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Jumping Round Table sessions at FEI Sports Forum 2013

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

The Jumping Round Table was the final session at the two-day FEI Sports Forum, focusing on rules revision, the Event Classification System and CSI invitation rules.

John Madden, Chair of the FEI Jumping Committee, opened the session with a report on the Event Classification System (ECS) project, which is designed to evaluate FEI jumping events with the ultimate goal of using the ECS to grade events.

"The Event Classification System is about trying to exceed minimum requirements," John Madden stated, explaining that the Jumping Committee has looked at developing a similar method that could be used more widely, potentially expanding the system to other disciplines.

Evaluations have been conducted at FEI World Cup™ qualifiers in North America for the past four years and, using a similar system, the FEI did test evaluations at three events in Western Europe this season. The North American evaluations were conducted by an independent evaluator at each event, but in order to avoid additional expense, the Western European evaluations involved individuals already present at the venues such as riders, judges, officials, spectators etc.

Scoring is based on a number of criteria, but is weighted towards the technical aspects of the event such as footing, stabling, the field of play and warm-up areas, as well as seating capacity and spectator numbers, television and media coverage, results service, trade area and catering. Questions were tailored to produce fact-based rather than opinion-based responses, and areas of the results were weighted for importance, with for example rules compliance and footing quality weighted more heavily than printed material or press facilities.

The combination of all the data provides an overall score for each event, producing an objective ranking system that can be used to solve calendar disputes, assign star levels and tie in to the awarding of points for the Longines Rankings.

The system has proved to be extremely successful in demonstrating areas of strength and weaknesses to Organising Committees, "but if we want to be helpful we have to be able to show why an event didn't score 100%," John Madden said. "For events looking to improve, this provides valuable feedback and will help to strengthen the FEI brand as well as the sport itself.

"We're very happy to report that we have really tangible results now. The amount of data from the ECS, combined with the online entry system, will give us a really valuable and complete picture of our over 3,000 events around the world."

Jumping Committee member Stephan Ellenbruch gave a comprehensive report on the revision of the Jumping Rules. "Competitions must be fair for all competitors and it is essential that strict and detailed Jumping Rules are established to regulate competitions," he said. "We need strict rules to guarantee fair sport, but we need rules that are made for the athletes, not athletes made for the rules."

The FEI had asked for proposals from National Federations, athletes, officials and other stakeholders, and a total of 150 proposals were discussed by the Jumping Committee, with agreement being reached in about 130 cases. With such a complete rules revision, there was not sufficient time to go into every amendment, and Stephen Ellenbruch focused on the proposed revisions to the rules on water jumps, headgear, hind leg boots, officials, Grand Prix qualification and special competitions.

The Jumping Committee is currently reviewing hind leg boots that are not used for protective reasons and a working group has been formed to look into this in more detail. The working group is made up of Stephan Ellenbruch, fellow Jumping Committee member Max Kuehner, Veterinary Committee member Philip Benoit, a biomechanic expert, and FEI Jumping Director John Roche.

Jumping Committee member Marco Fusté wound up the session with a presentation on the CSI Invitation Rules, which generated a discussion on the percentage of home and foreign riders, wild cards and pay cards.

Panellists at the Jumping Round Table session were: John Madden (USA), Jumping Committee Chair; Stephan Ellenbruch (GER), Jumping Committee members Marco Fusté (ESP); Max Kuehner (GER); and Vladimir Platov (RUS); and John P. Roche, FEI Director Jumping.

FEI Secretary General Ingmar De Vos then brought the 2013 FEI Sports Forum to a close. "I believe we can say the Sports Forum was a success, but this is not the end, rather it's the beginning of the decision making process, and many of the items we have discussed over the past couple of days will be submitted for approval at the General Assembly. But please remember, it's not the last opportunity to participate further in the debate either as the online platform will be open for at least the next four weeks."

All presentations made at the Sports Forum are now available on www.fei.org and executive summaries of all sessions will also be on the website within the next couple of days.

Source: Press release from the FEI

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