Jenni Autry reports on a clarification from the FEI that should lay to rest any confusion about the latest rule debacle.
Top photo: Eric Swinebroad
Last week we took a detailed look at Rulegate, the controversy that erupted over a new FEI rule regarding unsanctioned events. The FEI told me its legal team was looking over the rule and would release an official clarification as soon as possible. FEI Press Secretary Malina Gueorguiev just sent us that clarification, provided by FEI General Counsel Lisa Lazarus:
“The new rule on participation in unsanctioned events applies only to events and/or competitions that are not in the FEI calendar (i.e. international events not approved by the FEI) and national events that are not authorised by the National Federation.
“Unsanctioned events are not subject to FEI regulations, and their organisers and participants are not accountable to the FEI for compliance with these regulations. As a result, the FEI has no way of safeguarding the welfare of horses and athletes participating in such events, or of protecting the integrity of the events. The same may be true at the national level if a national event is conducted outside national rules and with the express objection of the National Federation.
“The newly introduced rule states that an athlete, horse or official will be ineligible to participate in a sanctioned international or national event if they have participated in an unsanctioned event in the previous six months.
“Local events do not come within the scope of this rule so long as the National Federation does not expressly object to them. The FEI will rely on the National Federations to bring any national or local events that they have concerns about to the FEI’s attention.”
This clarification should finally put Rulegate to rest, as the FEI has now specifically stated that local events do not fall under the scope of the rule. While it remains to be seen how the new rule will affect international and national events, eventers can rest assured that their schooling shows are safe.
The good folks over at the USEF assured me that its official legal clarification will follow this new release from the FEI, as the USEF wanted to wait for the FEI to fully explain the rule first. Many thanks to the USEF on answering my many questions during Rulegate; you all are awesome! EN will continue to bring you the latest news and analysis on this rule as it becomes available.