The FEI has spoken out about harmonizing entry fees in showjumping, stating that the proposal was not their idea.

Prohibitively expensive

As reported in H&C earlier this week, harmonizing entry fees would see Europe adopting the US model, where fees are based on a percentage of prize money. According to Olympic showjumper Steve Guerdat this could triple their costs, which would make the sport prohibitively expensive.

Harmonizing entry fees will be discussed at the FEI Sports Forum in Switzerland on 10 April, after a proposal was submitted by the Alliance of Jumping Organisers (AJO).

The FEI released a statement on Facebook, in response to the ‪#‎Notoharmonizing campaign, to explain its position on this the controversial new ruling.

‘Not in favour’

“It’s great that our community is letting us know their views, but can we just clarify that there is no proposal from the FEI or from the Jumping Committee on harmonisation of entry fees.

“The FEI has taken no position on this whatsoever, but the FEI President stated to the media this week that he personally is not in favour of this specific proposal.”

AJO president Ian Allison told H&C the FEI director of jumping requested their input. Their goal was to arrive at a more standardised set of requirements for invitations and fees, which can be used by organisers of FEI CSI/CSIO events.

‘Considered approach’

They have spent the last three months inviting input from its worldwide membership and community of showjumping event organisers from Europe, North America and Asia.

“Our committee has a great knowledge of the sport, organisation, sustainability challenges and a desire to take the long term considered approach,” AJO president Ian said. “I believe we presented this and framed it up accordingly when we submitted our recommendations for discussion to the FEI early in February.

“We have also undertaken an in-depth analysis of what the real costs are to compete in Europe, as opposed to what people perceive and purport them to be. It’s quite interesting actually.”

‘Unfounded speculation’

Ian believes their recommendations add a “degree of harmonization” while addressing the FEI’s goals and preferences, and trying to rid the sport of unregulated wild/pay cards.

“Our hope was to present and discuss our findings in a proper forum,” Ian continued. “It seems the topic is now the subject of widespread discussion, debate, unfounded speculation and opinion on a number of platforms without a real understanding of what we were tasked to do OR how we structured our recommendations to be flexible to all stakeholders.

“Indeed, when we had the opportunity to outline in detail our proposal it was met with understanding and support by the national federations, riders and media we reviewed it with.”