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SportAccord’s conversation with FEI President Ingmar De Vos: Equestrian sport’s road to Versailles

By Yutang Sports 22 Apr 2024

During the SportAccord World Sport & Business Summit in Birmingham, Ingmar De Vos, President of the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) and the incoming President of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF), reflected on a year of progress for the FEI, the global governing body of equestrian sports.

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SA: What have been the most important developments at the FEI over the previous year?

IDV: “The past 12 months have been intense, demanding and thought-provoking for the FEI. We knew that 2023 was going to be challenging given the general uncertainty in the world with the ongoing wars in Ukraine and then the Middle East later on in the year, the changes to global markets, as well as rising costs and inflation in a post-Covid era. But as an organisation and a community, we have been able to weather the storm and come out on the other side much stronger than we were at the beginning of the year.

“There were discussions around strategic planning and positioning for the FEI, including governance-related protocols and the much-anticipated delivery of the final report – A Good Life for Horses – by the Equine Ethics and Wellbeing Commission, established by the FEI in 2022 in order to provide independent advice and ethical, evidence-based recommendations that would enhance our policies and efforts to safeguard the welfare of horses in equestrian sport. This is our first priority, and through the report we have gained invaluable insights into how we can further strengthen the systems in place and better identify everyone’s active role in that process.”

SA: What were the highlights of the FEI competition schedule?

IDV: “On a sporting front, equestrian could not have asked for a more exciting year! We reached a new record of 4,779 events on the FEI Calendar, which reassuringly confirms that we are well and truly back on track with the rising trends from the pre-Covid phase. 

“We had a trio of fabulous World Cup Finals in Omaha in the USA for Jumping, Dressage and Vaulting, and Bordeaux in France for Driving. Lastly, although I could go on, we saw many firsts at the Asian and Pan American Games – two major events I had the pleasure of attending – with new nations competing and reaching the podium, but also new milestones in terms of the level of competition, and the diversity of the officials taking part.”

SA: What are the priorities for the FEI now and over the next 12 months?

IDV: “As many from the FEI HQ will tell you, we are definitely on the road to Paris! We could not have dreamed of a more spectacular venue, and we are working hand-in-hand with the Paris 2024 Organising Committee to celebrate the beauty and historic significance of Versailles. 

“Another highlight on the 2024 sporting calendar is the Longines League of Nations™, which is an exciting refresh of our sport’s oldest and most prestigious team series. With a new format which sees the world’s top 10 teams compete in four qualifiers across three continents leading to a final in October in Barcelona, Spain, we have left no stone unturned when it comes to sport presentation and innovative fan engagement.

“Meanwhile, the focus for the equestrian community as a whole is the implementation and framework for the delivery of the recommendations outlined in the report – A Good Life for Horses.”

SA:What are the most important opportunities and challenges for the FEI?

IDV: “Maintaining our sport’s social licence to operate and ensuring equestrian sports always represent the very best in horse care, whilst proactively uniting the extensive equestrian community to embrace and advocate for our number one stakeholder – the horse – is our biggest opportunity and challenge for the years to come. As a global sporting community, we are extremely passionate about horses, and we have comprehensive systems and mechanisms in place to protect the welfare of horses, but there is more that can be done and more that must be done.

“Having created the Equine Ethics and Wellbeing Commission, and building on the insights from their extensive research and recommendations, as well as the invaluable input provided through our welfare partner World Horse Welfare, with whom we have collaborated for over 40 years, we are actively taking this opportunity to work together as a community to be even more accountable and more proactive in embracing meaningful reform.

“We are at an important juncture in our sport, and we need to champion the very best of equestrian, with data-driven and science-backed research, policies, and legislation so that we can ensure and promote the very highest standards of equine welfare and horsemanship.”


The SportAccord World Sport & Business Summit 2024 is supported by a number of strong partners and suppliers:

Gold Partner: Sport Event Denmark

Silver Partners: EventScotlandExplore EdmontonTourism & Events Queensland

Bronze Partner: Sport Liverpool Sports Authority Thailand

Official Suppliers: DB SchenkerWiz-Team

About SportAccord World Sport & Business Summit 

The SportAccord World Sport & Business Summit brings together around 1,500 leaders and key decision makers from over 120 International Federations (IFs), the International Olympic Committee, and organisations involved in the business of sport. 

The Summit provides an unrivalled platform enabling global business leaders and host cities to have access to all the International Federations and their stakeholders in one location over several days. 

This unique event is a combination of official sports meetings, networking gatherings, a themed conference programme, and exhibition space enabling International Federations, industry, cities and regions to showcase and advance their sport, services and facilities. 


SportAccord is a sports event organisation based in the Olympic Capital, Lausanne, Switzerland, and governed by stakeholders representing the Olympic and non-Olympic International Federations.  

It brings together International Federations and organisations involved in the business of sport with the aim to serve, promote and protect the common interests of its stakeholders, help them achieve their global objectives and facilitate knowledge-sharing.

SportAccord’s stakeholders include:

ASOIF (Association of Summer Olympic International Federations)

WOF (Winter Olympic Federations)

ARISF (Association of IOC Recognised International Sports Federations)

AIMS (Alliance of Independent Recognised Members of Sport)

Visit for more information.

About Yutang Sports

As one of SportAccord's Principal Media Partners, Yutang Sports is a Chinese leading sports marketing and media platform, with an ultimate mission to connect China and world through sports. After years of growing, Yutang Sports, with a comprehensive media and marketing promotion system, is now dedicating to reporting sports business and marketing trends, providing sports business news, analysis, and exclusive data reports in both Chinese and English. Having been cooperated with top-level domestic and international sports summits, Yutang Sports is opening a window for Chinese sports industry to embrace the world.

Tags: SportAccord
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