The five candidates standing for the FEI Presidency today presented their manifestos and vision for the future of equestrian sport during a three-hour Meet the Presidential Candidates session in front of a packed audience of National Federation delegates, stakeholders and international media in Baku (AZE).
After a draw to decide the order of go conducted by the Independent Advisory Committee in the presence of all five candidates on Friday evening, Frenchman Pierre Durand was first to present, followed by John McEwen (GBR), Ingmar De Vos (BEL), Pierre Genecand (SUI) and Ulf Helgstrand (DEN).
A number of common themes ran through all five presentations: global development of the sport and the future of FEI Solidarity, protecting the heritage of the sport, the FEI’s commercial portfolio, the link between sponsorship and media and the importance of increased media coverage, strengthening equestrian sport’s position in the Olympic Movement, horse welfare, integrity and good governance, and unity amongst the FEI family.
The role played by outgoing President, HRH Princess Haya, in leading the FEI forward and creating a modern, functional FEI, was praised by all five candidates, who emphasised how difficult it would be to follow her. Princess Haya announced on 12 August that she would not seek a third term as FEI President.
Questions in the following Q&A session mirrored many of the topics addressed in the presentations, covering the candidates’ views on ways to increase the organisation’s commercial portfolio, the future of FEI Solidarity and the development of the sport, FEI Headquarters and staff, consolidating equestrian sport’s position in the Olympic movement and the effect of Olympic Agenda 2020, and horse welfare.
All the candidates were given equal opportunities to answer the questions posed from the floor, and time for concluding remarks at the end of question time.
Moderator Richard Nicoll (USA) wound up the session by reminding the five candidates, “you have very big shoes to fill!” in reference to the outgoing President, Princess Haya.
The election of the new FEI President will take place during the FEI General Assembly on Sunday 14 December. The General Assembly starts at 09.00 AZT (local Azerbaijan time, GMT + 4 hours) and will be broadcast live and free of charge on FEI TV.