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Statement From Avril Doyle, President, Equestrian Federation Of Ireland

The EFI is alarmed and concerned at the conclusions of the Olympic Programme Commission report which was presented to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board on 28 August 2002 in Lausanne, Switzerland. The commission was in charge of reviewing the Olympic Programme and presented recommendations on the programme of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

Three sports and five disciplines were recommended for exclusion from the Olympic programme, among which was the equestrian discipline of Eventing, considering the costs for venue preparations and operations for the Games OC, and the issue of safety of athletes and horses.

The FEI, however, has conducted a thorough study on the discipline of Eventing, consulting with a number of specialists inside and outside the sport to effect changes in safety both of the riders and horses and has also worked with the IOC to significantly reduce the costs of staging the discipline for the OC.

As Ireland has had a long tradition of success in this discipline of the sport, both in the quality of its riders and in Irish-bred horses, we feel that to exclude it from the 2008 Olympics would deal a serious blow to both Ireland¹s long tradition of equestrian excellence, and to the equestrian industry here in general.

We are particularly concerned at the Commission¹s recommendations, in light of the fact that Beijing was allocated the Games under the conditions that all sports and disciplines present in Athens were included.

We will also be making our views on the matter known to Olympic Council of Ireland President Pat Hickey, and asking that he raise the matter at the agm of the OCI on September 18, and at both European and World Olympic level on our behalf.


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