Several European show jumping nations represented by the European Equestrian Federation are opposing a proposal by the Federation Equestrè Internationale to adopt a global harmonization of entry fees.
The proposal is slated to come under discussion at the upcoming FEI Sports Forum on April 10th in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Worldwide entry fees commonly fall under one of two categories: the American system, where entry fees are dependent on percentage of prize money that can be won at a show, and the European system, which operates on a fixed level.
By harmonizing entry fees, the EEF predicts that fees at the 2/3/4 /5 star level will increase dramatically over five years, further complicating an already expensive sport. Calculations performed by the EEF demonstrate that costs would double over five years under the FEI proposal.
“The FEI proposals have drawn harsh criticism from most National Federations in Europe to the point where the European Equestrian Federation has taken a stand and does not accept this proposal,” stated the EEF.
“Standardized rules serve their purpose when they make things and processes better and develop the sport. But harmonizing the system that has proven its value over the years and is still successful, into a system less favorable for the equestrian sport and its development in Europe, just for the sake of harmonization is not acceptable,” the statement continued.
With 81% of the international show jumping calendar taking place in Europe, and 79% of FEI registered jumping riders hailing from Europe, the EEF feels that Europe dominates equestrian sport and should decide how the system is interpreted by the FEI, which is a service organization for its member countries.
President of the FEI, Ingmar de Vos, spoke on the subject on March 14 in Valkenswaard, The Netherlands. “We need to ask ourselves we have now event categorisation systems in which the services that are offered by an organizer are an important part of [entry], and actual star lists are based on prize money, not on the quality of the event,” he said. “Wouldn’t it be a better idea if every event were to ask a fee according to the services that they will deliver; correct, clean, proper and security of the stable, medical services and have a fee to pay for this?”