New Officials’ Code of Conduct Published by FEI

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Mar. 26, 2018

A new code of conduct for officials–judges, technical delegates, stewards and others–has been published by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI).

Publication this month of the code that was adopted last November coincides with concerns expressed widely at the Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida of more judges appearing to coach students. At any given Wellington event, judges from both Europe and the Americas are seen coaching riders and may later judge at another competition during the Global circuit. No complaints are known to have been made of violations of rules against judging students they coach, but “appearances” has led to expression of concerns.

Scenes similar to Wellington are not apparent in Europe, but no other venue anywhere in the world has 12 consecutive weeks of horse shows, including seven CDIs. It is not uncommon for judges to host seminars and riding clinics when they travel on official duties. Some riders say an absence of their coach who may be a judge would be an unfair penalty while some judges bring knowledge of judging to their training, and may depend on income from coaching.

The newly published “Officials‘ Code of Conduct”:

As an FEI Official I undertake to respect all FEI Rules and Regulations at all times, and in particular the FEI Code of Ethics and Conflict of Interest Policy and the FEI Code of Conduct for the Welfare of the Horse.

I am aware that I am a representative of the FEI while officiating at any FEI Event (hereinafter the “Event/s”). I am also conscious of my role as an authority and of the associated obligation to have adequate knowledge of the principles of equestrian sport and the relevant FEI Rules and Regulations, and to apply them at all times in a fair and consistent way.

I will fulfill all FEI requirements (including maintaining the necessary qualification) relevant to each Event to which I am appointed.

While I am officiating:

 I will act in an appropriate and respectful manner towards humans and animals, paying constant attention to their safety and I will carry out all duties in a professional manner.

 I will refrain from consuming alcohol and I will not use any substances and/or medications that would impair my judgement.

 I will not compete at the Event.

 I will be willing to answer the questions of stakeholders (including but not limited to Athletes, Owners and Trainers, Organizers, Grooms and my colleagues). I will take the time to politely and objectively explain my decisions where possible.

 I will be familiar with all the relevant FEI Rules and Regulations and will be well prepared for every Event.

 I will cooperate with the Organizer of the Event and with my colleagues.

 I will be punctual and dress appropriately.

I commit to avoid any actual or perceived conflict of interest. A conflict of interest is defined as any personal, professional or financial relationship, including relationships of family members that could influence or be perceived to influence objectivity when representing or conducting business or other dealings for or on behalf of the FEI.

I will maintain a neutral, independent and fair position towards Athletes, Owners, Trainers, Grooms, Organizers, other Officials and stakeholders. Financial and/or personal interests will never influence my officiating duties and I will spare no effort to avoid any such perception.

I will not engage in nationalistic judging.

Activities that lead or may lead to a conflict of interest when officiating at an FEI Event include but are not limited to:

 Acting as a Chef d’Equipe or being responsible /co-responsible for selecting teams and/or individuals or training Athletes within a NF present at the Event, if the teams and/or individuals participate in a competition falling within the level and age group of the authority of the Official.

 Being the Owner/part-Owner of a Horse taking part in a competition that I am officiating at.

 Being in a situation of financial dependence or gaining financial profit from participating Owners, Athletes, Trainers or Organizers (excluding any payment(s) permitted under the FEI Rules and Regulations, such as per diems). The same rule applies with regard to National Federations or other organisations involved in the Event, if the dependence exceeds a regular employment. Employees of participating National Federations cannot act as President of the Ground Jury, President of the Appeal Committee, Chief Steward, Veterinary Delegates, or Course Designer at Official International Events, International Championships and Games.

 Having a close personal relationship with an Athlete competing in a competition that I am officiating at.

 Having recently treated a Horse competing in a Competition that I am officiating at.

On becoming aware of a potential Conflict of Interest I undertake to promptly notify the FEI HQ (or where the conflict only arises and/or is identified on-site, the President of the Ground Jury) of any of the above or other possible conflicts of interest or circumstances that may be perceived as such.

Conflicts must be avoided whenever practicable. However, conflicts may be linked to experience and expertise that is necessary to qualify Officials. The specific balance between conflict and expertise is regulated by the General Regulations and the relevant Sport Rules.

In the course of my duties or when representing the FEI I will refrain from making any public statements, including to the media or in social media, that might cause harm to the FEI or to equestrian sport in general. This includes statements that might create a perception of bias.

I will not place bets on Athletes and Horses competing at FEI Events or otherwise receive any financial or other gain as a product of a particular result.

The breach of any obligation assumed under this Code of Conduct and/or any breach of the FEI Rules and Regulations may lead to any of the following sanctions as stipulated in the FEI Rules:

 Warning letter

 Obligation to attend an FEI course and/or to pass an exam

 Fine

 Suspension from officiating duties (provisional or for a stated period of time)

 Removal from the relevant and appropriate FEI lists of Officials

 Any other sanctions as stated in the relevant FEI Rules or Regulations