FEI To Seek to Eliminate Associate Member Role for Stakeholders, Replace it With More “Direct” Ties

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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

The Internatiomal Equestrian Federation (FEI) hopes to win approval from its membership next week to replace associate member groups of stakeholders in the sport with “more customized and direct relationships.”

The move by the FEI is on the agenda for the so-called Extraordinary General Assembly to be voted on by the 132 member nations of the organization that controls the Olympic disciplines of dressage, eventing and jumping plus the international sports of driving, endurance, reining, vaulting and para equestrian.

Several of the stakeholder groups are expressing concern that their voices will be muted within the FEI, and fear that the measure may win approval from national federations, some of whom resist influence from stakeholders.

Fourteen different organization are associate members of the FEI based in Lausanne, Switzerland which will hold its annual General Assembly of national federations in Istanbul, Turkey, next week, Nov. 5-8. The General Assembly is what the FEI describes as its “Supreme” governing body.

Four of the associate member groups are directly involved in dressage–representing event organizers, officials, riders and trainers and another for para equestrian dressage trainers.

“The proposal to eliminate the Associate Membership category and replace it with more customized and direct relationships between the FEI and key stakeholder groups will be voted on by the National Federations as part of the approval process on modifications to the FEI Statutes,” FEI General Counsel Lisa Lazarus said in response to questions from dressage-news.com.

It is on the agenda for the Extraordinary General Assembly immediately before the General Assembly so that modifications to the Statutes and Internal Regulations can be implemented immediately.

“Since the FEI sought to formalize its relationship with stakeholder groups by introducing the concept of Associate Membership at the General Assembly in Buenos Aires in 2008, apart from providing Associate Members access to the FEI’s extranet for General Assembly-related material, there has been no formal agreement on expectations.

“For this reason the FEI is seeking to do away with the concept and establish the possibility of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOUs) between the FEI and the respective stakeholder group in order to formalize expectations between the FEI and its key stakeholders.

“The goal for the FEI is for it to strengthen and formalize its working relationship with its key stakeholders.

“Further, the FEI has recently integrated the voice of stakeholder groups in its governance structure through initiatives such as the FEI Sports Forum, which will be held yearly and which has been specifically created to include the participation of different groups on sport related matters prior to decisions being taken at the FEI General Assembly.”

The Sports Forum that was organized for the first time in April this year included minimal topics involving dressage and the FEI has said it will remedy that situation at the 2013 event.

The complete list of Associate Members:

-Association of International Dressage Event Organizers;

-Alliance of the Jumping Organizers;

-American Quarter Horse Association;

-Event Riders Association;

-International Dressage Offciais Club;

-International Dressage Riders Club;

-International Dressage Trainers Club;

-International Equestrian Organizers Alliance;

-International Eventing Officials Club;

– Internationa Jumping Riders Club;

-International Show Jumping Officials Club;

-International Vaulting Club;

-Para Equestrian Dressage Trainers, and

-World Horse Welfare.