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The Only Clear Path To Harmonious Sport Governance

Source :  USA Equestrian

A Statement from the Officers of USA Equestrian, National Equestrian Federation.

Over the last six weeks, since the United States Olympic Committee adopted a new resolution on Equestrian Sport Governance, our sport's athletes, organizers, and participants have all been asking what comes next.

While there are many differing opinions about the best way to organize the sport to comply with the requirements of federal law, there seems to be unanimity on one point: the issue should be resolved now, without further delay, without further cost, without further division.

There are two basic paths forward.

First, there is a path of continued litigation, contention, and uncertainty. This path is long and complicated, because the three organizations and all the athletes involved have rights and responsibilities as defined by law. The attorneys representing those with interests all have a duty to protect those conflicting interests (whether they are the interests of individual athletes or the corporate interests of the United States Olympic Committee, USA Equestrian, or United States Equestrian Team). It's been over a year
and a half already since the USET commenced its litigation in February 2001, and at least several more months of contention lie ahead as long as those involved pursue their different interests in formal legal proceedings.

But there is another way.

The second path is the one almost everyone favors: mediation and mutual settlement of any outstanding issues among all affected parties and athletes. The United States Olympic Committee's most recent resolution clearly points to this path. USA Equestrian has always welcomed mediation and participated in it without preconditions of any kind. Most if not all international athletes and owners would welcome productive settlement
discussions. We believe the present USOC leadership and its Membership and Credentials Committee would facilitate such meetings on a timetable that would bring a relatively rapid and harmonious end to the wasteful tension we have all deplored.

Please join us in urging the leadership of United States Equestrian Team to return to mediation, without preconditions. Let us all resolve to use the valuable lessons we have learned from all these difficult disagreements as productively as possible, through discussion and mediation, for the future welfare of our horses and the sport as a whole.

Officers of USA Equestrian are Alan F. Balch, Judith Werner, Linda Allen, Kathy Meyer, David O'Connor, and Stephen O. Hawkins.

You may send your comments by return email to gov@equestrian.org, or by fax to 859-231-6662, or by mail to USA Equestrian, 4047 Iron Works Parkway, Lexington, KY 40511. All comments received will be carefully considered and forwarded as appropriate to the USOC and/or the USET.

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