FEI Revises World Cup Rules to Restore Final Starting Places to Non-League, 2 Extra Spots

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Yvonne Losos De Muñiz of the Dominican Republic riding Aquamarijn at the 2019 World Cup Final. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Jan. 28, 2021

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) reported Thursday that rules canceling World Cup places for some nations and giving them all to Western Europe have been “revised” following “concerns raised by the dressage community.”

Notice of the change was contained in an FEI report on the allocation of three of the 18 spots for the World Cup Final scheduled for Gothenburg, Sweden the first week of April. The FEI Dressage Committee proposed and the organization’s board approved taking the spots reserved for a non-league rider and two extra starting places and awarding them to Western Europe that already had nine of the 18 places, plus defending champion Isabell Werth of Germany and two from Central Europe.

The FEI justified the move because of cancellation of most qualifiers in Western Europe and “that every angle needed to be explored to ensure a top quality starting field,” but gave no explanation as to why that meant excluding all non-Europeans except for two from North America of Canada and the U.S. and one from the Pacific league of Australia and New Zealand.

The rules change not only impacted a prospective non-league rider, such as Yvonne Losos De Muñiz of the Dominican Republic who had made known before the rule change her intention to seek a World Cup start, but also North America that was seeking a third slot.

Isabell Werth, who is also the newly elected president of the International Dressage Riders Club, spoke out against the FEI action that was first reported by dressage-news.com.

“We are sometimes surprised by decisions and how they have been made,” she responded to dressage-news.com, and referred to the FEI World Cup rule change.

“This was not sportsmanlike toward the riders from outside Europe,” she said and made it known did not support the rule change.

The latest official notice from the FEI said the rules have been revised following concerns raised by the dressage community.

“The FEI Board has now approved to reinstate the allocation of slots as originally established in the rules, which include slots for non-league NFs (one slot) and FEI extra starting places (two slots).

“For slots allocated based on the dressage world rankings (FEI extra starting places where applicable), athletes will need to have competed in at least one (instead of two) CDI-W (World Cup qualifiers) during the 2020-2021 season.

“The ‘reserve’ temporary amendment added in case there was only one FEI Dressage World Cup qualifier in the Western European League is removed as, to date, two World Cup qualifiers in the WEL have taken place.”