Second USEF Statement Regarding Sapphire’s Disqualification from the 2010 Rolex/FEI World Cup Final
RELEASE: April 18, 2010
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Joanie Morris
On Sunday April 18, 2010 the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) lodged a formal protest against the disqualification of McLain Ward’s horse, Sapphire at the 2010 Rolex/FEI World Cup Final.
Sapphire and Ward were in the lead after the second leg of the Final when Sapphire was disqualified five hours after the second class on the recommendation of the Veterinary Committee that she was unfit to compete, despite being examined before her round by FEI veterinarians and deemed fit to compete.
The protest was heard 1 PM Central European Time on Sunday by the FEI Tribunal in Geneva. The protest was not allowed as FEI Tribunal Chair Ken Lalo (ISR) denied the request for emergency relief on the grounds that the FEI Tribunal did not have jurisdiction to overturn the Ground Jury’s decision and Sapphire was not reinstated to compete.
This was a hearing only for emergency provisional relief relating to Sapphire's participation in the final round, and the USEF's full claim regarding the retroactive disqualification of Sapphire from the second round will be considered by the FEI Tribunal shortly.
“I think that there is a serious concern with the direction the FEI has been going for a long time and this time they have gone over the line. It was an unjust ruling and I feel liked they acknowledged that in the hearing this morning because they didn’t finish ruling on it. They did not end the ruling. There are flaws in the process and in the overall ruling. We have huge support, we have the support of world press, they can see obviously that this is incorrect.
I think that with the great support of my National Federation, who has come through 150 percent for me, we will come through this particular incident and consequence and make the sport better in the future.
But I will never get this back, what was lost here today personally, I will never get it back and that must be considered. But on a much larger scale what is going on with the vague rules that are left up to the very subjective interpretation of people who are volunteers or part-time employees of the FEI and bear little responsibility for the decisions that they make. We must change these procedures; we must have a governing body that is democratic. This wouldn’t be tolerated in the United States and I am not sure how much more the sport can tolerate.”
USEF President David O’Connor:
“The United States Equestrian Federation will await the FEI Tribunal’s decision, then after continued consultation with McLain Ward, decide the next course of action to move forward.”ENDS
For more information, please contact Joanie Morris at firstname.lastname@example.org.