US Show Organizer Attacks FEI Dressage “Entry” System Already Launched as Seriously Flawed
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
Serious flaws in the so-called FEI “Entry” system launched in the United States at the start of a worldwide rollout is threatening the ability of competitions to operate properly, the organizer of Florida’s Global Dressage Festival of seven CDIs has reported to the International Equestrian Federation.
The Global Dressage Festival (GDF) was the first show organization selected by the FEI to implement the “Entry” system for its seven World Cup, Nations Cup and top rated CDI4* and 5* events with more than $500,000 in total prize money beginning Jan. 8, less than three weeks away.
In a sharp rebuke to the Lausanne, Switzerland-based FEI, Lloyd Landkamer, one of America’s most experienced and respected organizers and manager of GDF, wrote: “It was clear from the first on-line training session that organizers had not vetted this new system. The organizers are ultimately the customers for this entry system and clearly had no input into the development and design.”
The FEI announced at the beginning of December that its “Online Entry System” was to be launched in the U.S. beginning with GDF in Wellington. Australia was to follow then France and Great Britain ahead of the worldwide launch on April 1.
The first online training sessions for American show organizers were held the second week of December, less than a month before the first Florida CDI. The GDF CDIs typically attract entries from about a dozen countries outside the U.S.–Canada, Australia, Europe and nations throughout the Americas.
Compounding the problems are national federations who are vital in processing entries for their riders but have already begun winding down operations for the year and many are scheduled to be closed for Christmas-New Year’s holidays from Friday, Dec. 20 until Monday, Jan. 6, just two days ahead of the first GDF CDI and well after the entry deadline.
Introduction of the FEI Online Entry System for dressage is being likened by some American officials to the botched U.S. government healthcare launch.
The letter from Lloyd Landkamer, who organizes dozens of international and national competitions each year including dressage at the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky in 2010, was sent to Trond Asmyr, FEI Dressage Director, and the FEI Information Technology department that launched the online entry system for jumpers a year ago.
“First,” Lloyd wrote, “it is not really an entry system but a declaration process. Athletes will still need to make payment and to sign liability and waiver forms. The use of the word ‘entry’ has confused many athletes into believing that they no longer have to do the final processes required by competitions for complete entry.
“The attendees pointed it out during the on-line educations sessions that organizers need to know the classes each competitor was choosing to compete in. So far, I have received several entries through the FEI system with no indication of what the Athlete wants to compete in. There are at least 8 levels of events that can be hosted at a CDI. In each of these levels, Athletes can ride in between 1 and 4 competitions (or classes) depending on the make up of the competition.
“We are receiving entries where the OC has no idea as to what they, the Athlete, wish to ride. There was no space created for this for the NF to use to input this information. I did forward to the IT division a clear example of how Canada was gathering the information from their riders so that they could then put it into the entry system. But it appears that there is nowhere for this information to go, defeating the automation of this system and in fact, building in redundancies of mistakes that the FEI system is seeking to reduce.
“There is no indication on the number of stalls a competitor will need. The National Federations are not putting in the contact information for the Athletes, so we are forced to contact their National Federation directly. Many are closed for the Holiday season or are working on an abbreviated schedule.
“So now we are faced with no indication of classes entered, no stabling requests, and no way to contact the Athlete to receive timely answers to these questions.
“I feel that the IT department was negligent in working with the customer (the Organizers) in communicating what their (the OC) needs were. Then developing a system based on these needs.
“The on-line system should have been fully vetted by a committee formed of customers (the Organizers) then presented to all the various NF to develop a system to handle it by a date well in advance of implementation. It appears it was developed backwards and without communication with the stakeholders involved.
“Currently I am faced with competitors whose NF do not understand and cannot meet the Athlete’s needs to enter the shows of their choosing in a timely fashion. So this system has effectively compromised the success of the first test event. Many of these Athlete’s are from developing nations. Lack of entries means lack of competitors, which affect sponsorship dollars.
“The next issue is the lack of posting of updated draft schedules in a timely fashion. With the information to be loaded onto the FEI entry system coming from the FEI CDI Draft schedule, the schedule to be used for the upcoming year should be posted on the FEI web site at least 6 months prior to the New Year.
“By having the submitted draft schedules be redone onto the new schedules with only a few days notice is not possible and again, lacking respect for the OC. We have to remember, without competitions, there is no FEI.
“So because of this, many NFs are not being notified of my available schedules. These schedules were submitted through my federation in advance of the 4-month deadline required by the FEI dressage department.
“The information in these schedules contains the information that is sent forth by the Organizing committee to the various invited NFs. It is the information contained within these schedules that the FEI entry system should be built around.”