Six Questions to FEI Secretary General Michael Stone

Today, we embark on a new journey with the launch of a Newsletter entitled Today's Feature. This newsletter will be editorial in character presenting the FEI’s opinions, reactions and strong points of view. It will be released every two to three weeks and will also be presented as the main feature on the homepage of And to begin our editorial jaunt, Today's Feature is an interview with Michael Stone, the FEI's new Secretary General.
Six Questions to FEI Secretary General Michael Stone
1. What is the role of the FEI Secretary General?

The Secretary General is the chief executive of the FEI, who ensures the leadership of the management and staff. His main responsibilities comprise the organisation of the general business of the FEI, including financial and commercial issues; the implementation of the policies and decisions of the Bureau and General Assembly; the preparation and presentation of the annual and long-term plans and budgets; the promotion of good communications and relations between the headquarters, the National Federations and all other stakeholders; ensuring the development of horsesport with the aim of meeting the requirements of the IOC and of National Federations.

2. What changes will be introduced in the federation’s management and administration to truly have the FEI at the heart of horsesport?

My main goal will be to further strengthen and professionalise the FEI and its working methods. We must make sure that we deliver to our members as well as to all the stakeholders of the sport. A well structured and eficient FEI should no longer be perceived as a burdensome administration but as a reliable partner adding value to horsesport.

3. Several significant sponsorship agreements between the FEI and major international companies were signed lately. Can you give us a brief outline of the FEI’s commercial strategy?How will the income earned through sponsorship be used?

We started and will further focus on the centralisation of rights in order to achieve a truly win-win situation: positive for the riders, organisers and the FEI and as such commercially viable for current and future sponsors. The goal obviously is not to have money for the FEI in a Swiss bank. This new income will be reinvested in the sport in the form of additional prize money but especially in the various development programmes the FEI is running worldwide.

4. Doping has unfortunately become an element of international sport. What does the FEI do to ensure a fair playing field?

The FEI has substantially reviewed and revamped its ant-doping regulations. The new Equine Anti-Doping and Medication Control Rules, based on the principle of strict liability, came into effect on 1 June 2006 and has worked very effectively during these first months. The FEI has also fully endorsed the World Anti-Doping Code. Our recent successes with the Court of Arbitration of Sport, which validated the position of the FEI, were encouraging and they clearly demonstrated we were on the right track. The next step will be the further separation of the Judicial Committee from the internal Legal Department; the objective is to guarantee a truly independent judicial tribunal.

5. The 2006 FEI World Equestrian Games took place in Aachen almost three months ago. What is your assessment?

Packed stadiums tell their own story. With 576,000 spectators attending the competitions and media coverage of an unprecedented scale, the Games were clearly a remarkable public and sporting success. However, there were elements which could have been better, especially where the lesser known disciplines are concerned as they were somewhat left out of the general high standard.

6. The next global equestrian competition will be the Olympic Games in Hong Kong. What is the stage of preparations?

After what can be called a slow start, organisation is now proceeding at full speed. Last August, an FEI delegation travelled to Hong Kong in the framework of the two-day visit by the IOC Coordination Commission. A series of important meetings were conducted with various stakeholders, including the Equestrian Committee, the Hong Kong Jockey Club and the Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China. Delegation members received detailed briefings on venue construction and different topics of consequence such as security control, accommodation, quarantine and transportation arrangements. To our great satisfaction, the FEI’s concerns were addressed in a most serious way and have been resolved adequately. An Eventing competition will be held as a test event in August 2007.

Note to the editor:
Michael Stone took up his position as FEI Secretary General on 28 August 2006. Born and raised in Ireland, he is a former International Jumping rider. He also rode Eventing and Dressage at a national level. He was the Secretary General of the Equestrian Federation of Ireland from 1987 to 1997. He was the Team Manager of the Irish Team during the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta and the 1994 FEI World Equestrian Games in The Hague. He acted in the same position for the Irish Junior and Young Riders Teams from 1993 through 1996. Before he joined the FEI in 1997 in the position of Development Officer, he was the Management Director of his family’s horse feed business for five years. In 1998, he became FEI Assistant Secretary General and in 2003 he was appointed to the position of FEI Sports Director.

Michael is a keen golfer and plays off a handicap of 16. He also enjoys football, rugby and tennis. Other interests include cinema, cooking and travel.

Malina Gueorguiev
FEI Communication Department
Fédération Equestre Internationale
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