The following statement was issued behalf of the chairs and chief executives of British Dressage, British Eventing, British Showjumping, The British Horse Society and The Pony Club on July 21st:
In response to the statement issued by the BEF Board, we would like to provide some clarification on the position of the Founding Members of the Federation.
Last week, prior to the British Equestrian Foundation Council Meeting on Wednesday 12 July, the Chairs and CEOs of British Dressage, British Eventing, British Showjumping and The British Horse Society, as well as the Chair of The Pony Club, acting as a collective and at our request, met with the Board of the BEF to share our serious concerns about the leadership of the BEF, along with the way that the proposed changes in governance, strategy and structure of the Federation were being managed.
At the conclusion of the meeting we agreed not to make any external statements due to the sensitivity of the situation, and until the Board were in a position to reflect and to make their own decisions at their Board Meeting this week on Wednesday 19 July, which we have rightly respected. On Thursday 13 July the BEF Chief Executive released an inflammatory statement by email and on Thursday 20 July the Chair of the BEF Board confirmed that the BEF CEO had left the Federation. In light of the gravity and significance of the issues we raised with the BEF Board ten days ago, we agree that this was the correct course of action.
We also welcome and endorse the Board’s decision to announce an independent investigation into the serious concerns we expressed about the leadership of the Federation. We would like to reassure our key stakeholders within the equestrian community, as well as our funding partners and other external stakeholders, that we continue to have excellent working relationships with Board Directors, the Executive Team and all staff at operational level within the BEF, and have total confidence in the new World Class structure, under the guidance of our new Performance Director, to deliver future success.
We will be working closely with our fellow member bodies and the senior team within the BEF to develop a new governance model that ensures we are fully compliant with the new Code For Sports Governance issued by UK Sport and Sport England. All member bodies of the BEF are very much aligned and fully committed to agreeing a structure and strategy that satisfies all the requirements set out by our funding partners, as well as delivering a healthy and sustainable future for the Federation.
To this end, various options have been proposed and these were reviewed, discussed and debated at the Council Meeting on 12 July. This included representation from UK Sport, who provided helpful input and guidance on the different governance models available. Subsequent to this meeting we have developed and refined a single option that we feel will meet the needs of all member bodies within the Federation. We are working effectively in collaboration to revise our governance so that it is fit for purpose, has clarity over strategic direction and is future-proofed. This is not only to meet all UK Sport/Sport England objectives within the required timeframe, but to ensure that we have a structure that serves all member bodies effectively, within one united Federation, for the benefit of the whole equestrian community.
As was discussed on the 12th, a governance steering group has been established to develop this detail and manage the transition. We are confident that we will meet the key milestones, including the Council AGM on 13 September, when the new governance structure will need to be approved, and that this will be delivered by 31 October to meet the deadline set by UK Sport. We are now confident, at last, that we will be able to move forward collectively and positively during this transition period to have the right governance, strategy and structure in place to meet the long term needs of all member bodies and equestrian sport.
On behalf of the Chairs and Chief Executives of British Dressage, British Eventing, British Showjumping, The British Horse Society and The Pony Club