The FEI is continuing its inquiry into allegations that breaches of its Rules and Regulations occurred during training sessions at the FEI World Reining Final in Bökebergs Gård (SWE) on 20 May 2011.
Findings from the inquiry, which was launched following receipt of a communication from Danish website Epona TV on 23 May, will be incorporated into the ongoing review of the discipline of Reining initiated by the FEI in January of this year.
Despite two formal requests from the FEI, Epona TV has refused to supply a copy of all footage filmed during the training sessions at Bökebergs Gård on 20 May. Combined with the reports from FEI officials on duty at the event, this unedited footage was expected to play a vital role in deciding what further steps the FEI could potentially take against individuals regarding these allegations.
“We are extremely disappointed at Epona TV’s refusal to provide a copy of the unedited footage and find it difficult to understand their attitude”, FEI Secretary General Ingmar de Vos said.
“We are trying to establish the facts as part of the ongoing inquiry, but while Epona TV profess to be upholders of horse welfare, they will not assist the FEI so that we can properly undertake a full and impartial inquiry and act accordingly.
“Epona TV defend their position on the grounds that its journalists are independent and do not want to get involved in an investigation, but many reputable news organisations have given unedited footage under similar circumstances to the relevant authority. Edited footage without authentication from the source is considered to be inadmissible evidence from a legal standpoint and Epona’s refusal to provide the unedited footage means that the FEI now has to proceed without a key piece of evidence.”
The FEI will take whatever action is necessary based on the findings of the inquiry. The findings, which will be based on reports from FEI officials on duty at the event and the edited footage available on Epona TV’s website, will also be used to further improve the FEI Reining Rules that are currently under revision, as well as review the FEI’s stewarding policy with regards to enforcement of the FEI Rules and Regulations.
Three working groups were set up in January of this year to conduct a full review of the discipline which will address all aspects of the sport, including rules and veterinary issues. The new FEI Reining rules and regulations will be voted on at the 2011 General Assembly in November for implementation on 1 January 2012.
It is FEI policy to fully investigate any allegation of rules violations. Horse welfare has always been and will always remain the FEI’s top priority.
Further updates will be issued as soon as the inquiry has been completed.