Riders ask for revamped democratic process at FEI

Credit : Fabio Petroni/IJRC

Tuesday 11 December - 17h50 | Sébastien Roullier (translated)

Riders ask for revamped democratic process at FEI

This past weekend at the general assembly of the International Jumping Riders Club (IJRC), Rodrigo Pessoa, supported by his peers, asked the Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI) to review how athletes are elected to the organization’s committees. The FEI has signalled its interest in working together on the same goal. 

 - Riders ask for revamped democratic process at FEI

In September, riders in different disciplines elected representatives for their sports and to the athletes committee at the FEI. While Cian O’Connor was chosen to represent show jumpers, his candidacy only received the meagre total of 48 votes (42%), with a participation rate of just 17.32%. Still, even though it had supported the candidacy of Sweden’s Lisen Bratt-Fredricson, the IJRC expressed its pleasure over the willingness of the Irishman to work with it to make riders’ voices more fully heard in the decision-making process of the institution. 

At the Geneva meeting, Rodrigo Pessoa, former president of the rider’s club and current manager of the Irish national team, spoke of his regret regarding the lack of involvement of riders in the election, but also the electoral process for the vote. “[It is disappointing] to see our representative elected with so few votes given the significance of this role,” said the Brazilian. “Even if it is a little against our nature, we have to be more involved in the process, starting with voting. At the same time, it must be said that the FEI’s electronic voting system was extremely complex…. That has to be looked at for the next elections in four years. I also find it very regrettable that the vote is restricted to such a small group. Only 277 people could vote, which represents a miniscule part of the community of international riders in our sport. And I don’t know why we restrict things to that point.” 
In fact, to be part of the voting pool, it is currently necessary to have competed in one of the two most recent Olympic Games or World Equestrian Games, which excludes the overwhelming majority of professionals and amateurs taking part in CSIs. “We based or rules on those used for the election of members to the athletes committee at the International Olympic Committee,” responded Sabrina Ibáñez, secretary general of the FEI. “If you ask us to enlarge the voting base, we will do it.” For example, some options include opening it to all riders who have participated at Senior-level continental championships, or all those in the world rankings. “Let’s think together about the best formula," she added. "In any case, in principle, we are favourable to everything that can reinforce the democratic process.”

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