— Published 21 November 2023

FEI opens door to Russian riders

The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) has changed its mind. After being one of the few bodies in the Olympic movement not to follow the recommendations of the IOC Executive Board to reinstate Russian and Belarusian athletes under conditions of neutrality, it is now reversing course and joining the movement. The TASS agency reports that the FEI executive committee has “taken the decision to review the banning measures in force concerning Russian and Belarusian athletes, horses and officials.” They will now be allowed to take part in international events under neutral status. The announcement was made at the FEI General Assembly in Mexico City. “The terms and conditions for the implementation of this decision will be submitted to the FEI Executive Committee for approval at a teleconference in December 2023,” states the body chaired by Belgium’s Ingmar De Vos. The FEI had decided on March 6, 2022 to exclude Russian riders, horses and officials in response to the outbreak of conflict in Ukraine. Last April, it extended the suspension indefinitely, turning its back on the IOC’s recommendations. A rare stance in the Olympic movement, justified by the IOC’s inability to determine the conditions of neutrality with clarity and relevance.