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IJRC News: New year, new board, new IJRC President

Tuesday, 23 January 2018
IJRC Corner

During 2018, World of Showjumping will bring our readers regular news from the International Jumping Riders Club. Below is the latest newsletter from the IJRC.

The IJRC held its Extraordinary General Assembly in Geneva on December 8th in the year of its 40 anniversary. During the meeting there were the elections of the IJRC Board.

Rio Olympic team gold medallist Kevin Staut (FRA) was elected as the new President replacing Christina Liebherr, who was appointed as Second IJRC Vice President. François Mathy JR (BEL) was elected as First Vice President.

After thanking his colleagues for their trust and confidence, Staut declared: “We have to try to think together, to make our sport as good as we can. All the riders need to be aware of what is happening in our sport. We are not fighting against anything, we are simply fighting together for our sport”.

The new IJRC Board will be composed of: Ludger Beerbaum (GER), Peder Fredricson (SWE), Steve Guerdat (SUI), Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA), Henrick Von Eckermann (SWE), Max Kühner (AUT), together with the North American riders: Kent Farrington, Tiffany Foster and Lauren Hough already appointed by the North American Riders Group (NARG).

A number of top international riders were present as well as the well-known former IJRC President Franke Sloothaak, the FEI Jumping Director John Roche and several journalists. CHI-Geneva Sports Director Alban Poudret introduced the Assembly, congratulating the Club on its 40 year anniversary and underlining that since the first General Assembly, on April 2nd 1977, the IJRC has been a staunch defender our sport.

Sloothaak resumed this theme, saying that from the beginning, the Club has shown an ambition to work together for our sport. It is important the riders stay together and united, he added, for the sake of our collective future.

It is important we don’t speak out with different voices. He added that we are taking more care of the animals, because we love the horses and that is why we are riding – not because of prize money.

This point was reinforced by Christina Liebherr: “The sport has changed a lot, and the value of a horse has changed within society. 

It is vital that we remain aware of the challenges of the future and if we are one step ahead, we are not so vulnerable.”

Current IJRC Director Eleonora Ottaviani, who has actively held this position for more than 20 years, was the next to speak. “The Club has a good structure and good people so it just needed a captain for the boat” she said. She thanked Kevin Staut for agreeing to be our President. She emphasised that the club is fighting no one, but that we have to work together to achieve a meritocratic sport.

Once again, she said that the Club is working with and not against the National Federations, the organizers and the FEI.  Even if differences of opinion sometimes occur, we are all "in the same boat", and the IJRC will always try to find a reasonable solution, doing its best for the sport.

The IJRC Director also focussed attention on an important issue on which the IJRC Club has been working for a long time: the ranking points. 

During the last FEI General Assembly in Montevideo, the Club proposed and got approval for the following percentage of invitations for all 5* events:

  • 60% in descending order of the riders that entered the event (including home riders);
  • 20% to the O.C.;
  • 20% to the home NF

It was clearly stated that ranking points (which can affect the athletes’ Olympic participation) cannot be distributed at shows that are open, or give priority, to competitors who pay a direct or indirect financial contribution in order to take part.

Ottaviani also underlined that the IJRC is not working against the FEI or any organizers, or the Global Champions Tour and Global Champions League. “These events are important for the riders,” she stated. “We are working in order to achieve our goal: to give equal chances to all the athletes. We believe we are all in the same boat and we are trying to find a reasonable solution. In order to so do, we are working together with National Federations, organizers and the FEI. The Longines Ranking Working Group is seeking a good solution for all the stakeholders involved.”

The IJRC Extraordinary Assembly closed with an acknowledgement that the topics under consideration are complex and numerous. However, the Club believes that dialogue and collaboration between athletes, NF, FEI, organizers, owners and the media is the best way to ensure a positive and meritocratic future for our sport.


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