Zaventem, Belgium – August 20, 2020 – After controversy in the equestrian community, the European Equestrian Federation (EEF) released a statement yesterday announcing that the organization supports the FEI’s current entry system.
They state the following in their announcement:
As reaction to ongoing controversy within the Equestrian community concerning the FEI Jumping Invitation System, the EEF expresses its full support for the latter. Knowing well the limitations of the Invitation System, it is still considered the best warrantor of a meritocratic access to the competitions for the time being.
Since it came into effect on 1 May 2007 for CSI 5* events worldwide the FEI Jumping Invitation System has been much discussed and is currently under strong criticism in some equestrian media. The current system is the output of lengthy debates and negotiations, which have been necessary to reach some common ground. Many of the involved stakeholders feared sensitive cuts to their freedom to act ever since the introduction of an Invitation System has been discussed. The EEF has always been supportive of the Invitation System with the utter conviction that it is the responsibility of the governing body for the international Equestrian sport, the FEI, and along with it of the whole Equestrian community, to ensure a balanced regulation allowing all actors to play their role in the system and at the same time providing the ground for individual businesses.
Theo Ploegmakers, EEF president, says: “The interest of the sport must be at the core of all actions. The Invitation System in Jumping is a regulation that will, to some extent, limit the freedom of individual actors for the sake of the entire community, nevertheless it is also a tool to live the principle “merit over money” and this is of crucial importance to our sport. – All voices were heard and considered during the process for the approval of the existing Invitation System. The operating experience with the Invitation System is constantly recorded and user feedback can be given in due course.”
The EEF recognizes the pursuit of meritocracy of the Invitation System and acknowledges at the same time the importance of a free market and the need for stakeholders to be able to trust in the fundamental legal principles of the community. The credibility of the Equestrian sport depends on regulation and the limitation of the practice of the so-called “pay cards”.
Moreover, the EEF acknowledges that the System is striving for equal opportunities for everybody and that it is setting the premise especially for young and upcoming athletes ensuring that they will continue to be interested in Equestrian sport instead of turning away disappointed by prevailing money-driven networks.
The EEF president states: “We have to be able to show a realistic pathway to those young people, continuously proving that those with talent, moral values, ambition and dedication can make it to the top of their sport”.
The EEF has consulted its members to verify their backing of the Invitation System and has in order to contribute to the cohesion of the community subsequently expressed its full support of the FEI Jumping Invitation System to the FEI and to the public.
About the European Equestrian Federation (EEF)
The EEF was formed in 2009 to address equestrian sport matters of European interest and to increase the influence of the European NFs within the FEI. In 2018 the FEI Groups I & II were merged into the: EEF Regional Group, which currently includes and represents 37 European NFs.
Source: Press release from the EEF – European Equestrian Federation
Photo: © EEF – European Equestrian Federation