If they keep this up much longer, I’m going to recommend we add a new day to the week just to have time for all the reflection and commentary necessitated by the FEI’s many and varied activities. One thing the FEI seems to be madly in love with is themes. I wonder if they have a theme for 2012 . If they don’t I’d like to propose ‘schoolyard’: you know, where everyone role plays a stereotypical character from the playground – from the dunce to the teacher’s pet. Guess who plays the bully.
Yesterday I received the joyous news via Wayne Channon at the IDRC that the FEI and IDRC have kissed and made up. I am intrigued by the curious fact that the announcement is a joint affair. That’s quite an about-face from the scenario as little as a couple of weeks ago, when both sides were sharpening their lawyers. The opening sentence says that the FEI and IDRC are ‘happy’ to announce their truce, but something tells me the IDRC is ‘happier’ than the FEI. For instance, the IDRC sent the announcement out by email to their distribution list, while the FEI did not. They just posted it on their website. I do not remember ever noticing a press release from the FEI that was not emailed as well as posted on the site.
The announcement contains three points that suggest this meeting of the minds, if not right in the middle, was definitely not without compromise on both sides. The IDRC has agreed to reinstate Luis and Maria, the two members they removed in the fall. They have also agreed to let the FEI poke its legal department’s nose into a rewrite of their statutes – something I find strange, but I’m not a lawyer so am probably missing something. But here is the cupcake with all the icing: the FEI has appointed Kyra Kyrklund as the rider rep on the FEI Dressage Committee, effective immediately.
Just one more little tidbit, notable by its absence: the word ‘suspension’ is not to be found anywhere in the press release. It’s as if we all imagined it.
That this is good news is indisputable. But what a colossal waste of time and human resources it was to arrive at the very same point where they would have been months ago if the FEI had chosen a different tack back in the fall. Kyra, the new rider rep on the FEI DC is the very same Kyra the IDRC proposed BEFORE Christmas, and BEFORE the FEI decided to initiate suspension proceedings. In the end, this fight didn’t turn out to be a knockout – but if anyone’s fist is being held skyward, it’s got to be the IDRC’s.
All’s well that ends well, right? I should shut up and move on I guess. But here’s what I’d love to know: who in the FEI chose that particular fork in the road, the one that led to a result that didn’t quite go their way after all? Sure, it’s not one individual who operates in isolation at HQ, but just as in all schoolyard dynamics, the idea always originates with a kernel in one kid’s mind. Was it Ingmar, anxious in his new role as Sec Gen (aka new kid in town) to punch the least popular kid in the face, thereby asserting his authority on the playground? If it was, the fatal flaw was that he misread his target. See, in every schoolyard there are a couple of kids that are outcasts and bear the brunt of the bullying. But there are also a couple of other outcasts. We’ve all seen them. Some of us might even have been them. They have pierced tongues and tattoos on their necks and die their hair jet black. And no one messes with them because, unlike the kids that get bullied, these kids fight back with their boots and their long, black-painted fingernails.
Was it Trond, I wonder? My first thought is it couldn’t possibly be him. If we carry on with the metaphor, Trond would best be described as the teacher’s pet, the kid who knows how to become unassailable by allying himself with the authorities – the kid that avoids the playground altogether because he’s allowed to stay in at lunch to clean the blackboard. But there are two ways to effect change in the world: by being aggressive and by being passive-aggressive. I’m not ruling out the role of the teacher’s pet in this battle until someone else raises his or her hand and takes responsibility.
Now do you see why I think the FEI needs its own day of the week? And I’m not even finished yet, though in this case I think the FEI is right. The baton has also been passed from the FEI to CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sport, dummy). I see that CAS has accelerated the Saudi show jumpers’ appeal against the suspensions they received for their controlled medication violations. Ironically, I found the news on Sports Illustrated, a publication that has never taken an interest in equestrian sports. It just shows how a little doping goes a long way when you’re trying to get attention. Here’s what the article says: “The Switzerland-based court says Khaled Abdulaziz Al Eid and Abdullah Waleed Sharbatly can have their appeal heard in London on Thursday. CAS says a judge will rule on their appeal by June 15.” I know for a fact that the Saudis only filed their appeal with CAS in the last couple of weeks, and the Dominican Federation filed their appeal a month ago. How did the Saudis manage to jump the queue? As far as I know the Dominicans still haven’t been given a court date, even though their appeal is equally Olympic-time sensitive. Could this mean what I’m afraid it means? That CAS, the highest court in sport, whose decisions are un-appealable, is corruptible, or worse – already corrupt?
Provided my plane isn’t blown up over Saskatchewan this afternoon by anyof the powerful entities I have offended today, I will soon be nestled into the bucolic hill country of southern Quebec for the Bromont CCI3*. Since Straight-Up is my unofficial Canadian blog, I will be posting on there for the rest of the week. So if the action at the final observation trial for the US and Canadian Olympic Eventing teams is of any interest to you, please check in there over the coming days.