Former IOC marketing director Michael Payne is part of the new UIPM 5th Discipline Working Group ©Getty Images

The International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM) has appointed four experts in media and marketing to its 5th Discipline Working Group, as the organisation pushes forward with finding a replacement for riding. 

Former International Olympic Committee (IOC) marketing director Michael Payne and sponsorship consultant Terrence Burns will provide the panel with knowledge in marketing, while former 21st Century Fox executive vice-president David Hill and Peter Hutton, the director of sports partnerships at Meta, offer media expertise.

"On behalf of the UIPM Executive Board we are delighted to welcome Michael Payne, Terrence Burns, David Hill and Peter Hutton to the 5th Discipline Working Group which is pivotal to the future of our historic Olympic sport of modern pentathlon," read a joint statement from UIPM President Klaus Schormann, first vice-president Juan Antonio Samaranch and vice-president Joël Bouzou.

"We already have extensive media and marketing expertise within our UIPM sports community but Michael, Terrence, David and Peter will bring a vast portfolio of expertise and global experience to this important consultation.

"Now more than ever we must keep our doors open and use the guidance of external professionals who can help us to futureproof the sport that Pierre de Coubertin created especially for the Olympic Games more than 100 years ago."

Payne was the IOC's director of marketing and broadcast rights for more than 15 years, while Burns has experience in bidding for the Olympics and FIFA World Cup as well as working for the IOC's in-house marketing and sponsorship agency, then known as Meridian Management SA.

Burns has worked for five winning Olympic bid campaigns - Beijing 2008, Vancouver 2010, Sochi 2014, Pyeongchang 2018 and Los Angeles 2028.

As well as a 24-year tenure as 21st Century Fox executive vice-president, Hill was the President of Fox Sports from 1993 to 2000. 

Hutton was previously chief executive of Eurosport and managing director of ESPN Star Sports.

Modern pentathlon's riding discipline is set to be removed after Paris 2024 ©Getty Images
Modern pentathlon's riding discipline is set to be removed after Paris 2024 ©Getty Images

Riding is poised to be replaced within the sport of modern pentathlon, following a horse-abuse scandal at Tokyo 2020, but the UIPM's approach to the process has been criticised by numerous National Federations and athletes.

The formation of the new working group was sped up by modern pentathlon being left off the initial sports programme for the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

The IOC offered a "pathway" to modern pentathlon - as well as boxing and weightlifting which were also dropped from the 28-sport provisional programme - for inclusion at Los Angeles 2028, setting a deadline of 2023 for the organisation to address its concerns, including determining the new fifth discipline.

IOC President Thomas Bach said the UIPM must "finalise its proposal for the replacement of horse riding and for the overall competition format" before the sport can be included and said the UIPM proposal must "demonstrate a significant reduction in cost and complexity, and improvement across the areas of safety, accessibility, universality, appeal for youth and general public."

The UIPM Executive Board proposed, without a prior consultation with its members, to remove riding as a discipline of modern pentathlon.

A vote was then held at its Congress in November, with members ratifying the removal of riding by 66 votes to 15, but opponents argued there was a lack of debate on the subject prior to the Congress.

The full composition of the working group will be confirmed later this week, according to the UIPM.