Session 3: Review of the Legal System

15 April 2019
15 April 2019 Author: fei

The opening afternoon session was dedicated to a review of the FEI’s legal system (Chapter VIII of the FEI General Regulations), including proposals for revised areas of responsibilities for Ground Juries, the role of the Appeal Committee, a possible FEI HQ administrative disciplinary process, the start date of suspensions, sanctions and measures related to Eventing Risk Management and a proposed way forward regarding pony measuring.

The proposed legal changes were presented by FEI Legal Director Mikael Rentsch and Deputy Legal Director Áine Power, with the proposals being debated by delegates and a panel of experts – Swedish Jumping chef d’equipe Henrik Ankarcrona, Italian Chef de Mission Andrea White, Australian Eventing athlete Paul Tapner, and Chair of the FEI Jumping Committee Stephan Ellenbruch. Chair of the FEI Eventing Committee David O’Connor spoke about sanctions related to Eventing Risk Management.

The proposed way forward for pony measuring, which was presented by FEI Veterinary Director Dr Göran Akerström, generated lively discussion amongst delegates and the panelists, Peter Bollen (BEL), President of the International Equestrian Organisers Alliance, Lucy Allen (IRL), a member of the FEI Jumping Youth Development Working Group.

See below for more on this session - including links to relevant supporting documents (presentations). 

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15 April 2019, 14:00 - 16:30
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Review of the legal system

FEI Legal Director Mikael Rentsch and Deputy Legal Director Áine Power led discussions on the review of the Legal System. The review is aimed at creating a more user-friendly legal structure that is clear, cost effective and results in efficient decisions being taken by the appropriate sanctioning body each time.

A proposal to change the current legal powers and responsibilities of Officials and other appointed bodies during events was put forward for discussion. Delegates debated the proposal that the Appeal Committee could be removed and all onsite matters dealt with by the Ground Jury. The new system would still allow for athletes to have the right to be heard and decisions to be appealed to the FEI Tribunal post-event. 

Other proposals put forward for consideration were:

  • The creation of a list of offences and corresponding sanctions based on the seriousness of offences, which would create more consistent and predictable sanctions for all parties involved.
  • Postponing the start date of suspensions, particularly when the suspension period runs into the “off season” and has no real impact on the athlete.
  • Allowing FEI HQ the possibility of imposing sanctions for less serious offences, which would allow the FEI to be more responsive when a rule breach occurs while leaving the FEI Tribunal to focus on more serious cases.
  • The issuing of yellow warning cards to athletes as disciplinary action for offences committed by their support personnel.

Panelists and delegates also discussed whether there is a need to update the video evidence rule, which has been in place since 2012, particularly whether smart phone video content should be admissible as evidence. Currently only official video recordings made by a broadcast network or a video company hired by the Organising Committee can be used in a protest.  

Eventing risk management sanctions

David O’Connor presented a new proposal to the Eventing Rules on sanctions related to Risk Management. Under current rules, two recorded warnings lead to a yellow warning card, while two yellow warning cards for the same offence within one year, lead to a four month suspension.

The following changes were proposed:

  • Athletes will receive a recorded warning for dangerous riding
  • Three recorded warnings within one year will lead to a two month suspension
  • Two yellow warning cards within one year will result in a two month suspension

The proposed changes would also allow the FEI to designate a later start date for the suspension if the period runs into the Eventing off-season and has no real impact on the athlete. This topic debated lively debate, with opposing opinions voiced.

Pony measuring

A proposal for a new system of pony measurement would mean that ponies will no longer be measured at events but at measuring sessions conducted at FEI Certified Measurement Stations, in each country or region, from 1 January to 15 March each year, with an option for other sessions after this period. Only FEI appointed Veterinarians can carry out measuring.

The measurement result will be included on the pony’s profile in the FEI database and a Measurement Certificate will be issued by the FEI. Only ponies will an FEI Measurement Certificate will be allowed to enter FEI pony competitions.

Lifetime certificates would be issued by the FEI to ponies that are eight years and older. Ponies younger than eight years will be required to be measured every year to be eligible for an FEI competition.

If the proposal is accepted by National Federations, the transition period in which newly registered ponies would go through the new system, would begin on 1 January 2020 and end on 1 January 2023. During this period the FEI would carry out measuring only at three events: the European Pony Championships, the Nations Cup Final, and the Pony Trophy Final, but with the possibility of measuring at other events if deemed necessary. Following the transition period, all ponies would be required to go through the new system.



Review of Legal System by Áine Power, Deputy Legal Director

Eventing Risk Management sanctions by David O'Connor, Chair of FEI Eventing Committee

Pony Measurement by the Panel (Peter Bollen, Lucy Allen and Göran Akerström


Supporting documents


Executive Summary Session 3 - Review of the Legal System