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FEI proposes social media policy for athletes and officials in first draft of 2023 rules revision

Thursday, 06 July 2023


Text © World of Showjumping



The first drafts of this year’s proposed revisions to the FEI rules are extensive, and include suggested changes that have a significant impact on horses, grooms, riders, officials and organisers. The drafts can be found here. 

National federations and other stakeholders have now been given seven weeks to review and give their feedback on the proposals, before the final drafts are presented on October 24. During the 2023 FEI General Assembly in November, these proposals will then be discussed and voted on. 

General Regulations: FEI proposes social media policy for athletes and officials

For the FEI General Regulations, the FEI proposes adding two new appendices – M and N – both social media policies, one for FEI officials, and one for athletes. Detailing their proposal, the FEI writes how athletes “(…) should exercise good judgment and think about the potential consequences of their posts and interactions on social media platforms. They should not make derogatory, offensive, or inflammatory comments about other Athletes, Chefs d’Equipes, coaches, teams, FEI Officials, Organisers, the FEI or any individuals associated with equestrian sport.” 

In the draft rule text, the FEI details how athletes should “(…) strive to provide accurate and reliable information on social media platforms. They should fact-check before sharing or commenting on news or events related to their sport. Sharing false information or spreading rumours can have a detrimental effect on the sport and its stakeholders.” 

Suggested sanctions to the proposed policy are serious for the athletes: “Violations of this social media policy may result in disciplinary actions, which could include warnings, fines, suspension (including provisional suspension) from FEI Events. The severity of consequences will be determined based on the nature and impact of the violation,” the FEI writes in their draft rule proposal.

General Regulations: Proposed expansion to available tools in integrity/ethics matters

The FEI also proposes a significant expansion to their available tools in integrity/ethics matters, and suggests adding a new article that gives them the power to access “(…) any information, record, article or thing in their possession or control that the FEI reasonably believes may evidence or lead to the discovery of evidence of a non-doping violation.”

The draft rule proposal also includes a jurisdiction waiver that reads as follows: “Each Applicable Person waives and forfeits any rights, defences and privileges provided by any law in any jurisdiction to withhold any information, record, article or thing requested in a Demand.”

​​​​​​​General Regulations: Key Event Requirements, Equestrian Charter, noseband tightness and more

Other suggested changes to the FEI General Regulations include a new Appendix L – Key Event Requirements, adding grooms to Appendix F – FEI Code of Ethics, changes in the wording to Appendix G regarding manipulation of competitions, the addition of an Equestrian Charter, cross-discipline rules on noseband tightness, as well a suggestion to remove tack and equipment from the relevant discipline rules due to the recent launch of the FEI TackApp. 

Draft changes for the FEI General Regulations can be found here. 

Jumping Rules: Wording change to elimination rule, but no ban on phones while mounted recommended

When it comes to the FEI Jumping Rules, 28 proposals from different national federations were published and the FEI was in favour of four of them – including correcting cross-references that are incorrect, courses for winning round competitions, banning use of comb spurs and changing the wording on the elimination rule in article 241.4 as suggested by the IJRC, removing the current wording "(...) contrary to the principles of horse welfare (...)".

Article 241.4 is suggested changed as follows: 

“The President of the Ground Jury (or in the absence of the President of the Ground Jury from the Ground Jury box, the Ground Jury Member designated by the President of the Ground Jury to take over the running of the Competition in their absence) may, in their sole discretion, ring the bell (or instruct another Ground Jury member to ring the bell) to eliminate an Athlete/Horse combination while a round is ongoing if the President of the Ground Jury (or their designee) decides that this would be in the best interest of the wellbeing and/or safety of the Horse and/or Athlete.

The decision to eliminate is final and not subject to appeal or protest.” 

The FEI Jumping Committee was not in favour of proposals that included a ban on using phones by hand while mounted, revised per diem rates for officials, a suggested change to the rule on business class flights for officials on non-stop flights of six hours or more, or suggested nosebands regulations – either referring them to the next revision or stating the proposals did “(…) not meet the Periodical Rules Revision Policy Criteria (…)”.

Draft changes for the FEI Jumping Rules can be found here. 

Veterinary Regulations: Grooming and tacking up in stabling aisles suggested banned

Changes proposed to the FEI Veterinary Regulations include article 1008.6, which has been largely expanded to include improvements in stable lighting, ventilation, standard of drinking water, safe movement of horses and people, and increased fire precautions. These improvements are part of the Key Events Requirements concept. A new Annex X – ‘Stable Cleaning and Disinfection Protocol’ is proposed in support of the Key Event Requirements project as well, with the aim of ensuring that FEI stables are cleaned and disinfected correctly.

Clarifications are suggested to article 1010 – ‘Examination on Arrival Area’: Unloading of horses upon arrival must be carried out within one hour of arriving at the venue and the footing must be safe and not slippery.

Proposals to strengthen biosecurity at FEI events have been made as well, including article 1027 – ‘Biosecurity at FEI Events’ – which is suggested to clearly state that grooming, tacking-up of horses and any other similar activities must not take place in stable aisles. Additionally, it is proposed that the VC/VD may request that the horse’s temperature is taken at any time during the event on their request and that they must organise supervised temperature-taking of 5% of horses each day at events where horses are stabled for more than one week.

Proposed new sanctions for falsification of a temperature record and recording a horse’s temperature using a method that is not FEI approved have been added to Annex VI – ‘Sanctions in case of FEI Veterinary Regulation violations’. 

Draft changes for the FEI Veterinary Regulations can be found here. 

FEI Statutes: Additional power to the Board 

For the FEI Statutes, the FEI proposes changes to article 17.4 regarding amendments to the Statutes, General Regulations and Sport Rules. While amendments to the Sport Rules currently can be proposed by FEI Headquarters with the support of the relevant technical committee and/or a national federation, the FEI suggests adding this power to the FEI Board as well – detailing how this change would “(…) adapt this Article to the current reality (...)”.

Draft changes for the FEI Statutes can be found here. 


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