HSI seeking clarity on “unsanctioned events” ruling

Horse Sport Ireland (HSI) has sought clarity from the Competition Authority regarding a new Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) ruling that will ban riders, horses and judges for six months if they participate in what the FEI terms “unsanctioned events”.

Importantly, the rule will only apply to national events if national federations, ie HSI, “expressly object” to the event.

The new FEI rule, which becomes active on January 1, comes in the wake of the Competition Authority’s finding that ShowjumpingIreland had been anti-competitive in threatening to punish members who attended unaffiliated shows. This followed a complaint by Millstreet Show in Co Cork, which this year staged an international show under the auspices of the FEI, with a similar event pencilled in for next year.

In a document sent to national federations explaining the FEI rule, its legal counsel Lisa Lazarus said: “The new rule on participation in unsanctioned events applies only to events and/or competitions that are not in the FEI calendar (ie international events not approved by the FEI) and national events that are not authorised by the national federation.

“Unsanctioned events are not subject to FEI regulations, and their organisers and participants are not accountable to the FEI for compliance with these regulations. As a result, the FEI has no way of safeguarding the welfare of horses and athletes participating in such events, or of protecting the integrity of the events. The same may be true at the national level if a national event is conducted outside national rules and with the express objection of the national federation.

“The newly-introduced rule states that an athlete, horse or official will be ineligible to participate in a sanctioned international or national event if they have participated in an unsanctioned event in the previous six months.

“Local events do not come within the scope of this rule so long as the national federation does not expressly object to them. The FEI will rely on the national federations to bring any national or local events that they have concerns about to the FEI’s attention.”

The Competition Authority yesterday pointed out that SJI had amended its rulebook to provide that members who enter unaffiliated shows with a prizefund greater than €€50/£50 would only be penalised if the show had not signed up to the specified health and safety standards and, had not provided SJI with evidence of adequate insurance.

As such, it said the FEI directive did not apply in these circumstances.

“The new [FEI] Articles 113.4 and 156.9 do not apply to athletes and/or horses that participate at unaffiliated events that meet these requirements,” it said.

A HSI spokesman said in a statement that “the document had been discussed with the Horse Sport Ireland Rules Committee. In addition, Horse Sport Ireland has brought the document to the attention of the Competition Authority and asked for their observations.

“This is a significant new rule and we need to reflect on it very carefully and discuss it with our affiliates before deciding on the process and criteria for sanctioning national events.”

Up to now, HSI did not formally sanction the go-ahead for events, and its statement indicates that the FEI rule determines that this must change. In essence, it looks as if HSI considers that it is compelled to implement the FEI rule. How to do this is the question facing HSI.

* HSI’s advert for the Ireland show jumping and eventing managers’ posts has been published, seeking candidates with a proven track record in their fields, excellent communication skills and passion and drive. It says the successful applicants’ “core responsibility, among others, will be to devise and implement a performance programme for the discipline... with particular emphasis on qualifying a team for the 2016 Olympic Games”.

Robert Splaine and Ginny Elliot have said they want to retain their positions.

* Waterford Sport Horse Breeders Group took another step forward with the launch recently of a website.

The group’s new venture — www.waterfordsporthorses.com — outlines its history, as well as providing news concerning horses from the Déise.

Of interest are the sections on mares and youngstock, with comprehensive descriptions, almost all accompanied by pictures. Helpful too, is that the site provides contact details for the horse owners.

* Tributes were paid at the recent ShowjumpingIreland Munster Region AGM to regional secretary Roberta Malcolmson, who has retired after 50 years service to the sport.

She was described by outgoing Munster chairman Ivan McDonagh as an outstanding ambassador for the sport.

Incoming chairman Tony Hurley complimented her on the amount of time she devoted to her duties, noting that her depth of knowledge had contributed to the smooth running of the region.

Officers elected to Munster Region — Chairman: Tony Hurley (Cork), vice-chairman: Tomas Ryan (Tipperary), honorary secretary: Mairead Flynn (Waterford), honorary treasurer: Micheal Hennessy (Cork); representatives to ShowjumpingIreland — executive/management and finance: Micheal Hennessy (Cork), and Ann Waistell (Waterford); executive/national competitions committee: Tony Hurley (Cork); executive/national pony committee: Tomas Ryan (Tipperary), and John McNamara (Clare)


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