International Dressage Riders Club’s Wayne Channon Responds to FEI Moves to Suspend

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Maria Ines Garcia Cuellar of Colombia. © 2011 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Wayne Channon, secretary general of the International Riders Club, accused the International Equestrian Federation of seeking to weaken the riders group by moving to suspend it from the FEI.
In a response to the announcement by the FEI that it would begin moves to suspend the IDRC as an associate member that would also deny it a seat on the six-member FE Dressage Committee, he labeled the statement “inaccurate and misleading.”
The IDRC , of which Kyra Kyrklund is president, named Wayne Channon to fill the rider vacancy on the Dressage Committee, which is also made up of a chairman and representatives of organizers, trainers, chefs d’equipe and judges. The Dressage Committee in its current format was created after the previous group dominated by judges was disbanded after actions at the 2008 Olympics led to widespread criticism.
The Dressage Committee decided not to recommend the IDRC’s representative on the grounds that two members of the committee would be from Great Britain–Wayne Channon and the trainer representatuve, David Hunt–which the Task Force that drew up the format of the new Dressage Committee recommended against. The committee received nominations of Luis Lucio of Spain and Maria Ines Garcia Cuellar of Colombia by their national federations. The committee recommended Luis Lucio to fill the vacancy.
Neither nominees were members of the IDRC at the cutoff date for applications to the Dressage Committee and, Wayne Channon said, “were not eligible to stand and therefore appointment of either of these riders to the DC would have been an invalid and unlawful appointment.”
“Neither of them were elected by riders to represent the interests of riders,” he said., “and the only eligible candidate under the FEI’s own rules and regulations was the candidate nominated by the IDRC.”
If the IDRC had been told there was a rule against “no more than one member per NF,’ he saaid, “then we would have proposed another rider. We have proposed that Kyra Kyrklund, President of the IDRC, will represent riders on the Dressage Committee but the FEI has not responded to that.”
He said the FEI “have manipulated the situation to refrain from appointing a candidate who was validly nominated under FEI rules. One could even go further to state that the FEI may also be in breach of its own regulations by postponing indefinitely the appointment of an Athlete member of the DC.”
By refusing to appoint an Athlete member, he said, “the FEI is in breach of its own regulations. This is made even more serious where the decision to postpone constitution of a lawful DC is taken in an Olympic year.”
The IDRC Board agreed with the FEI that the removed riders should have the right to appeal the decision of the IDRC General Assembly and intended to change its Statutes so all members have the right of appeal.
“No one thought that we would ever remove a member, and Maria and Luis are caught in the middle here, so we had no appeal process for this,” Wayen said.  “This is purely an oversight not a decision.
“If this were the FEI’s main concern then they would have jumped at our suggestion that we redraft our statutes so that riders do have that right.  Why have they not even responded to this?”
He said, “It appears to me that the FEI just wants to win. It appears that the DC does not want a strong riders representative body. It is also apparent to me that it is crucial that riders stick to their rights and stand-up for what they know to be important. Riders have almost no rights and a weak IDRC with no representative on the DC means they would, in effect, be toothless–to the detriment of the sport.
“This whole issue begs the question – just whose interests are being best served by this action of the FEI?”