The UIPM had asked National Federations and individuals to submit suggestions for a discipline to replace riding by Tuesday ©Getty Images

The International Modern Pentathlon Union's (UIPM) deadline for suggestions for a new discipline to replace riding has passed, although a final shortlist is not due to be released until the end of March.

National Federations and UIPM Committee and Commission members were required to submit their proposals for a new fifth discipline by Tuesday (February 15), but no public update is planned from the global governing body until the conclusion of the selection phase at the end of next month.

Ideas are set to be assessed by a working group tasked with overseeing the process prior to the announcement of a shortlist.

"The submissions have been carefully collected by UIPM and will be submitted to the New Fifth Discipline Working Group which will evaluate them individually," a UIPM spokesperson told insidethegames.

"As a result of that process, UIPM will communicate a list of shortlisted disciplines in late March as detailed on the timeline published on our website."

The UIPM added in a statement: "We acknowledge the efforts of National Federations and individuals who took their time to contribute to the process by presenting creative and innovative proposals."

Thirteen criteria have been set by the UIPM for the new discipline, including not being governed by another International Federation recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), tying in with its new 90-minute elimination format set to feature at Paris 2024, being "attractive and relevant for global youth and future generations" and providing "for gender equality and fairness".

The UIPM Athletes Committee revealed last month that an "Athlete Focus Group" discussed eight potential alternatives to riding, including pillow fighting, while there has been speculation that the chosen discipline will include some form of obstacle racing.

A laser-run with obstacles demonstration event was held at a UIPM World Cup in 2017.

However, pressure group Pentathlon United, established following the controversial decision to axe riding made in November, has questioned the transparency of the process.

"How were the 13 criteria for a Fifth sport decided?" it asked on Twitter.

"They were not discussed at Congress, and rule out most sports except one obvious choice.

"Are the UIPM listening [to] fifth discipline discussions or is it just for show?"

Pentathlon United has led opposition to the plans to introduce a new discipline, also questioning the practicalities of testing, with Britain's Sydney 2000 Olympic bronze medallist Kate Allenby arguing that athletes' "reputational credibility is at stake".

Under the UIPM's timeline, the testing phase for the new fifth discipline is set to take place in the third quarter of this year.

Pentathlon United has called for the UIPM Executive Board, including long-serving President Klaus Schormann, to step down.

UIPM President Klaus Schormann is chairing the New Fifth Discipline Working Group, which is set to discuss proposals before the announcement of a shortlist at the end of March ©Getty Images
UIPM President Klaus Schormann is chairing the New Fifth Discipline Working Group, which is set to discuss proposals before the announcement of a shortlist at the end of March ©Getty Images

Earlier this week, it accused the UIPM leadership of displaying "self-interest", and putting the sport's Olympic status on the brink through "bad governance, a lack of transparency, and by ignoring athletes".

It reiterated its criticism of the non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) which participants in the New Fifth Discipline Working Group are believed to have signed, and alleged that the UIPM had shown a "refusal to acknowledge the athletes' voices".

German official Schormann is chair of the New Fifth Discipline Working Group.

Ten of its 21 members have competed at the Olympics, including 2018 world champion James Cooke of Britain.

The UIPM has claimed that the group is "fully representative", and that the new discipline is aimed at reducing the sport's cost and complexities, making it "more accessible to the global community".

Riding was dropped shortly after Germany's coach Kim Raisner was sent home in disgrace for punching a horse in the women's competition at Tokyo 2020.

Modern pentathlon has been left off the initial programme for Los Angeles 2028, and IOC President Thomas Bach has warned that the proposal for riding's replacement and the overall competition format must be finalised before it can be included.