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FEI and IJRC evaluate Athlete Representative election process

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Illustration photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping Illustration photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping


Text © World of Showjumping



Almost six months after Cian O’Connor resigned as FEI Athlete Representative to the FEI Jumping Committee, the election process for the role is under evaluation.

O’Connor was elected as FEI Athlete Representative in September 2018, for a four-year period. However, a year later, the Irish rider resigned. 

No new vote for O’Connor’s successor has been initiated, as the FEI and the IJRC currently are evaluating the election process. To World of Showjumping, IJRC Director Eleonora Ottaviani says that the Club has requested a rule change so that the election of an athlete representative is not restricted to candidates who have taken part in the last two Olympics or World Equestrian Games. 

A statement from the FEI to World of Showjumping, details the ongoing evaluation of the election process further. The FEI statement reads: 

“Athlete representatives, members of both the Athletes Committee and the respective discipline Committees, are elected for a 4 year period. As the last election was held in 2018, the next elections of the Athletes Committee members shall, in principle, take place in 2022.

The election process of athlete representatives is currently under consideration and discussions are taking place internally, with stakeholders and in close collaboration with the IJRC for the Jumping representative. As part of this evaluation of the election process, there is a strong focus on reassessing the eligibility criteria and the voting criteria. Any potential changes to this process would be applied to all disciplines and would require approval from the FEI General Assembly.

In the meantime, to ensure that the Jumping athletes have a voice in both Committees (the Athletes Committee and the Jumping Committee), the FEI Board agreed to appoint the Chair of the Athletes Committee and Executive Board member, Maria Gretzer, as the interim Jumping representative in the Jumping Committee.

Further to discussions and interim appointment of Maria Gretzer as the Jumping representative in the Athletes Committee and the Jumping Committee, the FEI is awaiting a formal proposal from the IJRC with their recommendations on reviewing the Athletes representatives’ election process. Following receipt of this proposal, which will be presented to the FEI Board for consideration, next steps will be evaluated to ensure the most appropriate representation of the Jumping athletes’ community in both FEI Committees.

The new process would then be put forward for approval by the General Assembly 2020.”

To World of Showjumping, Ottaviani details: “It’s the athletes’ wish to have a FEI Athlete Representative that is active in high-level sport, and that can have weekly contact with other riders. The FEI Athlete Representative must be able to give a measured and professional contribution as he or she also will be part of the Technical Committee, Athletes' Committee, FEI Bureau and FEI Executive Board.”


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