The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) on Thursday defended its decision to allocate to Europe 15 of the 18 starting places at this year’s dressage World Cup Final but said a non-league athlete could “potentially” go if there is an unfilled spot.
The decision by the FEI Dressage Committee to change the rules, according to the official response, was because “every angle needed to be explored to ensure a top quality starting field” at the Final in Gothenburg, Sweden the first week of April.
So the committee decided to eliminate three places–for non-league, extra starting place and home athlete–and award them all to Western Europe that already had nine spots reserved, plus two for Central Europe and the defending champion, Isabell Werth of Germany. The remaining places were two for North America of Canada and the United States and one for the Pacific region of Australia and New Zealand.
The changes are specific to the current World Cup series only and were adopted as emergency measures specifically because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The lengthy response by the FEI was made to a Jan. 4 report by dressage-news.com detailing the changes that appeared to be unknown to several national federations.
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Article written by: KENNETH J. BRADDICK