New Rule Allowing 2 Home Judges, 2 from Same Foreign Nation for non-European CDI3*s

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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

Dressage CDI3* events outside Europe are allowed to use two home country judges and two foreign judges from the same country on five-judge panels in a new policy created by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) to help reduce costs of staging international competitions elsewhere in the world.

The new policy has been approved by the FEI Dressage Committee only for 2013–with no Olympics, no World Equestrian Games and only the Europeans as a continental championship.

The nations most likely to benefit are Australia, New Zealand, Brazil and South Africa.

The new rule is different than the now infamous 2010 “exception” that allowed non-European nations to use three home country judges, a policy that was extended to the qualifying period for the 2012 Olympics and led to a dispute over the allocation of a single individual starting place from Latin America that went to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and its impact is still being felt as an independent body reviews the process.

The so-called “exception was terminated Jan. 1, 2013.

Examples of the way the new exception works is that New Zealand will be able to use two home country judges, two judges from Australia as the closest and least expensive source and one judge from another foreign nation, or Brazil that can use two Brazilians, two from neighboring Argentina and one from another foreign nation.

Under the three foreign judge rule that applies in Europe and is followed in North America, two home judges are used and three foreign judges each from different nations.

After the end of the exceptions, said Trond Asmyr, FEI Dressage Director, some national federations reported that “many CDI3* would have to be canceled due to financial constraints.”

“The FEI Dressage Committee decided to come up with a solution where the balance between the number of home judges and foreign judges was kept,” he said. “The decision whereby two of the three foreign judges officiating at a CDI3* can be of the same nationality (but obviously not the home nationality) allows for this balance to be maintained, while keeping the costs incurred by organizers significantly down. This provision is currently only applicable in 2013 when there are no qualifications for the Olympic Games.

“This decision is new as no similar provision existed in the past.

“It is different from and does not reverse the decision to maintain the rule prohibiting more than two home judges from officiating at the same event which was at issue in the CAS decision rendered last year.”

Organizers contacted by dressage-news.com in the United States, Canada and Japan indicated they planned to maintain the same judging policies as in the past–a maximum of two home country judges and three foreign judges all from different nations.

Of about 140 CDI3* events–the level of competition that is regarded as standard as an international qualifying show though no qualification is at stake in 2013–the FEI database lists three in Brazil, two each in Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and South Africa and 21 in the United States.

Not included in the new rule are other rated CDI competitions, CDI-W World Cup events, CDI4*, CDI5* and CDIO Nations Cup events. Outside Europe, only the United States stages CDI5* events, two, and hosts the only CDIO Nations Cup.