Princess Haya Rejects Third Term as FEI President
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Princess Haya declared on Wednesday she will not seek a third term as president of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) after seven years that has brought sweeping changes to the organization that governs global horse sports.
The 39-year-old princess said she was sticking to her pledge to serve no more than the two four-year terms and would leave office in November, 2014.
She said she would not support moves for a change in the statutes of the organization based in Lausanne, Switzerland to allow a third term. The decision to change the statute would have to be made within the next two weeks when draft proposals are sent to the 132 national federations that are members of the FEI ahead of the General Assembly that meets the first week of November and would have vote on any change.
Princess Haya, the first president outside of Europe or North America to be head of the FEI that was founded in 1921, said in a statement:
“In my first meeting in Lausanne with the FEI Bureau after my election in 2006, I proposed limiting FEI Presidents to two four-year terms. I suggested that reform, which was later adopted as an FEI Statute, because it is essential to ensure fresh thinking and avoid a sense of entitlement within the leadership of an international sport federation.
“Whilst I very much appreciate and am honored by efforts of the FEI Regional Group Chairpersons and the National Federations to amend the FEI Statutes to permit me, or any FEI President to seek a third term, my views on the benefits of a two-term limit have not changed since the day I was elected. I love being FEI President. I am passionate about the work and our sport. I love the people I work with at the National Federations and at headquarters.
“However, I cannot in good conscience put aside my beliefs and the commitment I made seven years ago now that the term limit I supported applies to me. I am deeply grateful to all the National Federations that favor changing the Statutes to allow me a third term. I am confident they will understand why I feel I must keep my word when my current term ends next year.
“I was first elected to this job seven years ago because our National Federations wanted transparency, good governance and change and I promised a transformational presidency. Together, through thick and thin, we have achieved more than 80 per cent of all pledges laid down in my manifesto and program in an open, democratic and transparent manner. I am so very proud of the people who worked together with me to achieve this.
“My focus in my final year in office is on delivering the remaining pledges. I will complete this shared mission with respect, determination and energy–and with the support of the entire community and above all the help from 132 National Federations.
“I intend to leave the FEI in November 2014 knowing that our international federation is fit for the future. I will work as hard as ever towards that goal until my final day in office. And then I will step aside, confident that I have done the right thing.”
Princess Haya bint Al Hussein is the daughter of King Hussein of Jordan and his third wife, Queen Alia, and is the junior wife of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai with whom she has two children.
She rode in jumping in the Olympics in Sydney in 2000 and the World Equestrian Games in Jerez, Spain in 2002.
Princess Haya was elected president of the FEI in 2006 for an initial four-year term in the organization’s first contested presidential race. She made history a second time in 2010 when dissatisfaction with her record led to her becoming the first sitting FEI president to be challenged in a re-election bid. She won a second four-year term in a landslide over two European male candidates.
She has made many sweeping changes to filfill her goal of broadening support of horse sports and developed a close relationships with the International Olympic Committee to maintain dressage, eventing and jumping as three Olympic sports.
Among the changes she initiated was to disband the FEI Dressage Committee after the 2008 Olympics and create a task force to chart a future for the sport that included a committee of six members representing stakeholder groups.