scope will be held in South East Asia.
But the highlight of the week will without doubt be the election of the 13th FEI President, which will take place on 1 May. The current FEI President, HRH The Infanta Do? Pilar de Borb?, in office since 1994, has announced her decision not to run for a fourth term.
Three exceptional individuals are candidates for the FEI Presidency: HRH Princess Benedikte (DEN), Mr Freddy Serpieri (GRE), HRH Princess Haya Al Bint Al Hussein (JOR).
HRH Princess Benedikte (DEN) is the younger sister of HM Queen Margrethe II of Denmark. She is the current patron of the World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses, which is the key link between the breeders and international equestrian sport.
Mr Freddy Serpieri (GRE) has been Chairman of Geographical Group I and first FEI Vice President since 1997. Greek national champion in Jumping at Junior and Senior level, he won the Balkan championship in 1973. Greatly involved in sports administration, he was 2nd Vice President of the Hellenic Olympic Committee from 2000 to 2004 and is still an NOC member.
HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein (JOR) is the daughter of the late King Hussein of Jordan. An international rider since the age of 13, she took part in the Games of the XXVII Olympiad in Sydney in 2000 and in the 2002 FEI World Equestrian Games. Princess Haya is member of the IOC Athletes? and Culture and Olympic Education Commissions and is the first Arab and first woman to ever become Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations World Food Programme.
Much has been achieved during the 12 years of the presidency of Do? Pilar de Borb?. The number of international equestrian events has grown from 500 in 1994 to almost 1800 in 2005. There were 39 nations competing in the 2004 Athens Olympic Games compared to 25 in Atlanta in 1996. The sport has developed tremendously, but most importantly, the FEI has become an open organisation all the constituents of which communicate with each other. The federation is skilfully adapting to the modern commercial sports environment to gain its rightful place: at the heart of horse sport.
The 2nd day of the 2006 FEI General Assembly week was devoted to the meeting of the FEI Bureau consisting of preparation of matters and decisions to be taken at the General Assembly.
All the FEI disciplines were reviewed and the transfer of governance of the Para-Equestrian discipline from the International Paralympic Committee to the FEI was announced. The appointment of a technical committee for Para-Equestrian was also discussed.
Earlier this month, the FEI President HRH The Infanta Do? Pilar de Borb? and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Sir Philip Craven signed an agreement for the transfer of governance of equestrian sport for persons with disabilities from the IPC to the FEI. This agreement will be formalised on 2 May during the FEI General Assembly and will come into full effect on 1 July.
Dressage competitions for riders with disabilities started in Scandinavia and in Great Britain in the 1970s. In 1987, the first Dressage World Championship was held in Sweden, followed by a first participation in the Paralympic Games in Atlanta in 1996. In 1991, the IPC appointed the International Paralympic Equestrian Committee (IPEC) to run competitions and develop equestrian sport for the disabled world-wide. This was done successfully; in 2005, there were some 38 nations from five continents competing. In 2004, the sport was moved from the IPC, a general sports organisation, to the FEI, the international governing body of equestrian sport and the natural home for all equestrians. Para-equestrian became the eigth FEI discipline.
The FEI is immensely proud to be the first International Federation to embrace a sport of the IPC as a full part of its organisation.
The third day of the FEI General Assembly was the day of the Geographical Group meetings. The 134 National Federations affiliated to the FEI are divided into nine geographical Groups in order to coordinate activities and facilitate communication. The Groups convened to discuss topics of common interest which will be presented tomorrow to the FEI Bureau.
A topic which is arousing strong interest is the modernisation process the FEI is undergoing. Its goal is to better define the roles and responsibilities among the FEI staff members and the volunteers in order to produce a modern, effective and well led international governing body that can meet the administrative and commercial demands of the modern sporting environment. Rather than a restructuring, this is a review of the entire functioning of the federation which has led to suggested changes in the governance and standing committees.
The work in progress mainly concerns the definition of the functions and composition of the Executive Board; the setting-up of a nomination committee in charge of the screening process for the elected members of the bodies, which would also be responsible for proactively finding potential volunteers. The finance committee would be transformed into an audit and compliance committee; the media-advisory committee would be integrated into the strategic planning committee. Youth was recognised as the bedrock of the sport and consequently a youth sports committee would be established.
A code of ethics and conflict of interest policy for the volunteer would be created so that when a conflict of interest occurred, the volunteer would not be involved in the decision making process.
Should you wish to learn more about the 2006 FEI General Assembly, please visit our website at www.horsesport.org