FEI jumping show organizers in north America will now have to double the sums paid to some officials following a highly contentious new tariff of “per diems” agreed at the FEI General Assembly in Cape Town on Sunday.

A new payment scale of 250 euros per day for the “coordinating officials” (President of the Ground Jury, Foreign Judge, Chief Steward, and Foreign Steward) and 175 euros for “Others” was narrowly approved, gaining 46 votes from national federations who supported the recommendation of the FEI jumping committee. The lower, alternative scale of 175 and 150 euros was supported by 40 national federations. There were seven abstentions, with no option to vote for no change.

The new scale applies only to non-championship shows of CSI3* level and above in North America and Europe. It is considerably lower than the sums initially proposed of 400 euros per day, following robust opposition from nations most likely to be impacted. Normally changes to sport rules are approved “en bloc” but opponents demanded a separate vote on this issue.

Under current rules, all CSI officials must be offered 120 euros per day for miscellaneous expenses, on top of travel, accommodation and meals which are covered by the organizer at source. But earlier this year stakeholder groups proposed a sizeable increase from January 1, 2023, directed towards the higher level and better funded CSIs.

The officials pointed out that remuneration had not changed in 20 years. It had been slated for review after a whole day’s debate at the 2018 FEI sports forum, but was then shelved because of the pandemic. They said it was necessary to reflect the growing “professional environment” and should also differentiate between the “operational” officials and those with coordinating and more accountable roles – Presidents of the Ground Jury, Foreign Judge, Chief Steward and Foreign Steward.

While no nation objected in principle to a small increase, the sums initially proposed were deemed “too drastic” by the European Equestrian Federation and others including Mexico, Germany, France, Sweden and the Netherlands. It was argued the increased payments would inevitably be passed back to horse owners through entry fees, because of other increased costs to organizers caused by inflation and new FEI obligations such as improved biosecurity measures after the serious equine herpes virus outbreak in Europe.

You can read the full proposal and discussion documents here.