Fritz O. Widmer of Switzerland – 1922-2015
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Oct. 2, 2015
Fritz O. Widmer of Switzerland, former Secretary General and Treasurer of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) and longstanding vice president of the Swiss National Federation’s Competition Department, has died after a long illness. He was 93.
Fritz had considerable influence in the development of equestrian sport in Switzerland and worldwide. An accomplished rider, he competed internationally in dressage and jumping until 1960, and also competed in all three Olympic disciplines at national level. He judged dressage nationally up to Grand Prix level and was an FEI jumping judge.
During 14 years with the Swiss federation, Fritz was instrumental in drafting the jumping rules, as well as the development of the license system.
He became FEI Secretary General in 1976, serving under Prince Philip, the FEI’s longest serving president. He contributed enormously to the modernization and business development of the FEI, transferring it from its traditional Brussels headquarters to Bern in Switzerland, forming a secure financial base and solid foundation for its current structure.
Fritz priortized horse welfare and fought against doping. After leaving the FEI in 1989, he became an honorary member of the FEI Bureau.
“Fritz Widmer devoted 13 years of his life to the FEI and a whole lifetime to equestrian sport,” FEI Secretary General Sabrina Zeender said. “He will be sadly missed, but his reputation will live on for generations to come.”