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USET Announces Breakdown Of Negotiations On Governance Issue

Gladstone, NJ—April 4, 2002—With great disappointment the United States Equestrian Team (USET) announces that USET and USA Equestrian (USAE) negotiating teams have been unable to reach a mutually satisfactory conclusion to negotiations aimed at determining how best to govern equestrian sports in this country. Although the boards of both organizations had previously agreed upon a structure for the new National Governing Body For Equestrian Sports, USAE negotiators would not continue discussion of details under the previously announced plan.

The USET has requested assistance from the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) to encourage the parties to restart the talks according to the principles approved by the boards of both organizations in separate meetings on January 10.

The USET Board of Trustees voted overwhelmingly on April 4 that, absent agreement from USAE to immediately resume discussions within the previously board-approved framework, the USOC Hearing Committee should make public its decision reached following the challenge hearing in Austin, Texas last October.

The USET cited the key point of contention to be the process for forming the Board of the to-be-created National Governing Body (NGB) that would emerge from the consolidation of the USET and USAE, a point that had been agreed upon in the framework approved by both boards in January. "While this process had been explicitly agreed upon by both sides, it became a specific point of disagreement by USAE and, more significantly, it represents the main problem in the negotiations, namely the unwillingness of USAE President Alan Balch to commit to implementing the agreed upon NGB structure," said USET President Dr. Armand Leone, Jr. "Alan's penchant for continually changing his position on previously agreed-upon points has led to a complete removal of credibility. Consequently, our negotiating team came to the unanimous conclusion that, under the current USAE leadership of Alan Balch, no progress toward resolution of the governance issues facing our sport can be made nor can confidence in any commitment of USAE to implement any proposed structure be had."

The USET has remained committed to achieving a positive resolution, but only one that is fair and is consistent with the previously approved NGB structure. Since that is no longer acceptable to USAE, the USET must allow the USOC to determine how the sport should be run. The USET is prepared to continue supporting America's equestrian athletes as much as possible and to accept whatever role is appropriate for the USET as determined by the USOC.

The United States Equestrian Team is a non-profit organization that selects, trains, equips and finances equestrians of the highest possible standard to represent our country in major international competition, including the Olympic Games and the World Championships. To accomplish this, the USET seeks out and nurtures the development of talented athletes - riders, drivers and horses - and provides the support and guidance they need to help them attain their fullest potential. For more information on the USET, please call (908) 234-1251, or visit USET ONLINE at


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