FEI to Monitor Equestrian Australia Dispute, Describing Situation as “Internal Affair,” No Breach of International Membership Rules

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland, Nov. 29, 2018–The International Equestrian Federation said Thursday it will monitor the situation with Equestrian Australia that the country’s national daily newspaper labeled a “crisis,” but there was no indication of a breach of FEI membership requirements in what appeared to be an “internal affair.”

The FEI, the governing body of global horses sports and based in Lausanne, Switzerland, confirmed that its president, Ingmar de Vos, received an email about the situation from John Coates, a former International Olympic Committee vice president.

“FEI Headquarters is assessing the information received from Equestrian Australia,” a spokesperson told dressage-news.com, “and of course we will monitor the situation, but at first sight this is an EA internal affair. There is no indication at this stage that EA would be in breach of FEI membership requirements.”

The Australian, a daily national newspaper, reported earlier this week: “The future of a sport that has ­delivered Australia 12 Olympic medals, including six golds, is in crisis.

“The national authority that runs equestrian sports is facing an internal revolt over rider safety, accusations of conflicts of interest and multiple pending legal ­actions.

“The crisis has prompted Olympics supremo John Coates to issue a stark warning to the international equestrian authority that the future of the sport hangs in the balance.”

The newspaper reported that an internal revolt erupted at federation’s annual general meeting in Sydney last week over some governance and management issues, including what it said was a perceived lack of action to make the sport safer following the deaths of two teenage riders in 2016.

Representatives from five of Australia’s six states to call for the resignations of federation chair Judy Fasher and two directors. The federation was reported to have 18,500 members.

The email from John Coates was quoted by the newspaper as warning the FEI about the ­situation and cautioned against sanctioning any breakaway body that might emerge.