The Global Champions League (GCL) reacts strongly on last week’s statement from the FEI, where the federation announced that it would take a strong stance on the GCL case – and that it would fight with all legal means.
The content in the statement issued by the FEI last week following the FEI Bureau’s in-person meeting at the FEI General Assembly in San Juan, has made the Global Champions League respond. A letter dated 16th of November from the GCL to the FEI, suggests that the press release from the FEI is misleading.
An extract from the letter reads as follows:
”From the press release, it appears that the reason why the FEI Bureau considers that it must adopt a strong stance against the GCL is that: “Horse welfare and sporting integrity are the two key principles of the unsanctioned events rule, and these principles can only be protected and promoted by putting in place rules, including anti-doping and veterinary regulations, and by making acceptance of international events onto the official calendar conditional upon the Organising Committee adopting all of those regulations and making them binding on all participants in those events. Without these rules, we have no way of safeguarding the welfare of horses and athletes participating in such events, or of protecting the integrity of the events.” If that is indeed the reason for the strong stance against the GCL, the press release is outright misleading (…)”
The GCL then goes on to illustrate how the FEI’s arguments seem to fail, as the federation already in August was invited by the GCL to perform the anti-doping and medication controls at the Global Champions League. The FEI never replied to the invitation.
The letter from the GCL also reads:
“Our organization is at the forefront of horse welfare and the integrity of competition and is recognized as such by all interested parties, including, as a matter of fact, the FEI itself, by way of your Chief Steward."
Reference is then made to a quote from FEI Chief Stewart Frances Hesketh-Jones Triulzi, who during the Longines Global Champions Tour leg in Paris this year said; "We always have to keep in mind that it is essential that there is fair play and that horse welfare is safe guarded at all times. I think that the veterinary team that is here and does most of the other global shows is fantastic. They are dedicated, professional, they are the very top that you can get."
As the Global Champions League competitions will be staged during the Global Champions Tour events, the veterinary team will be the same for the league-competitions as for the tour-competitions.
The GCL then goes on to repeat their invitation to the FEI, opening the door for the federation to perform the anti-doping and medication controls at the GCL - which also is in accordance with the GCL rules art. 12.4 that reads; "Equine and athlete testing will be overseen by the FEI in compliance with the FEI standards. The League will pay FEI all reasonable costs associated with such function."
It is also stated that the FEI rules do not prevent the federation from performing anti-doping and medication controls at non-approved events. The GCL furthermore state that they have been willing to provide for the jurisdiction of the FEI in respect of horse welfare and the integrity of competition in their contracts with the GCL teams.
The GCL conclude that given their invitation to the FEI, the federation's reason to adopt a strong stance against the GCL does no longer exists. A refusal from the FEI on the invitation, will according to the final lines in the letter from GCL only have its reason in the FEI's wish to protect its own commercial interests.
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