Princess Haya to step down as FEI President when term ends next year
Wednesday, 25 September 2013
September 25 - Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein has today revealed that she will step down as President of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) next year, despite rumours that she would seek a third term, and in doing so will lose her International Olympic Committee (IOC) membership.
When elected to lead equestrian sport's world governing body in 2006, the Jordanian former Olympian, who is the daughter of the late King Hussein of Jordan, introduced the rule that FEI President's should have their time in office limited to two four-year terms.
However, rumours emerged earlier this year that powerbrokers within the sport were calling for a change in its statutes to allow her to stay on for a third term.
She today crushed those rumours saying that her "views on the benefits of a two-term limit have not changed since the day I was elected".
"I love being FEI President," said Princess Haya, was re-elected with overwhelming support for a second stint in office in 2010 after implementing more than 80 per cent of the deliverables outlined in her original manifesto in her first term.
"I am passionate about the work and our sport.
"I love the people I work with at the National Federations and at headquarters.
"However, I cannot in good conscience put aside my beliefs and the commitment I made seven years ago now that the term limit I supported applies to me.
"I am deeply grateful to all the National Federations that favour changing the Statutes to allow me a third term.
"I am confident they will understand why I feel I must keep my word when my current term ends next year."
The move also follows reports last week that the Swiss and Dutch equestrian federations would oppose the changes to the FEI Statutes allowing Princess Haya to seek a third term because of her alleged "conflict of interest" as wife of United Arab Emirates ruler Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, whose endurance and horse racing operations have been involved in a string of doping scandals.
Princess Haya has, however, long been a staunch advocate of clean sport, and made anti-doping and horse welfare a central theme of her leadership after horses failed drugs tests at both the Athens 2004 - two years before her Presidency - and Beijing 2008 Olympics.
She authorised reviews of the sport's ethics and anti-doping programme and warned the equestrian community it could not take Olympic status for granted.
Her husband even served a six-month FEI ban during her tenure after a trainer treated one of his horses with performance enhancing drugs in 2009.
She will now step down at the end of her second term as President of the FEI in November 2014, when her successor will be elected at the governing body's general assembly.
"I was first elected to this job seven years ago because our National Federations wanted transparency, good governance and change and I promised a transformational Presidency," Princess Haya added.
"Together, through thick and thin, we have achieved more than 80 per cent of all pledges laid down in my manifesto and programme in an open, democratic and transparent manner.
"I am so very proud of the people who worked together with me to achieve this.
"My focus in my final year in office is on delivering the remaining pledges.
"I will complete this shared mission with respect, determination and energy - and with the support of the entire community and above all the help from 132 National Federations.
"I intend to leave the FEI in November 2014 knowing that our International Federation is fit for the future.
"I will work as hard as ever towards that goal until my final day in office.
"And then I will step aside, confident that I have done the right thing."
The FEI told insidethegames that nobody has yet put forward a candidacy to succeed Princess Haya in the most powerful position in world equestrian sport, but confirmed that the deadline for applications is mid-June 2014.
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July 2013: FEI officials propose statute modification to allow Princess Haya third term as President
August 2012: Princess Haya hails "clean" London 2012 equestrian event as "best ever"
November 2010: Princess Haya re-elected President of FEI
October 2010: Princess Haya sets out manifesto for FEI elections