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National federations vote in favour of Olympic format with three per team as well as proposed qualification system for Paris 2024 at the FEI Hybrid General Assembly

Wednesday, 17 November 2021
FEI Hybrid General Assembly 2021

The Olympic format with three horse-and-rider combinations per team and the qualification system for Paris 2024 was today approved at the FEI Hybrid General Assembly in Antwerp, Belgium*. The FEI’s proposal for the qualification system for the 2024 Olympic Games was to be reviewed “as a priority for approval”, and 81 national federations voted in its favour while 15 voted against. The national federations also voted separately over the much-debated Olympic format of three horse-and-rider combinations per team, with 70 national federations voting in favour of the three-per-team format and 30 against. 

After the Olympic Games in Tokyo, FEI President Ingmar De Vos stated that there would be a full debrief which would include a comprehensive review of the formats. The FEI President said that part of the process would be taking into account the feedback the FEI had already received and that they were proactively reaching out to their community to ensure extensive input. 

Leading up to the FEI General Assembly, national federations and stakeholders were consulted on the proposed qualification system for Paris 2024. By the deadline of 15th October, only eight of the 136 FEI affiliated national federations had submitted written feedback on the Olympic format – despite the topic being subject to extensive discussion both prior to, and after, the Olympic Games in Tokyo. 

Decorated riders such as Steve GuerdatLudger BeerbaumMclain WardNick Skelton and Rodrigo Pessoa have been among those that have voiced criticism towards the system that was introduced for the Tokyo Olympics, with three horse-and-rider combinations per team and no drop-score. Horse welfare has been cited as one of the biggest concerns among the riders. In their feedback to the FEI Jumping Committee on the Olympic qualification system for 2024, the American, French, German and Irish national federations also highlighted horse welfare as a concern in their evaluation of the format used in Tokyo. 

Nevertheless, the FEI Jumping Committee “agreed to respect” the Olympic formula with three horse-and-rider combinations per team – referring to a letter from the IOC which highlighted what the IOC considered to be “(…) positive results of the changes the FEI made to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualification system and competition formats (…)”

On Monday, Swiss Olympic Champion Steve Guerdat went to Antwerp to address the national federations at the EEF meeting which took place in the lead-up to the FEI General Assembly – encouraging those present to not vote in favour of the format of three team members. "I hope that together, we can achieve what we think is impossible; to go back to the old format of four riders and a drop score, for the good of our horses," Guerdat said. 

Despite this clear message from one of the world’s absolutely best horsemen and riders, national federations today voted in favour of teams of three as well as the proposed qualification system for Paris 2024.

In February 2022, the IOC Executive Board is scheduled to approve the qualification procedure for all sports at the Olympic Games.

Read the full FEI wrap-up from the Hybrid General Assembly via this link.


*A total of 117 of the 136 member National Federations (NFs) were registered, with 52 NFs attending in-person (with eight proxies) and a further 56 online (with one proxy). The required quorum was 69. 

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